MURUM, 26th SEPTEMBER 2016, MONDAY:
The Batu Tungun Ritual ceremony, which is an annual ritual by the Penan of Murum, had special significance this year as it took place on a newly built Batu Tungun Lookout Point overlooking the rock formation. The new Batu Tungun Lookout Point designed and built by Sarawak Energy with the consultant on the location and concept from the Murum Penan Development Committee and the Murum Penan community is intended to provide a permanent area for the Penan to perform their annual ritual.
Batu Tungun is a rock formation located on the right end of the Murum Dam Crest and is held sacred by the Penan of the area for generations. Sarawak Energy and the State Government recognises the significance of the Batu Tungun to the local Penans and the design of the Murum dam has taken into consideration the preservation of this rock formation as part of the cultural heritage of the indigenous community in the area.
Commenting on the ceremony, Liwan said; “The Batu Tungun annual ritual brings together the Penans in Murum who might otherwise not have many opportunities to get together. Previously, the ceremony was conducted separately by the individual longhouses and villages but now the different villages unite to perform the ritual in the comfort of this new facility.
The school children here, in addition to receiving the education incentives, are also witnessing this tradition and learning the significance of the Batu Tungun to their own community and their cultural identity. I am also very pleased to see that even as we respect older traditions, we are also preparing the younger generation to continue this important tradition.
With the incentive programme, we are seeing improvement in the attendance rate which presently registers at around 80 per cent. We want this to continue and improve further and in the future to provide incentive based on good academic achievements,” he concluded.