KOTA KINABALU: Taiwan's Indigenous Affairs Department of Taoyuan City Government is forging a closer ties with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in terms of language and culture development.
Taoyuan's deputy director general Chen Cheng-Hsiung today signed the Letter of Intent (LoI) with the university's Borneo Heritage Research Unit (BoHRU), represented by Humanities, Arts, and Heritage Faculty deputy dean Dr. Mohd Puad Bebit.
The LoI is expected to promote strong relationship in language, education, cultural and heritage research of the indigenous peoples of Taoyuan City and the Sabah state.
According to BoHRU head Prof Dr. Low Kok On, the significance of such cooperation is to prevent the indigenous languages from dying.
Lecturer and researcher of BoHRU Professor Dr. Jacqueline Pugh-Kitingan said there were a few things that could be done to protect these native languages.
One is to teach the languages to children from primary school level, as well as more newspaper publications having a Kadazandusun segment, for instance.
"Even activities like sermons done in Kadazandusun language at churches helps to preserve the language," she said after the document signing ceremony.
Jacqueline also revealed that among the origin theories of the Dusunic language include roots from Taiwan and Philippines.
Meanwhile, coming back to the collaboration, she said it will involve exchanging of researchers, teachers and administrative staffs, as well as collaboration in research projects, publications, seminar, workshops and conferences on the main areas of mutual interest.