Ethnics, Cultures & Religions

Lundayeh Lunbawang

Lundayeh ladies in their costume

by amde sidik

This is how I view Lundayeh community, briefly, from my perspectives. What others have to say is entirely up to them.

Lundayeh ethnic group  in Sabah concentrates  in Sipitang district, numbered about 10,000 (rough estimate).

They were one of the groups considered by the Brunai as Orang Darat* (ethnic that lives on the Upper land or hinter land) 

They were originally from North Western part of Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since Sipitang district shares common border with Kalimantan (not far from Long Pasia), thus quite natural for this group of people crossed the border in unorganized fashion.

They were rightly recognized as hill people rather than sea. Farming and agriculture are quite natural profession for them as fishing to coastal people

The very same people found in Fifth Division of Sarawak, ironically called Lunbawang instead. Nothing is different. The grandson probably is eating soto in Sipitang while the granddad is sipping tea tarik in Lawas overlooking Lawas River. In other words, they were the same root. The different perhaps is they are the same people in the eyes of other communities.The Sabah Lundayeh and the Sarawak Lunbawang couldn’t careless to agree with the name.

From the moment I opened my eyes I didn’t remember if they were differences between them and other communities nearby that I knew of. The only social dividing line is religion. Most modern Lundayeh are practicing Christian follower of a little group known as Sidang Injil Borneo found only in Borneo, but like any other ethnics they are Lundayeh Muslims too.

They have  fair skin. The young Lunadyeh boys and girls  aren’t have  such distinguishable complexion compare with other communities. They have their own language-some say dialect; the term I’m not that particular.

In Sipitang, they could be categorized as having two earlier  groups (I don’t think it matters but to some say they do) the earlier Lundayeh mostly from Sarawak, and some like to call themselves as Lunbawang too rather suspiciously or deviously. Notably they say this older group of migrants is milder and softer type compare with the latter.

The new arrival came directly from Kalimanatan as later as 70s, many were born in Kalimantan but benefited dual citizenship (Malaysia and Indonesia) by the very system,  the porous border system we have  in the jungle almost at the heart of Borneo. 

Among the important institutions which is still practiced to date by Lundayeh/Lundbawang together with other ethnics in Sipitang is Tamu Besar. Its the occasion when people  converged without borders regardless their ethnics or religions.

Whilst talking about myself, my grandfather was Lundayeh or Lunbawang? My birth certificate has this to display (/), Kadayan/Lundayeh, luckily it has nothing to do with religion otherwise someone has to korek-unearth my grave one day by the time I’m defenseless-wonder if  I have already settled somewhere midway or at the extreme end, heaven or hell? Could I not protest?


 *The Mystic of Borneo By Amde Sidik, published by Borneo Publishers for Malaysia Edition, 2008 (reprint) and Bookstand Publishing for International Edition, 2007



Comments on: "Lundayeh Lunbawang" (29)

  1. Zuliyana Zakaria said:

    Something I never come across these days until I met one Lun Bawang’s man. I only knew very little details about natives in Malaysia. I am amazed at their objectives to improve the level of education and to be known, recognize. Let me convey/congrats of the efforts poured in from the Raja Brooke’s era till now.

  2. borneorainbow said:

    Thank you for your visit. I’m not too sure if Raja Brooke had a grand agenda in those days to improve Lun Bawang people. But what I knew from reading history Raja Brooke managed to maneuver the Sultan of Brunei which dissected the Kingdom into two, notice Limbang stands in the middle of Brunei!
    Lun Bawang in Sarawak but in Sabah they are known Lun Dayeh

  3. Headhunter said:

    Hi borneorainbow,

    Yes I myself am a Lun Bawang, and currently I’m reading on books that relates to my people. Apparently at that time (according to James Brooke’s journal), the people around Limbang (Bisaya, Kedayan, Lun Bawang (then called Murut)) were oppressed by the then Brunei aristrocrats and he actually came to the rescue. (Although we can never know whether this is a rose-tinted version of the history or the whole story)

  4. borneorainbow said:

    Hi Headhunter,
    According to fragment of bones found buried in the jar somewhere in Kota Batu as one writer puts it- such burial were common only by the Murut people in those days- I can’t say if here was the concentration of Murut, ie in Brunei, all we thought Murut were from kalimantan

    Thank you

  5. Hi borneorainbow,
    Do you mean Murut as in the Northern Murut (Tagal, Timogun etc) or the misnomer that the british gave to the Lun Bawangs, ie Southern Murut?
    Because if it’s the former, according to this (page 54)
    it’s quite a common ancient culture amongst the Lun Bawangs and Lundayehs, the Berawans, some Punans and some Melanaus at that time to practise second treatment of the dead (jar burial), as oppose to the Northern Muruts.

  6. helo e’one, i just want to know if the lundayeh and lun bawang is the same ? please clarify.

  7. chalz charles said:

    so the conclusion? means lundayeh or lunbawang are also Murut People?

  8. cina brunei said:

    lunbawang(sarawak)=lundayeh(sabah)=murut (sarawak) …same

    murut of sabah = Tagal of sarawak
    murut of sarawak = Lunbawang or lundayeh of sabah

    The lunbawang/lundayeh spoke a totally diffferent language from the Tagal.


  9. bapa saya lubawang…..

  10. I’m prOud tO bE a LunBawang.. 🙂

  11. borneorainbow said:

    But very many of our people e.g. Lundayeh-younger generation don’t speak the language anymore–actually it applies to other ethnics as well in the country. My advice is if anyone of you interested in this subject why not do some work no matter how small it might be-say write a song, write a memoir, a game,etc

  12. Lun Bawang (People of the Land) and Lun Dayeh (People of the interior) came from the same root of Terur Aco. We just name ourselves like that because we’re proud of our origin (we have our own unique accent) but we know that we’re from the same root. So no big deal.

    Just like the Indians, they originate from the Indus River. They too have a lot of other unique accents.

  13. Hey, where can I learn more about the lun bawang language? I have a few lun bawang friends and it would be cool if i could actually speak their language? any specific websites where i can go learn them ?

  14. i have friends which are lunbawang people.. indeed their language is quite unfamiliar but all are from the same root. like me, i am a Berawans. when i ask my dady, he did mention about lunbawang people in the generations bcz Berawans originate from limbang ( or lawas,i forgotten ) then move to Miri. nowadays i didn’t know if there’re Berawans left at Limbang.

  15. paul mauregar lalong said:

    Lundayeh adalah salah satu suku tertua di Borneo dan Indonesia dan Lundayeh Kuno memiliki kerajaan yang bernama Kerajaan Manjalutung..dan wilayah Manjalutung terletak di East Kalimanatan, bibir pantai di selat makasar….penelitian ini telah saya lakukan puluhan tahun…dan untuk menegtahuinya lebih jelas tunggu saja penerbitan buku ” The history of Lundayeh “. mohon saya didukung dalam doa, by; Paul Mauregar Lalong

  16. borneorainbow said:

    Its amusing! I’ve not been updating this subject nor the blog but fortunately this subject has followers–i shall rethink of the best way to improve the presentation later–thank you all~ amde

  17. paren piasau said:

    whether you are sabah lun dayeh from sipitang or sarawak lun bawang from lawas,the most important is TAGAP TUPU!!!!!wawawa…nah kurang ngirup beer men….hahaha.

  18. Hi, am a Lun dayeh myself:) in terms of language, we have one thing that distinguish us from the Lunbawangs; e.g. have you eaten? Lundayeh: Fengeh iko kuman? Lunbawang: Pengeh iko kuman? — The lundayeh will be using ‘f’ and he lunbawang will be using ‘p’… grammar wise is a bit different as well, e.g. none lundayeh: na luk idih, lunbawang: na inan. The meaning is still the same. We could understand each other well, though sometimes we make fun of each other due to the differences in terms usage and grammar. i don’t know what had caused these, but am glad we are still retaining the language.

  19. Beng Sakai said:

    i proud to be ONE

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