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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 1.44

Interaction of Sihan with other ethnic groups in Belaga town, Malaysia


  • Dr. Yumi KATO

Primary authors


This paper describes interaction of Sihan with other ethnic groups including Chinese, Malay, Penan, and other indigenous groups in Belaga town, Malaysia. Sihan is one of the ethnic minorities in Malaysia. In this paper I discuss how Sihan have multiple relations in the context of dwelling in the town area. The relationships of Sihan with other ethnic groups have continued in some points and have changed in other points in these decades. For instance, forest products trade with other Orang Ulu groups seems similar to the previous one, however, they have land conflict after the commercial logging operation. The Sihan have still close social relation with Penan, however, they also have complex feeling concerning on the development project. The trade of forest products with Chinese still continue to date, in addtion the economic relation with Chinese become more expanded including wage labor and keeping houses in town. The demands of wage labor and existence of rental housing at Belaga enable the Sihan to dwell in the town. Although renting house in Belaga, they also live in the villages and forest camp, and move frequently between these places. They hunt and farm when staying in the village, whereas they engage in wage labor under the Chinese and take care their children’s schooling when living in town. Interaction with multiple ethnic groups enable Sihan to access both the cash economy in the town and forest resources in the village.