Main Article Content
The establishment of nature conservation projects often bring dilemmas for local communities in Southeast Asia, including in Sabah, Malaysia. On the one hand, the enactment of Kinabalu National Park has triggered the dispossession of local people from their customary lands, but on the other, it offers various economic opportunities. Employing ethnographic method, this article explores the transformation of Dusun community living in nearby Kinabalu Park and its connection to the influx of foreign migrants from Indonesia. Besides Mount Kinabalu, agriculture acts as the core of cultural pattern for the local people. However, the establishment of Kinabalu Park has offered tourism as the more profitable economic sector, therefore, agricultural lands tend to be abandoned, left for the elders and foreign workers from Indonesia. Recently, scores of Indonesian migrant families are inhabiting several villages nearby Kinabalu Park, basing livelihood primarily on vegetable cultivation. Religious factor and the advance communication technology also play role to this migration pattern. According to direct observation, the majority of Indonesian migrants are predominantly Christians, similar to the religion of the host community. With the advent of ICT, these Indonesian migrants living in Sabah ensure that their family ties even though separated by Sulawesi Sea remains unhindered.
Keywords: tourism, migrant, transformation, Kinabalu Park, agricultural land
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