Friday, April 09, 2010

Prodding slumbering Dayaks into action

The battle for a stronger Dayak representation in Sarawak's state and local governments is gaining momentum as more leaders stirred up the slumbering community into action.
PKR deputy chief Mark Murau Sumon said the BN-led Sarawak administration cannot be in a denial mode anymore.

Hitting out at the Sarawak United People Party (SUPP) for neglecting the Bidayuhs vis-a-vis the Dayaks, he accused the current leaders of self-serving greed and being power-hungry.

"SUPP leaders are greedy and want all positions for themselves. They look to us only for votes... but not anymore.We have woken up," he said alluding to the raging battle over the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) seat.

In a rare move, Mark and PKR threw their support behind Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) strongman
Peter Minos’ call for a Bidayuh (from within the Dayak community) to be appointed as chairman of the MPP.

The MPP chairman’s post, which was held by Tan Joo Phoi, fell vacant following Tan’s appointment as an assistant minister in Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Cabinet.

Minos, who is the former chairman of the Dayak Bidayuh Nasional Association, lashed out at SUPP earlier this week for taking the Bidayuh community for granted.

He warned SUPP that the Bidayuhs would abandon the party if it continued to sideline the community. The Dayaks, Bidayuhs included, comprise 40 percent of Sarawak’s population.

'Chinese leaders too arrogant'

In recent years rumblings of discontent have steadily increased against the Taib-led government over issues ranging from native customary land rights, political appointments to commercial patronage, unemployment, and poverty in the Dayak community.

Mark said the SUPP would never agree to having a Bidayuh as chairman of MPP.

"The SUPP is using the Bidayuhs (vis-a-vis the Dayak) as a means of securing voter support to win the election. The party doesn't care about the community.

"Their Chinese leaders are too arrogant and have neglected and sidelined the Bidayuh,” he said.

The Chinese make up only 29 percent of Sarawak’s population.

Mark said this time around, the Dayak community in Sarawak would send a clear message to SUPP and the Taib coalition government.

He also slammed Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party for staying silent on issues involving the Dayak community.

by FMT

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