Dayaks see red over posting of Ustaz to be in charge of SMK Sungai Paoh

MIRI: Dayaks in Sarawak are seeing red over the posting of an Ustaz as principal of SMK Sungai Paoh, a school in rural Sarikei.

Why should the Education Ministry send a teacher from the peninsula here when Sarawak had its own teachers who deserved the post, they questioned.

It’s an insult to the Dayaks in particular and Sarawak in general, as if there were no local teachers or principals capable of serving in SMK Sungai Paoh.

“Sarawak’s rural area is not a ‘dumping ground’ for any Tom, Dick or Harry.

“The community in the area should be taken into account when posting someone as principal of a school like SMK Sungai Paoh,” Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) supreme council member Cobbold John said yesterday.

He said a local or Sarawakian should be posted to such schools as he or she would know better the local conditions, traditions and customs to avoid any conflict.

The state government should also look into the matter as at least two cases caused by teachers from the peninsula had happened here before, making locals hate them.

Cobbold believed there were many local Sarawakian teachers qualified for the post, especially Dayak teachers.

“Many Dayak teaching graduates who couldn’t find work in the field are forced to work elsewhere,” he said.

He said it was most appropriate for a Dayak to serve in SMK Sungai Paoh as only a Dayak could understand the Dayaks.

“If a Dayak is not given the opportunity now, when will they be given?”

Cobbold said this yesterday when asked for his comments on the statement made by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Sarikei branch chairman Clement Hillary.

Clement had expressed his sorrow that the Education Ministry had appointed an Ustaz from Kelantan, Ruslin Che Mood as principal of SMK Sungai Paoh in Sarikei.

The post was left vacant after the former principal retired in March.

Following the news on the issue, the people in Sungai Paoh and Dayaks in general have been unhappy.

Cobbold said PBDSB and all Dayak non-governmental organisations (NGOs) fully supported Hillary’s statement because if the Dayaks could not protect their own interest, who else could.

“Since our chief minister has talked about autonomy in Sarawak, let it start with the education field,” he said.-Borneo Post

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