Why Dayak professionals join DAP, reject BN parties

VIEWPOINT: Isn’t it surprising that another group of Dayak professionals recently signed up with the DAP? After all, the DAP has been branded by BN as a “Chinese party, chauvinistic and dangerous”.

There are those who ask what they would gain by joining DAP.

Some even suggest they should instead join any of the ruling parties particularly PBB or even PRS, if they want a “comfortable life”.

They say that in PBB there are a lot of business opportunities, government contracts, and political positions in the government such as political secretaries, directors and members of board of directors in government-linked companies. Look at those who are in PBB now.

As the Pesaka wing of PBB lacks Dayak professionals, it certainly needs more Dayaks in the wing. The only problem is whether the Bumiputera wing of PBB will want them for they are fearful of Pesaka becoming too powerful and influential.

Or they can join PRS which needs more Dayak professionals to strengthen it. There are also some opportunities in business, government contracts, and political posts such as political secretaries and even as councillors where they can contribute to the development of district and municipal councils.

But why aren’t Dayaks joining Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) if they are seeking an opposition platform?

I was told that there are two reasons why they aren’t joining PKR.

Firstly, they fear that PKR is an extension of Umno Baru. Most of the leaders in PKR were once Umno strongmen who may subscribe to Umno’s policies when and if they form the next federal government.

Secondly, it appears to some Dayaks that PKR is more interested in winning Putrajaya in the next parliamentary elections. PKR is less concerned about winning more seats in Sarawak as evident by the fact that it is only concentrating only on certain seats.

It believes that Sarawak can only be “captured” after it takes over the federal government.

Among those who joined DAP in Miri recently were Ellison Ludan, (former lecturer with Maktab Perguruan Miri and Curtin University), Musa Dinggat, (practising lawyer), Christopher Sawan (practising lawyer), Anselm Diye (senior executive and trainer with Petronas), village chief Estel Simpo (retired pharmacist) and a number of longhouse chiefs.

Another group of professionals is planning to join DAP later.

In November last year, 12 Dayak professionals and activists joined the party in Kuching.

Asked to comment on the latest group of Dayak professionals joining the party, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said that Dayaks now formed about 60% of DAP members in the state.

“There is now a growing acceptance by the Dayak professionals of DAP. They see the DAP as the party which truly fights for the rights all races and subscribes to the struggle of DAP,” said Chong, who is the MP for Bandar Kuching and assemblyman for Kota Sentosa.

He said that the party would continue to speak up on issues that affected all races because it believed that it must progress as one, regardless of race, language and religion.

In a recent interview with The Ant Daily, the group of Dayak professionals said that they did not want to join local BN parties because they “suppressed Sarawakians, working in cohort with BN parties from West Malaysia”.

In DAP they saw it as a better and more effective platform to fight along with party leaders for equality, justice, fairness and the fight against corruption, nepotism, cronyism and abuse of power as well as against the land-grabbing of native customary rights (NCR) land.

“It is the party which truly fights for the rights of every Malaysian and DAP leaders are real fighters, unlike BN leaders who are more interested in looking after their ‘periok nasi’ (pots of rice) and their positions in the government.

“Dayak leaders in BN do not fight for our rights,” they said, pointing out that they were more inclined to enjoying life such as playing golf and frequenting karaoke and pubs.

They only appear in their constituencies during election times.

They said that what attracted them most was that Sarawak DAP had the best “master plan” to help develop the Dayaks in the rural areas.

“What we are doing now is to lay the foundation for more Dayaks to join the party,” they added.

These Dayak professionals feel sceptical of Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s promise to help the Dayaks in the rural areas by allocating over RM1 billion to transform the rural areas. He promised to protect the native customary rights (NCR) land by surveying it.

Yet Adenan’s government refused to recognise the decisions of the lower courts which have declared that “pemakai menua” (territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (communal forest) are part of the native customary rights.

It continued to file appeals after appeals against the decisions of the courts.

On Adenan’s comment that he is the chief minister for all Sarawakians, the Dayak professionals asked why key state departments were occupied by one particular race.

Adenan should recruit more Dayaks and Chinese in these departments and in the state civil service, they said.

“Can we trust Adenan and PBB, which has ruled Sarawak for decades, for another five years?” they asked.-The Ant Daily

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