KUCHING: The Dayak NGOs in Sarawak are urging Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to give them due consideration when preparing the 2018 National Budget.
Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA), Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) have all called out in unison to request for special attention to be given to Sarawak’s rural communities.
SDGA president Dr Dusit Jaul said it is his hope that the prime minister, through Budget 2018, would allocate more funds to improve infrastructure development such as rural roads, schools, electricity and water supply, for the rural communities.
“The government has to prioritise these as we are talking about welfare and progress for the rural communities,” said Dr Dusit.
OUNA president Dato Abu Bakar concurred with Dusit in the aspect of more funding for rural development. However, he added that funds must also be allocated to the Dayak community to enable them to preserve their own indigenous cultures.
“The Orang Ulu is a small group in comparison to other bigger ethnic groups. It is our duty to preserve our cultures before our cultures are integrated into others’ cultures and become lost permanently,” said Abu Bakar.
Meanwhile, DCCI hopes to see a business-friendly 2018 Budget.
In stating his wish list for the 2018 Budget, DCCI president Datuk Joseph Salang said he hoped to see a budget that was friendly to the Dayak entrepreneurs especially the up and coming young Dayaks who have been trying to make it in the business world.
“Our community still needs a lot of help from the government in grooming more young entrepreneurs. In this regard, we hope there will be budget allocated to our young businessmen for starting up new businesses or trying to run start-ups.
“We also hope to see more funds and assistance to train our members, regardless of their age,” Salang told the DayakDaily recently.
When asked for his perspective as to whether Budget 2018 would be an election budget since the general election has to be called by August next year, Salang believed that it would not be the case.
“The government always plans its budget based on needs and what is good for the country. The budget planning will not be dependent on whether election is coming or not,” said Salang who is Julau MP.
He said MPs’ views were not sought after during the budget preparation.
“However, as MPs, we have always conveyed the raykat’s wishes through parliament. For example, we have been asking for adequate funding for rural amenities such as water, electricity, and telecommunication facilities in addition to rural roads. We have also been asking for funding for rural schools,” said Salang.