Dayak women must empower community transformation in digital age

Alice presenting a souvenir to Abang Johari.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Aug 1: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg lauded the initiative by the Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) for putting education at the forefront to transform the native community.

As the state government endeavours into a new era of Industrial Revolution 4.0, the role of Dayak NGOs such as SIDS will be crucial to ensure the Dayaks, particularly the women, are empowered to participate effectively in the state transformation programme.

He advised SIDS to make full use of modern technology and advanced knowledge to add value to existing skills and products of the Dayak women to reach greater heights, while preserving their culture and heritage.

“The government is in the midst of transforming our economy from the conventional approach into the new era based on Industrial Revolution 4.0 that is basically the use of technology.

“Technology has brought the people closer and turned the world to become a village and we can engage with anybody, anywhere in the world.

“In his respect, it is our hope that women in Sarawak, in particular the Dayak women, can take part in this new era by commanding the latest technology in e-commerce,” Abang Johari said at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between SIDS and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

The MoU was for the establishment of Tan Sri Empiang Jabu Research Chair for Dayak Women Studies, with the aim to empower Dayak women through various academics and action-oriented activities like bench marking the state of development of Dayak women as a roadmap to move forward, conduct courses and training to meet the needs of SIDS members.

“I believe the cooperation between SIDS and UPM will enable the exploration of new areas in terms of technology, as well as in terms of how we make use of resources that we have, particularly in rural areas.

“Perseverance must be there and the latest knowledge on the production process will help how we position ourselves in this competitive world.”

Abang Johari cited that the pua kumbu can be a source of revenue for the women in the rural areas and the production, the workshop, the weaving skills ought to be connected with the global market through the use of technology.

SIDS chairperson Datuk Alice Jawan Empaling said apart from UPM, the organisation was also in the midst of discussing collaboration works with other organisations such as the Sarawak Dayak Graduate Association (SDGA) and Universiti Sarawak Malaysia (Unimas) on specific programmes for the development of Dayak women.

“It is timely that we, Dayak women, synergise our resources and build on strengthening the women,” she said. — DayakDaily