Dayaks continue to shine on world stage despite Covid-19 challenges

Paul Raja

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KUCHING, May 31: Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a good year for the Dayak community in Sarawak with outstanding Dayaks claiming the world stage, bringing glory to Sarawak.

Dayak National Congress president Paul Raja named Pandelela Rinong Pamg, Bonnie Bunyau Gustin, Misha Minut, and Francisca Luhong James as among them.

“This year is a special year for the Dayak community. We have Pandalela Rinong winning the diving world championship in Tokyo. Then we have Bonnie Bunyau Gustin winning the World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Bangkok.

“On the movie industry, the Dayak Iban film, Belaban Idup by Misha Minut and Ray Lee has won so many international accolades. The Dayak community of Sarawak and Borneo is also well-known for their beauties.

“This has been finally proven by Francisca Luhong James who was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 and represented Malaysia at Miss Universe 2021 in Florida.

“All these young Dayaks are the pride of the Dayak Community. Congratulations to all of you. It proves that we can be successful like anyone else,” said Paul in a statement today.

He said Dayaks are respectable, courteous, generous and well-mannered people. Nevertheless, it is sad that despite all the efforts by the government to foster national integration for past 50 over years, some Malaysians are still ignorant about other races and ethnicities.

“There are still some people who try to belittle our people, culture, customs, traditions and costumes; it’s just the work of people who are ignorant and have no self-respect.

“But these things will by no means hamper our community in building up, developing and progressing with all the other communities in Sarawak and Malaysia,” said Paul.

On the upcoming Sarawak election, he reminded the Dayak community of its importance as the election will decide their future.

“It’s not just politics as usual. It’s our future that we will determine in this election. I urged the community to decide with wisdom. We must not see politics as it used to be in the 80s, 90s and 2000s! Let’s have a new mindset.

“We only choose parties and people who will speak for us, not people to threaten, promises and buy our votes. Let’s be honest with ourselves on what we want for the community.

“Cast aside the old political games (sic) who keep on promoting the same people again and again then pass on the baton to their children,” said Paul.

He predicted there will be many parties, individuals or groups of individuals seeking the favour of the voters where all kinds of goodies, promises, and sweet words will be offered.

“Lest we forget, let’s take stock of the almost 60 years after the formation of Malaysia. If we feel that we have been shortchanged, it’s our duty to change the game. Otherwise, it will be just status quo. We must learn our lessons from the past,” said Paul. — DayakDaily