Deputy Minister: Consider giving equal treatment to Dayak community by recognising Gawai as national public holiday

Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong

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KUCHING, June 6: The unity government should consider giving equal treatment to the Dayak community and make Hari Gawai Dayak a public holiday nationwide, says Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong.

Ugak stressed that this is what he has been advocating for his community.  

“During my Gawai open house (on June 4, 2023), I was asked (the same question) by the reporters and the public too. My response was very simple, if Hari Raya and Chinese New Year can be a national public holiday, why not give (the same treatment) to the Dayak communities in Malaysia?” said Ugak.

Ugak understood that there are 30,000 Dayaks in Johore Baru, and there is also a big Dayak diaspora in Selangor, Melaka and Pulau Penang.

“The unity government which is the government of the day, should consider giving the same treatment to all races in Malaysia. But it is up to the government to take this matter up,” said Ugak when asked by DayakDaily to respond to Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) latest statement in urging Ugak to pursue the initiative to recognise Gawai as a public holiday nationwide.

PBDS president Moses Ripai said Ugak should not just make the suggestion but instead bring the matter to the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the consideration of the Federal government.

Ripai said PBDS gave Ugak its support and believed that Ugak is the right person to pursue the matter due to his position as deputy minister in charge of Sabah and Sarawak and Special Functions. — DayakDaily