Deputy Minister urges unity govt to make Gawai Dayak national public holiday

From left: Pang, Nyurak, Chukpai, Majang, Ugak, Abang Johari, Dr Rundi and Liwan photographed during a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the 60th Anniversary of Sarawak Independence during the Gawai open house at Ugak's residence in Bintulu on June 4, 2023. Photo: Sarawak Information Department (Japen)

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

BINTULU, June 4: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Duties) Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong is urging the unity government to make Gawai Dayak a national public holiday.

He said it is a good proposal to allow Malaysians nationwide especially in Malaya, to celebrate Gawai together in the spirit of Malaysia Madani.

“Sometimes, there are Dayak people residing in Malaya who are unable to return home to Sarawak so they can celebrate the festival with their friends in Malaya.

“Thus, I hope this proposal can be considered by the unity government led by Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. There is no harm in adding one extra public holiday.

“If Sarawak can give a holiday on June 1, why not the whole Malaysia? It would also be a meaningful recognition of the Dayaks,” he told reporters when hosting a Gawai open house at Jalan Sebiew here today.

Ugak further said that the wishful proposal would have to be presented in the federal Cabinet for approval.

The Gawai Dayak festival which is celebrated on June 1 annually, was formally gazetted on Sept 25, 1964, as a public holiday in Sarawak.

Ugak’s open house was attended by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Also present were Sarawak Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Deputy Minister of Utility and Telecommunication (Telecommunication) Datuk Liwan Lagang; Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development Datuk Majang Renggi; Lubok Antu MP Roy Angau Gingkoi; Jepak assemblyman Datuk Talib Zulpilip; Tanjong Batu assemblyman Johnny Pang Leong Ming; Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon; and Bintulu Resident Nyurak Keti. — DayakDaily