KUCHING, May 31: Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas has urged the Dayak community to uphold and preserve their rich cultural and traditional heritage with the utmost respect, emphasising that these aspects are sacrosanct and central to their identity.
He expressed deep appreciation for the tireless efforts of various associations, clubs, and non-governmental organisations (NGOS) that have consistently worked towards preserving and promoting the “Ajat”, “Sape”, “Bertaboh”, and handicrafts such as the “Pua Kumbu”, “Baju Buriek”, “Baju Gagung”, and the “Kuntau” martial art, which play crucial roles in Dayak culture.
“I have attended several pre-Gawai gatherings and dinners where a wide spectrum of mesmerising, and vibrantly colourful cultural presentations (plus native cuisines) were showcased.
“We must uphold them in the highest respect for they are sacrosanct and central to our identity,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message today.
Uggah also extended his gratitude to the Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities, recognising their equal passion and commitment in protecting, preserving, and promoting their unique cultural heritage, as their dedication contributes to the overall richness and diversity of Sarawak’s cultural tapestry.
Recognising the upcoming challenges brought by new digital technologies, the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development called upon the Dayak community to embrace the spirit of unity during the Gawai Dayak celebration.
Highlighting the significance of communal celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Gawai, Christmas, and others, Uggah urged everyone to continue the tradition of “Ngabang” or visiting each other’s open houses to spread goodwill, foster harmony, and, most importantly, strengthen unity among different races.
“Let us all stay united and continue to support GPS government in its many programmes in the effort to develop Sarawak as a high income region by 2030.
“Let us continue to be thankful and grateful for all the good things and deeds from the government that have come our ways. Let us reciprocate in the way that our values and norms beseech upon us,” he called on.
To those travelling home for the Gawai Dayak celebration, whether by road or river, Uggah advised taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their families during the journey.
“My family and I would like to wish all Dayak a jouyous and prosperous Gawai Dayak celebration. ‘Gayu guru gerai nyamai’, ‘Lantang senang nguan menoa’. May we all continue to be blessed with good health, long life, unity and prosperity.” — DayakDaily