DNC chairman advises state government to listen to the Dayaks

Patrick speaking to reporters after concluding the Dayak National Convention at BCCK, Kuching.

KUCHING, Sept 17: Dayak National Convention (DNC) chairman Patrick Sibat Sujang hopes that with the change of the federal government, the state government would now seriously hear the voices of the Dayaks.

He said a set of resolutions had been drafted as a result of the DNC today at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here. It was meant for both the federal and state governments.

Among the points contained in the resolution was native land issue, where Sibat described the recent amendment to the Land Code as “half cooked”.

“The amendment (to the Land Code) is half cooked, to me. It’s just like mass producing S-sized T-shirts to be distributed to everyone of all sizes, as if one size fits all. It is not right to limit the ‘Pemakai Menoa’ to 1,000 hectares. It’s even worse for the Orang Ulu and the Penans,” he told reporters after the convention ended.

This would be one of many times Dayak-related resolutions are submitted to the state government, Sibat added. He lamented that most of those submitted in the past were ignored, adding that only bits and pieces were taken note of.

“For example, in the amendment to the Land Code. Before this, we submitted three memorandums through Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia). I participated in it but most of it they (state government) didn’t listen,” said Sibat, who is also a Sadia exco member.

“So if they still won’t listen, we will continue to fight on until we are satisfied because we know we are right. All over the world, the governments-of-the-day are giving back the land to their indigenous people. But only in Sarawak the government-of-the-day is still taking land from the natives.”

Sibat said it would take some time to polish up and refine the resolutions before they are delivered personally to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya and to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is very friendly, so there will be no problem handing the resolution directly to Tun Dr Mahathir. Also Abang Johari is a good man, as I was under him for over eight years before,” he said. — DayakDaily