KUCHING, May 9: Pandelela Rinong epitomises the Dayak Battle Cry of “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban”, said Dayak National Congress (DNC) president Paul Raja.
Paul in a press statement today said DNC congratulated the national diving queen on her magnificent achievement as World Diving Champion and the first gold medalist in the Diving World Cup for Malaysia.
“With great admiration, we read about the accolades accorded to her from the whole of Malaysia including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, national leaders and the Federal Youth and Sports Minister. It is great joy and day for Pandalela and for all Malaysians. It comes as a cheer up and lightens our day especially during this challenging time of pandemic.
“It is no easy feat. She is a true champion who epitomises the Dayak Battle Cry of “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban” (As Long As There is Breath In Me I Will Fight),” he said.
On the same note, Paul opined that State Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s remarks on Pandelela Rinong’s success is uncalled for.
He said becoming a world beater does not happen every day for Malaysia, especially so for Sarawak, now that sport has become a discipline of the past and for Pandalela to succeed in a sport that is not common amongst the Dayak community is really a rare talent.
“For that, we wholeheartedly believe that she should be properly rewarded. She may have earned the gold medal but the name of “Wilayah” Sarawak and Malaysia etched on the world map worth every reward given to her.
“Whether she is rewarded with the title “Datuk” or not is not the issue. Why the hue and cry from the social media is the way the Minister treats Pandalela as a sports person. It is totally out of the way for the very Sports Minister to cast a slur while also congratulating her,” he added.
According to Paul, following the Minister’s remark, many people argued that Pandalela truly deserves her rewards.
“We fully support that. In the first place Pandalela is an athlete, not a paid worker. She depends on charity and goodwill apart from sponsors to sustain her career. Pandalela may not ask for a “Datukship” but she certainly deserved all the awards befitting her achievements,” he said. — DayakDaily