Forming local-based multiracial party to benefit Dayaks mooted at convention

Q&A session during the DNC at BCCK today.

KUCHING, Sept 17: A suggestion to set up a Sarawak-based multiracial party for the benefit of the Dayak community in the state reverberated at the Dayak National Convention (DNC) today.

Dayak Round Table (DRT) advisor Dr Dusit Jaul proposed the idea during the question-and-answer session after some in the audience asked which direction the Dayak community should take in its political development.

The question asked was if the Dayaks should form a new political party or join an existing Sarawak-based party to fight for the community’s rights.

At first, one of the speakers for the DNC on political issues, Associate Professor Dr Ricardo Baba, said there was no need to set up a new party, especially if its racial based. This is because racial-based parties would inculcate racism and would only favour the majority race in the party.

Ricardo, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Limbang chief, suggested that Dayaks join existing multi-racial parties in the state, such as the Democratic Action Party (DAP) or PKR.

Dr Dusit, however, suggested the setting up of a new Sarawak-based multi-racial party, and his suggestion was applauded by the 2,000-strong audience.

“What if we set up a new party but not racial-based in Sarawak? Like Warisan in Sabah?” he suggested.

On another issue, a member of the audience questioned the reason behind state government-owned land. The questioner was puzzled because before the Sarawak government was formed, the land all belonged to the Dayaks.

“Sarawak land belongs to the original natives of Sarawak. But why everything seems to belong to the state government? Now only little remains of our Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, and we are not happy,” said the audience member.

DNC speaker and NCR land expert Professor Dr Dimbap Ngidang said the Land Code, which started it all, was set up during the British colony era: James Brooke brought the law to Sarawak.

He opined that the colonial law should be abolished as it was very racist and did not benefit the Dayaks in Sarawak.

“When you are in power, you make the law. That is why in the past and today, the Colonial Land Code is a racist land code and should be abolished. So, we must be prepared with a strong political will to create our own post-independent code that is fair to everyone,” said Dr Dimbap.

Some 2,000 people from various Dayak communities all over Malaysia and Kalimantan, Indonesia attended the one-day convention.

Organising chairman Patrick Sibat Sujang said the convention was a success, and the committee managed to come up with a comprehensive resolution.

“We will be organising more of this convention later. Don’t worry, there will be more opportunities for the Dayak community to voice their opinions,” he told reporters after the conclusion of the convention. — DayakDaily