`Friendly pow-wow fine, but it needs to be done publicly’

A file photo of Alim (seated centre) taken after a press conference on the open debate over the composition of the state civil service.
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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 16: The Dayak Round Table (DRT) group welcomed today the suggestion for a friendly discussion on the racial composition of the state civil service but insisted it must be done in an open platform for the public to make their own assessments.

Spokesperson Alim Mideh emphasised that whatever the mechanism adopted to deliberate on the issue, a publicly accessible platform was vital for a civil discussion so that people would know what is really going on or even publicly challenge their assertions.

“We would like a friendly pow-wow, but it needs to be done publicly. It is more appropriate and transparent that way. In fact, we are taking up and answering the challenge thrown by Talib (Integrity and Ombudsman minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip).

“Instead of seeing him (Talib) quietly, we prefer an open debate so that the immoral practices of the government for the past 56 years (since Independence) can be made known to the public,” he told DayakDaily when contacted.

He was reacting to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Dato Idris Buang’s call for a friendly pow-wow with Talib or the State Public Services Commission, where the group could be enlightened on the multiracial composition of the state civil service.

Idris pointed out that there were better avenues than taking the matter to an open debate because he observed that the approach could not satisfy any debating minds, considering the many intertwining ramifications, repercussions and endless polemics.

The DRT had on Thursday (Nov 15) challenged Talib to an open live debate after accepting his challenge to present the facts and statistics on the composition of the state civil service.

Talib had told the media after delivering his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly on Nov 12 that the composition of the state civil service was based on meritocracy. He challenged those who disagreed with it to come up with facts and statistics.

On whether the DRT would release the facts and statistics publicly if Talib does not accept the challenge to an open live debate, Alim said he needed to go back and discuss the matter with the DRT Committee on the next course of action.

“We will wait for 14 days (from Nov 15 when the challenge was officially announced) until YB Talib comes back to us with an answer before discussing what to do next.

“We are just taking up and answering to the challenge thrown by Talib,” he added. — DayakDaily