Gary Ningkan new head of Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association

Gary (seated, second from left) and Dr Jawing (standing, seventh from right) with former exco and new exco members in a group photo.

KUCHING, March 21: Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) has elected 31-year-old Gary Ningkan as their new president for the term 2019-2021, taking over from Dr Dusit Jaul.

The biennial election was held during SGDA’s annual general meeting (AGM) in a hotel on March 16.

Gary is supported by deputy president Dr Jawing Chunggat, Darrel Nadeng (secretary-general), Alicia Augustine (assistant secretary-general), Rudy Ujang (treasurer-general), Nathanael Bolly (assistant treasurer-general) and 11 ordinary committee members.

The vice-presidents are Dr Florianna Lendai (Iban), Sabestiano Mike (Bidayuh), and Haider Kowel Bete (Orang Ulu).

Yesterday, the Association held a simple handing-over ceremony at its headquarters in Panovel Commercial Centre, Jalan Simpang Tiga, here.

In a media release today, Gary emphasised that SGDA would maintain its focus on education, including as a vehicle to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to young Dayaks.

“They Dayak community cannot get left behind in STEM and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) if we wish to ride the tide of IR4.0 (Industrial Revolution 4.0) and the Sarawak’s Digital Economy aspirations,” he said.

“That is why the repair works on over 1,000 dilapidated schools in Sarawak must be done as soon as possible. These are schools mostly in the rural areas and affecting Dayak children’s education.”

Other than Dayak’s education, Gary shared that SGDA also aspired to be the leading voice for young Dayaks, whose main concerns were employment and financial stability.

“We understand that young graduates are facing challenges in employment. We wish to address the issues and source for solutions. This is, after all, an Association of Dayak graduates,” he said.

Taking on a new direction, with the average age of office bearers at 30 years and coming from various professions, Gary said they were very eager to contribute to the community at large.

“I am very honoured to be elected to lead this association. Dr Dusit and the previous exco had done a tremendous job in advocating matters pertaining to Dayaks’ education. These are big shoes for us to fill. However, I have great confidence in the current exco’s abilities,” he said.

“Therefore, we call out all young Dayak graduates to support our cause and join us as lifetime members. Let us be your voice. The bigger our group, the louder our voice becomes,” he reckoned.

Membership application can be done at www.sarawakdga.org.my.

The new exco is also planning to refurbish the website and to establish social media interaction through its new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SarawakDGA/ that will be launched this coming April 1.

SDGA was registered on July 23, 2001. Its mission is to promote the value of good and relevant education among the Dayak community. As at today, it has more than 1,100 members. — DayakDaily