Manyin wants Bidayuhs to shift into high gear to keep pace with other races

Manyin (standing centre), flanked by Dr Jerip on his right and Ik Pahon on his left, in a group photo with performers and villagers at the Authentic Gawai celebration in Kampung Annah Rais Homestay. Lo is sixth from right.

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By Karen Bong and Lian Cheng

PADAWAN, June 1: The Bidayuh community should take advantage of the basic infrastructure and land that are at their disposal to progress in tandem with the other communities in Sarawak.

Highlighting this, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said the Bidayuhs residing in Padawan now have road access, except for Kampung Jabil.

“This is because during the time when I was works minister, I allocated RM2 million but, unfortunately, no one was willing to sacrifice and give the land (for the road construction),” he said at the Authentic Gawai 2019 celebration at Kampung Annah Rais and Homestay, here, last night.

“During that time, I had also approved RM5 million for Kampung Sepit, RM5 million for Kampung Gilit and RM40 million Kampung Parang Assum, which all now have road accessibility.”

Most of the areas are now also connected with electricity and water supplies, he added.

However, Manyin lamented that the Bidayuh community was still lagging behind other races even though basic infrastructure for their areas had improved.

“So, I want to urge the Bidayuh community to utilise and optimise the use of infrastructure and land to move forward and progress with other races,” he said.

On the homestay, especially at Kampung Annah Rais, which is the only Bidayuh village still preserving its authenticity and values, Manyin agreed that the state government needed to improve the infrastructure and bring more development to this area.

“I agree with Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil on the need for the government to further improve infrastructure here. Villages like this really need better infrastructure,” he said.

“I am very impressed by this authentic homestay, so we will try to get as many tourists and visitors as possible to come here and, in turn, become another source of income for the Bidayuh community here.”

On the Gawai do at Kampung Annah Rais and Homestay, Manyin emphasised that the name `Authentic Gawai’ was apt, what with the rich heritage and culture of the Bidayuhs here.

“This is the first Authentic Gawai hosted by Kampung Annah Rais. This is a sign of success, and we hope to continue this for many more years to come,” he said.

The Bidayuh teenagers in their traditional costumes pose for a photo.

Gawai, he stressed, provided a great opportunity not only for the people to enjoy the celebration but, most importantly, to mix together and further enhance unity.

“As I have always said to the Bidayuh community, unity has no meaning if there is no purpose. We must have unity of purpose. This is the time for us to enhance our ties and bond, which is our greatest asset,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, Dr Jerip, who is the organising chairperson of the celebration, highlighted that the unique heritage and culture of Kampung Annah Rais and Homestay must be preserved.

“This is our heritage. Perhaps, the arts in various forms can be commercialised and promoted as well,” he said.

He also appealed to the state government to support preserving this authentic longhouse and improve the old and dilapidated infrastructure here.

“More funds are also needed to beautify the surrounding areas as it is one of the top tourist attractions in Padawan and Sarawak,” he added.

Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Datuk Ik Pahon and Padawan Municipal Council chairman Lo Khere Chiang were also present. — DayakDaily