KUCHING, Dec 9:Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has told the Dayak community to abandon the idea of setting up a Dayak-centric Sarawak government administration and described such a move as a “lost cause”.
He stressed that as Sarawakians, it would be better to fight for the greater interest for all communities in Sarawak to live in peace and harmony regardless of race and religion.
“Lots of young Dayaks of today think some Dayak leaders never try to fight for the Dayaks. We did. Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) did. We tried to unite the Dayaks from 1987–1994. It lasted for 7 tough years. We lost twice, in 1987 and in 1991.
“I was then only 37 years old. I’m now too old to fight for a lost cause, to unite all the Dayaks. Instead, let us now join hands and fight for the interest of all Sarawakians,” Masing told DayakDaily today.
Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister was responding to an increasing voice of young Dayaks who wanted the community to be more aggressive to gain greater control of the State’s administration as in the case of the early days of the State’s history after the formation of Malaysia.
Sarawak’s first two chief ministers, namely the late Tan Sri Stephen Kallong Ningkan and Dato Sri Tawi Sli are both Ibans from Betong and Sri Aman divisions respectively.
In 1987, during the Ming Court Affairs, Masing and other Dayak leaders under PBDS banner, had joined the opposition pack, Permas, led by former Chief Minister and former Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kup to topple the leadership of then Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Instead of toppling Taib, the latter called for a snap State election whereby it managed to win simple majority seats in State Legislative Assembly (DUN).
After the State election in 1987, many elected representatives from the opposition pack, especially from PBDS, joined the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN)-coalition, thus weakened PBDS drastically.
And in 1991, PBDS and Permas again tried, but also failed miserably, prompting PBDS leaders to apply to rejoin the BN-led State coalition. They were subsequently admitted into the fold in 1995.
Since then PBDS, which later rebranded itself as PRS, along with Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), which was formerly known as Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and was later known briefly as Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) has been part of the Sarawak Government’s administration.
And after BN lost in the 14th general election held in May 2018, Sarawak BN left the coalition to form the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). -DayakDaily