KUCHING, May 27: The Dayak community in Sarawak is shocked that Education Minister Maszlee Malik failed to extend Gawai Dayak and Pesta Kaamatan greetings to Dayak teachers in a recent video message to teachers and students in conjunction with the school holidays.
Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) president Bobby William wondered if the video was meant for folk in Malaya or for all Malaysians.
“I think most of us were caught by surprise, even more so when PAS Bintulu chief Zharudin Narudin pointed out Maszlee’s neglect on this matter.
“We do concur with PAS’ comment on Maszlee. There are also matters with regards to how Maszlee handles the education system that not many Sarawakians agree with,” Bobby said in a statement today.
He cautioned that Maszlee’s misstep in the video message could stir negative sentiments.
“Can you blame the Dayaks in Sarawak and Sabah for being sensitive after all that is going on, where Sarawak and Sabah feel shortchanged under MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963)?” asked Bobby.
He said whether the omission of the Gawai Dayak and Pesta Kaamatan greetings were done unintentionally or otherwise, Maszlee, as an education minister, should know better. Besides, both these celebrations will be held a few days earlier than Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“We, at PBDS Baru, hope Maszlee can be more open-minded and be well aware that both Borneon states (Sarawak and Sabah) are more democratic-minded and are very sensitive when it comes to multiracial issues,” said Bobby. — DayakDaily