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KUCHING, May 10: After capturing the two Bidayuh-majority seats of Puncak Borneo and Mas Gading and the two Iban-majority seats Saratok and Selangau in rural Sarawak, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders proudly declared that Dayaks are no longer fixed deposit of Barisan Nasional (BN).
“It is an outcome that is outstanding for us,” said Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian, who had won Selangau by a slim majority of 486 votes against Parti Rakyat Sarawak’s (PRS) Rita Insol in a close fight.
Baru said PH’s victory had the critics wrong that Dayaks are the fixed deposit of BN and that they can be easily bought.
“We have shown that the political tsunami has reached the heartland of Borneo in Selangau. Rural Sarawak is maturing in politics and the people have shown an impressive understanding of what is happening in the country,” said Baru in a press statement yesterday.
He likened Selangau people to the people of Ba’Kelalan who understood and appreciated political development and displayed an incredible zest for change, to be part of the awakening that has been happening across the country, and to make a difference to the political landscape of Malaysia.
As a non-local and a Lun Bawang contesting in the Iban-majority Selangau, Baru was overwhelmed with the positive response from the people of Selangau, which had also proven PRS president Tan Sri James Masing wrong that the Ibans of Selangau will not accept him.
“The people of Selangau are Sarawakians first, Iban second. They have displayed superior political awareness and have chosen to elect a person without any consideration of his ethnicity or origins,” he said.
He added that the outcome had also proven that native customary rights (NCR) land issues are still pertinent and discussed by the people with great passion and the people do not trust that the BN government will safeguard the ownership of their lands.
He also pointed out that the infrastructure and basic amenities in Selangau need much improvement as people in Selangau are far behind in terms of development and have lost hope in the BN government to raise their living standards.
Humbled by the people’s willingness to accept him, Baru promised to bring change in Selangau as set out in the PH manifesto and he looked forward to fulfilling his responsibilities as MP for Selangau.
Pakatan Harapan state chairman Chong Chieng Jen also told a press conference that Sarawak is no longer BN’s fixed deposit with the breakthrough of winning 10 seats, including many rural Dayak seats for the first time. — DayakDaily