KUCHING, Nov 30: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) State Leadership Council (MPN) member Joshua Jabeng has called on Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration, and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala to be grateful for leaders like Senator Abun Sui Anyit who speaks out to defend rural communities, particularly Dayaks, rather than launching personal attacks.
On Nov 26, it was reported that Abun Sui stated in a statement that Tuai Rumahs and village chiefs must be fair in distributing the federal government’s assistance worth up to RM100,000 to local residents.
According to reports, Gerawat expressed in a statement that Abun Sui’s insinuation, suggesting that Tuai Rumahs and village chiefs are unfair, dishonest, and discriminatory in their management of government programmes and assistance, is considered an insulting remark.
In a statement, Joshua pointed out that while assemblymen and MPs have been representing almost all Dayak areas, the progress of significant growth has unfortunately been neglected for these areas.
“YB Abun Sui did not have any intention or desire to insult the Dayak chiefs, but YB Gerawat personally perceived it as an insult.
“It is evident that despite the allocations provided by the State or federal governments over the past 60 years of independence, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the living and economic standards of rural Dayaks have improved at the same level as their Malay and Muslim counterparts.
“YB Gerawat’s action of ‘kill the messenger’ suggests that he may have ulterior motives, which he himself is aware of,” he asserted.
Joshua said that as a Dayak representative, Gerawat, a minister and Mulu assemblyman, ought to work together with Abun Sui to develop the Dayak areas, particularly by issuing Native Customary Rights (NCR) land ownership certificates and chief certificates to Dayak Tuai Rumahs who are still largely elected by their constituents.
“We all know, it’s not just the common people who want NCR land legal certificates. Even if not all, many Tuai Rumahs and Dayak chiefs still sit in squatter-level longhouses to this day, even though they were built on the land of their ancestors.
“This is what should be the main focus of the vision and efforts of YB Garawat and all Dayak representatives in the DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly) now.
“This is the most important original custom of the Dayak people, to maintain the property rights of their ancestors. To nullify their rights over the site of their longhouses, fields, and NCR is thus and truly a great insult to Dayaks’ customary rights,” he added.
Joshua also encouraged Gerawat to lead by example in bringing together the Dayak leadership within the Madani Government, where Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is a collaborative partner.
“Personal attacks to become political capital should not happen, but with the intention of being sensationalized to attract the support of the Dayak chiefs.
“The government respects and is confident in the ability of the village heads and Tuai Rumahs to manage the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) allocation but it must be implemented in a transparent manner with a sense of responsibility,” he remarked.
“The Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) account needs to be audited by an outside party to avoid bad assumptions from the common people.
“Abuse of power related to the RTP/Minor Rural Project (MRP) is a prevalent issue that has occurred and has become the subject of numerous stories. Therefore, don’t (wait) until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has to intervene.” — DayakDaily