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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 19: With vast areas of Native Customary Rights (NRC) lands as their assets, the Dayak community has been urged to ‘berjalai’ (journey) into emerging fields in the new economy including carbon storage and trading that will provide economic sustainability and elevate the livelihood of rural communities in particular.
Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg encouraged the Dayak community to harness the potential of their NCR land by carrying out research into fast-growing trees and ways to steward carbon on NCR territories to be in line with international protocols and requisites set forth by carbon trading entities.
With infrastructure readiness, he said the Sarawak government would issue licenses enabling the trade of carbon originating from the NCR lands.
Abang Johari highlighted the indomitable spirit of the Dayak, historically practitioners of shifting agriculture, and their culture of ‘berjalai’ signifying an innate drive to venture beyond their confines in pursuit of novel frontiers.
“The Dayak are hardworking people. They practised the ‘berjalai’ culture, meaning going beyond their territory to explore new things. It is a very important characteristic of the Dayak community.
“In these modern times, you must embrace new technologies and chart into new areas. As such, the Dayak business community have to go beyond the traditional way of doing business.
“You have to transform our friends in rural areas towards a new economy,” he said when officiating at the Panggau Dayak twin towers, which houses the Dayak Culture Foundation (DCF) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee today.
In the new economy based on environmental sustainability and in which Sarawak has the strength, Abang Johari emphasised that rural areas play a pivotal role in propelling Sarawak’s transformation.
He said the rural community can no longer rely solely on projects like roads and drainages that depend on government allocations which are not sustainable.
“What more when all the roads are completed? There must be activities that can be sustainable. If initiatives are based on natural resources, there is the capacity to enhance the value and generate sustainable income streams for the people. You have the resources,” he added.
Sarawak, he contended, holds a competitive edge owing to its abundant water resources, propitious climate for reforestation, and the unique presence of carbon-rich peatlands and mangrove ecosystems.
With the inauguration of the Panggau Dayak twin towers along with other Dayak-based organisations throughout Sarawak, Abang Johari firmly believes that the Dayak community is primed for momentous advancement.
“The DCF and DCCI buildings next to each other symbolise that the Dayak community can advance and develop towards the new era without neglecting their culture.
“What’s important is the unity of the Dayak community and other Bumiputera communities as part of the components to advance Sarawak development,” he added.
Deputy Premier and DCF chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, DCCI president Dato Allan Keripin Nangkai, Panggau Dayak working committee chairman Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah, and Sarawak Cabinet ministers were among the distinguished guests present. — DayakDaily