PRS Youth urges UNIMAS to explain

KUCHING: The Youth wing of Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is urging Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) to explain the long overdue appointment of the Dayak Chair of the Institute of Borneo Studies established in 1997 under the university.

Youth Information Chief Andy Lawrence said in a statement today that UNIMAS must explain to the public with regards to the ‘missing’ Dayak Chair issue.

“If it is true, then explanation must be given before the issue is further exploited by certain quarters,” he said.

If the authorities concerned continued to keep mum, there may be accusations or assumptions that the funds have been channeled to the Nusantara Chair or Sino-Borneo Chair under the Institute of Borneo Studies, he pointed out.

“I do not think UNIMAS as a public university would want to be accused of discriminating the Dayak by denying them their role in this research arm if it is indeed true that the appointment of the Dayak Chair has been overdue for as long as 10 years.

“UNIMAS must do something immediately and the post must be filled by a Dayak scholar as soon as possible,” he said.

Andy was responding to Parti Bansa DAYAK Sarawak BARU (PBDSB) who questioned the long overdue appointment of the position of the Dayak Chair.

According to the party’s press release yesterday, the position was to initiate and undertake research and studies which specifically involved the development of the Dayaks from Sarawak and Borneo.

The appointed Dayak chair was expected to engage in various research which contribute to an understanding of the issue of employment creation and income distribution among the Dayak communities; issues pertaining to the role and identity of the Dayak peoples as they enter the 21st century; the relations between various Dayak communities with coastal and urban groups, and new settlers from other regions and also other issues of particular relevance that change from time to time.

The state government, the Tun Jugah Foundation and the Dayak Cultural Foundation have contributed funds to the Dayak Chair since 1997.

Due to various reasons, however, the appointment did not materialise.