KUCHING, August 9: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) is expressing its disappointment over the sudden U-turn by the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government on the recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
PBDSB president Cobbold John said this was a big deal for Sarawakians as many Sarawak Bumiputeras, especially the Dayaks, are also attending or have attended these Chinese medium schools.
He criticised Minister of Education Dr Maszlee Malik for saying that there was no rush in doing so, and that Chinese private schools would not receive government funding as they were not part of the national education system.
“It seems that Sarawak has been shortchanged again on this issue. It is a big deal for Sarawakians as many Bumiputera, especially Dayak are also going to Chinese schools as well. As an ex-Chung Hua student myself, I too, am sad on behalf of my younger Dayak generations who are undergoing Chinese education.
“Quite a number of our existing PBDSB members are Chinese educated, especially UEC holders from Chinese schools as well,” Cobbold said in a statement this morning.
He said PBDSB concured with Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Central Youth secretary-general Milton Foo’s statement earlier, that this was a concern among the Chinese community, but added that this was also a concern among Sarawakians at large.
“This is where Malaya has truly failed to understand and still does not realise or cannot even comprehend, the secular nature of democracy in Sarawak and its secular mindset.
“It is a common practise and also routine habit for Dayak Sarawakians to send their children for Chinese education ever since, especially when Dayak parents are UEC graduates,” Cobbold explained.
He added: “What Milton Foo said was right; many Bumiputera students are in Chinese schools nowadays, which is a common and habitual factor in Sarawak. That’s the difference between Sarawak and other states in Malaysia; we (Sarawakians) are more secular than any other Malaysian, we are more multiracial, multi-cultural, multi-religious than any other state in Malaysia.
“The importance of knowledge and education enhancement and also its development are important to Sarawakians, especially to Dayaks because as Sarawakians, we are a natural born ‘multi-universal’ all rounder. There are even Sarawakian Chinese who can speak various Dayak dialects. That’s what makes Sarawak unique and special,” said Cobbold.
He said if PH wants to fulfill its manifesto for a new Malaysia, it has to be secular-based with equality in mind. Cobbold stressed that Sarawak would be the best example of how a secular state should be.
That, he claimed, was why it was of utmost importance that the restoration of Sarawak’s autonomous rights spelled in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) needed to be implemented by the new federal government.
Cobbold alleged that PH seemed to be delaying or neglecting to restore MA63 as how it had originally said it would do prior to the last general elections.
“Maybe the reason being is that, there is no rush for it? As how there is no rush for the UEC recognition as said?” he questioned.
Cobbold said Sarawak has autonomous rights to uphold for its people, and his party opined that those from PH Sarawak should start fulfilling their duties as loyal Sarawakian citizens by stopping wasting time to restore Sarawak rights under MA63.
“Stop using criticism from other parties towards their PH manifesto as an excuse of not giving them (PH Sarawak) a chance, but start immediately by restoring Sarawak’s rights to enable Sarawak to finally take charge of what had been duly neglected for nearly 55 years,” he urged. — DayakDaily