By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 29: As a doctorate degree holder, Sarawak Suhakam Commissioner Dr Madeline Berma must come out with statements that denote professionalism and are devoid of generalisations like those made by lay persons in local kopitiam or Mamak stalls.
This is the view of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Vice President Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who demands Madeline substantiate her claims by providing details on “who are the stateless indigenous people of Sarawak who are most affected by Movement Control Order” (MCO).
“What is she trying to say? She generalises. Who are these stateless indigenous people? Where are they?
“It seems to me that she talks like those gossiping in kopitiam, making some general statements. I don’t expect a professional to come up with such general statements. I expect her to be a professional, making statements that are substantiated by facts and figures,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily.
On May 26, Madeline told DayakDaily that the stateless indigenous people are those most affected during MCO and the reason for the hardship was that some of them, due to their status, have been excluded from relief assistance.
She said this issue was among the topics discussed during the recent Suhakam Sarawak virtual dialogue which was held on April 24, 2020, attended by NGOs, community leaders, academicians and representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).
Abdul Karim said such kind of statements not only lead to confusion but were also unfair to the Sarawak government especially Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah who has been reaching out to those in need of assistance during MCO.
“I am confused myself, not to mention others. Datuk Seri Fatimah is trying her utmost to reach out to all. It would not be fair to just simply criticise when there is no specific who and where these so called ‘stateless indigenous people’ are.
“Dr Madeline who is well educated should be professional in her approach. She should not try to shoot in the dark. We cannot accept this,” said Abdul Karim.
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister thus urged Madeline to come up with the list of who and where these ‘stateless indigenous people’ are so that the Sarawak government may intervene straightaway.
“The Sarawak government takes this seriously. We are all ready to help anyone, including foreign workers and foreigners trapped in Sarawak, there is no reason for us not to help ‘stateless indigenous people’ if they come to our knowledge.
“Once Madeline comes out with the list, we will instantly send any food aid required. But she has to come out with the list first and we are waiting for it,” said Abdul Karim who is also Asajaya assemblyman.—DayakDaily