The UNIMAS “missing” Dayak Chair

KUCHING: Parti Bansa DAYAK Sarawak BARU (PBDSB) is questioning long overdue appointment of the position of the Dayak Chair which was created under the Institute of Borneo Studies established on 1st March 1997 at UNIMAS.

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

“Although various aspects of traditional Dayak communities had been investigated with rich results, there are still number of majority aspects faced by contemporary Dayak communities that warrant close examination, among others its culture and lifestyles,” said the statement.

The appointed Dayak chair was expected to engage in various research which contributes to an understanding of the issue of employment creation and income distribution of 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 had contributed funds to the Dayak Chair ever since 1997.

As one of the main fund contributors, the Tun Jugah Foundation had suggested that the former curator of Sarawak Museum, Dr. Peter Kedit to head the Dayak studies.

Due to various reasons, however, the appointment was not materialised.

“That was 10 years ago. But until today, the Dayak Chair has not only been dormant, but had also been deliberately forgotten for no reason and it’s important significance, not being mentioned ever again,” said the statement.

Parti Bansa DAYAK Sarawak BARU (PBDSB) questioned why was such important issue involving the appointment of an important post has been left unattended.

Another question the party brought up was the whereabouts of the funds for the research and studies.

“PBDSB as well as the Dayak communities deserved an answer from the relevant authorities including UNIMAS with regards to this matter.”

“In absence of explanation, do not blame the Dayak communities from making their own conclusions or assumptions,” said the statement.