The outcry from Dayak leaders in Sarawak against PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang for his cawat remarks has not abated – now comes another statement from a Pakatan leader which went down just as bad as Hadi’s with Dayak BN leaders.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s suggestion that Sarawak set up a Dayak Endowment Board (DEB) to help the poor and marginalized Dayaks who earn less than RM200 a month was taken very badly by his Dayak BN opponents in Sarawak
The DEB can run along the same line as Partners Against Poverty programme introduced by Pakatan in Penang, said the Penang chief minister who was in Kuching accompanying the Penang Governor to the Rulers Conference.
lim-guan-eng.pngLeading the attack on Lim was Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu who accused him of being “bankrupt of ideas and such an idea cannot be accepted because it comes from someone who does not know Sarawak.”
Jabu said: “When people are bankrupt of ideas, they tend to say things that are unrealistic.”
Cannot compare Sarawak with Penang
SPDP president and State Social Development and Urbanisation Minister William Mawan said Lim’s idea could not be implemented in the state as “it is not realistic to compare Penang, an urban state, to Sarawak with its rural areas.”
“You cannot say the Dayaks here are poor. The lifestyle here is different from Penang. Our rural communities do not transact cash very much. They rely on farming like rubber tapping, and jungle produce as a source of income,” he told reporters.
PRS president and State Land Development Minister James Masing accused Lim of making just a ‘political promise’.
"To me, it does not sound honest. People who are struck by poverty are not only Dayaks, but Chinese, Malays, Indians and others as well. You cannot propose something like this for the Dayaks only as you have also to cover other races.
“Lim is only making a political rhetoric and I don’t believe in him,” said Masing.
Balai Ringin state assemblyman Snowdan Lawan was very blunt when he told Lim not to look down on the Dayak communities, adding that he knew in his own constituency that some households can earn from RM500 to RM10,000 a month.
He advised Lim to handle his own state first and to take care of his own house before taking care of other people’s homes.
“We Dayaks are civilized people who have good jobs and income. Go to the longhouses and see for yourself that the people can afford at least a Kancil car. One needs to earn more than RM200 monthly income to afford it,” he said.
A courageous idea
But there was support for Lim too, albeit from a lone voice.
SNAP president Edwin Dundang thanked the Penang chief minister for what he described as a ‘courageous idea’ and for showing sympathy to the plight of the poor in the state.
He hoped the suggestion could become a reality “when Pakatan Rakyat formed the next government in Sarawak. “
Dayaks comprise about 60 percent of Sarawak’s population and are the majority voters in 28 state constituencies out of the total of 71.
Both Pakatan and BN are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Dayaks who are expected to play a crucial role in the coming state election, due in 2011.
For myself the Dayak not as they think because more of the Dayak now enter university and most of them became professional after graduation. Dayak not like the other people say. To Mr lim Guan Eng, i suggest better you research the Dayak community society before you say anything abaout Dayak. As The New Dayak who still study in University I not agree with your opinion about Dayak. If you still think the same, lets us debate it.