Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dayak NGOs demand apology over disparaging remarks

Posted on March 30, 2013, Saturday

Anthony Banyan
Anthony Banyan

KUCHING: Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and its women wing Sarakup
Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) have expressed their displeasure over the contents of a controversial video footage insinuating the Dayaks as a community easily manipulated by the business community due to perceived hardcore poverty and low intelligence.

They are demanding a public apology from those who uttered the remarks.

According to a press statement signed by SDNU vice- president Anthony Banyan yesterday, they detested such remark which appeared in the Global Witness’ controversial video ‘Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State’.

“Whether the remark was designed to put a wedge between the Dayak community, particularly the Iban and the ruling government or uttered naturally by the subjects in the video, we still view such remark as demeaning and deplorable.

“We also condemn the remark suggesting that the Dayaks are squatters on state land as it is baseless.”

The Dayaks are civilised people with dignity and respect and therefore they (SDNU/SIDS) request those who uttered the remarks to issue a public apology and own up to their doings in disparaging the image of the Dayak community.

“We call upon all quarters to stand up for the Dayak community and recognise our rights over land as well as be sensitive towards the feelings of the Dayaks.”

However, the NGOs acknowledged that some parts of the rural areas in Sarawak where the Dayak live were still lagging behind in terms of mainstream development and also outside the framework of economic transformation.

In view of this, they hoped the relevant authorities would immediately ensure that the Dayaks are given greater opportunities under the government and economic transformation programmes so that they can improve their livelihood.

The press statement was issued following SDNU supreme council meeting on Wednesday.

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