The Sabah Kadazandusun Murut Welfare and Education Association however described "as historic" the appointment of three full ministers from the community.
KUCHING: The much anticipated “stronger” representations by Sarawak’s loyal Dayak community in the new federal cabinet turned out to be a major disappointment.
In fact local Dayak majority parties Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Democratic Party (SPDP) have questioned the rationale behind Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s decision to handover a large chunk of cabinet positions to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
A SPDP insider in a text message even went so far as to ask if Najib had hoped to mask the fact that he had fewer peninsular-based Umno members on his cabinet compared to before.
“Look at the (cabinet) list, PBB/Sabah ‘Malays’ all over place,” read the message.
Sarawak Barisan Nasional pact comprising PBB, PRS, SPDP and Chinese-majority Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) delivered 25 of 31 parliamentary seats to Najib’s push for a new term in office in the 13th general election.
Sabah BN comprising Umno, MCA, Gerakan, LDP, Upko, PBS and PBRS gave federal BN 22 seats.
But yesterday’s announcement of cabinet positions showed he had little regard especially for his Dayak-majority party partners – PRS and SPDP, who fought hard battles and delivered 100%.
Collectively PRS and SPDP delivered to Najib 10 parliamentary seats. Of the 11 Sarawak ministers appointed, seven were from PBB.
Among them were four full ministers – Douglas Uggah Embas, Fadillah Yusof, Rohani Abdul Karim, Nancy Shukri, and three deputies, Dr James Dawos Mamit, Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and Alexander Nanta Linggi.
Said a deeply disappointed PRS president James Masing last night: “Something is wrong somewhere.
“Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu was given four ministers (57%), PRS one minister (33%), SUPP (100%), while SPDP has zero%.
“Where is the fairness?” Salang declines, Entulu reluctant Masing said Najib’s cabinet had not rewarded winners and loyalists as could be seen in PRS’s and SPDP’s allocations.
“Politics normally is not kind to the losers, but (Najib must) reward those who win, ” he added.
He said PRS’s ministerial appointments did not commensurate with the party’s contribution to BN’s win.
PRS, which won all the six seats it contested, had expected to be rewarded with one full minister and two deputy ministers and so did SPDP which delivered all four parlaimentary constituencies.
But instead Najib promoted the PRS’ former rural and regional development deputy minister Joseph Entulu to a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and retained Julau MP Joseph Salang Gandum as the deputy minister of tourism.
But Salang, who had served nine years as a deputy minister, has declined the cabinet post.
According to sources close to Salang, putting him in the tourism ministry would not help empower the rural Dayak community.
Previously Salang was the deputy minister of information and communications and culture, and during his tenure had worked hard to ensure better internet accessibility in rural Sarawak.
Entulu on his part is a “reluctant” minister.
According to Masing, he had to persuade Entulu to accept the position, adding that he had failed in his bid to get Salang to stay.
Said Masing: “The allocations doen’t make sense. Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) won one seat, yet it is given one full minister. I can’t understand the promotion of Richard Riot. The party won one out of seven seats it contested.
“That is 100% accommodation to a party which performed badly in the recently concluded general election. Why?
“While Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) has 100% delivery yet it got zero appointment, ” he said.
‘Historic’ numbers for KDMs
Meanwhile in Sabah, the native KadazanDusunMurut (KDM) community saw a “historic” three full ministers in the federal cabinet.
Sabah saw six full ministers and four deputies on Najib’s team.
The three full ministers from the KDM community were Dr Maximus Ongkili, Joseph Kurup and Ewon Ebin.
Describing the appointments as a “historic honour”, Sabah Kadazandusun Murut Welfare and Education Association (Pekadin) vice-president Simon Molubi said: “It was a deserved recognition.
“Never in the country’s political history has the KDM community been represented by three ministers in the federal cabinet.
“We hope this recognition will propel the participation of the KDM community in the mainstream of national development, including welfare and education in Sabah.”
A total 21 elected representatives were from Sabah and Sarawak in Najib’s new cabinet. This is the first time in the country’s history that a large number of representatives from Borneo were appointed to the cabinet.
In the last cabinet, there were 11 ministers and deputy ministers from Sabah and Sarawak.