Several Dayak leaders want to be called ‘Dayak’ instead of ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ in government official forms to replace the words ‘lain-lain’.
They fear Dayaks are being regarded as ‘second class’ bumiputera under that category.
“I strongly oppose the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak ’ as I have strongly opposed the words ‘lain-lain’ as the Dayaks will remain as ‘second class’ Bumiputera,” said lawyer and Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson Baru Bian when commenting on the BN youth resolution.
The BN youth on Saturday had called for the term ‘lain-lain’ to be removed immediately and replaced with the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ or ‘Bumiputera Sabah’ in government forms to classify either the Dayak or Kadazandusun.
Bian (left), who is Sarawak PKR chief, said the Dayaks should be classified according to their ethnicity specifically.
“Why do we have to classify Bumiputera Sarawak? Does the term also include the Malays? If yes, then the problem of second class bumiputera arises,” he said.
He said that unless the government put ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ and specify and leave the space for those to put their race, then that should be alright.
“Otherwise, there will be problems and allegations of ‘first class’ bumiputera and ‘second class’ bumiputera in the future,” he said.
Expressing his concern, the president of the Dayak National Congress (DNC) Mengga Mikui also strongly objected to the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ to classify the Dayaks in place of the term ‘lain-lain’.
He suggested the term should be ‘Dayak’ for natives from Sarawak and Sabah and be followed by their ethnic groups such as ‘Dayak Iban, Dayak Bidayuh, Dayak Kayan, Dayak Kadazandusun, and so on and so forth.
Mikui said that it made no difference between the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ and ‘lain-lain’. In fact the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ is too vague.
Like DNC, the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association said that it is time that the words ‘lain-lain’ should be replaced with the word ‘Dayak’.
“The policy to categorise the Dayaks as ‘lain-lain’ is one of the government policies that have become a stumbling block to Dayaks’ progress,” he said.
The word ‘Dayak’ should be most appropriate to replace ‘lain-lain’, he added.
Commenting on the same issue, a native customary rights(NCR) activist Nicholas Bawin said that he had raised the issue of ‘lain-lain’ at a forum organised by the National Unity Committee some years back.
“I told the forum how we could achieve unity when the Dayaks and Kadazandusuns are termed ‘lain-lain’. It is not in the law,” he said, expressing surprise that the BN youth are in the same wavelength with the opposition.
Bawin, who is the Lubok Antu PKR division chairperson, hoped the term ‘Dayak’ would be accepted by all.