Monday, January 26, 2015

Get it right once and for all, we are Dayaks – no more, no less!

25 Jan 01:00 PM


by Jimmy Adit

SARAWAK FOCUS: Whoever is responsible for creating the terms Bumiputera Iban, Bumiputera Bidayuh and Bumiputera Orang Ulu in place of the ‘Lain-Lain’ in government forms and documents has to be someone out to create a bad joke.
If that someone is not poking fun then it is either that he is not a Dayak, therefore ignorant of the sensitivities involved, or he is a Dayak long disconnected from his origin, and lost in the splendour of the Putrajaya power game.
An informed person, a person of knowledge, a person with enough sense of justice and fair play, and a person willing to consult to arrive at an acceptable decision would immediately know Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu are Dayaks, so they are Dayak Iban, Dayak Bidayuh and Dayak Orang Ulu.
Of course they are Bumiputera, but if the Malays are not stated as Bumiputera Malay in those government forms and documents, why must Bumiputera be attached to the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu?
A right decision would certainly have been made if the relevant people and groups had been consulted.
Indeed, had there been any consultation before the “Bumiputera this, Bumiputera that” decision was made?
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing has been very vocal about issues concerning the Dayaks. He and PRS should have been consulted.
But they were never consulted which was why among those quick to point out the sore point was PRS Youth chief Bit Surang.
While he welcomed the removal of the ‘Lain-Lain’ label, Bit pointed out: “Adopting the original term ‘Dayak’ is confirming the identity of our people and would remove the fear or possible suspicion in their minds that there may be some insidious plans afoot to erase the name of our people from population statistics.
“Look at the Chinese. There are many sub-ethnic groups under Chinese such as Hokkien, Foochow, Hakka, Cantonese and so on but they use Chinese to refer to their race. It’s their identity and this indeed is a uniting factor. Same goes for Dayaks.
“PRS Youth really hopes the government will re-look our people’s concerns and make some adjustments on that.”
Sarawak Dayak Graduates’ Association (SDGA) president Dr Dusit Jaul is another Dayak who has not taken matters blighting the Dayak community resting on his laurels. He and SDGA should also have been consulted.
Another authority on Dayak affairs is the Dayak National Congress (DNC), which enjoys collaborative efforts throughout Borneo Island, speaking up for 1.5 million Dayaks at home and reaching out to a further 1.5 million in Sabah and about 11 million in Indonesia’s Kalimantan.
DNC president Mengga Mikui has this to say: “The right word to use is ‘Dayak’. It should be Dayak Iban, Dayak Bidayuh, Dayak Orang Ulu instead of Bumiputera Iban, Bumiputera Bidayuh, Bumiputera Orang Ulu.

“The Dayak people have always been Bumiputera since the beginning of Malaysia so there is no need to classify us as Bumiputera Dayaks because if this is to be done, how would it be interpreted on the distinctions between Malays and Bumiputera Dayaks? Who would be more of a Bumiputera than the other or a better or higher degree Bumiputera than the other?
“The non-Muslim indigenous people of Sarawak are called Dayaks and so are the indigenous people of Sabah.
“As a Dayak-based organisation representing the Dayaks of Borneo, we want us to remain as ‘Dayak’ and we will pursue this matter until we are given the due recognition as ‘Dayak’.”
In fact, as far back as last November when the BN youth, in its resolution, 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, lawyer and Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson Baru Bian wasted no time in making known his take of the proposal:
“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.
“I strongly oppose the term ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ like I have strongly opposed the words ‘lain-lain’ as the Dayaks will remain as ‘second class’ Bumiputera.”
But of course if a Dayak like Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) deputy president Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie was consulted, the “Bumiputera this and Bumiputera that” would be accepted as a biblical truth.
Nansian and Teras are political “outsiders” seeking to find their way in. These outsiders are trying to make a good impression, therefore are ever-ready to lap up anything the government spews and spins.
The Teras No 2 said:  “Now we have columns for Bumiputera Iban, Bumiputera Bidayuh and Bumiputera Orang Ulu, and they are no longer called ‘lain-lain’, as if they are not part of the Malaysian society.
“We welcome it as this recognises us as people of a certain race within Malaysia who deserve the same rights and status as others in the country.”
Well, talk of one disconnected Dayak!
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