PKR Sarawak to fight for recognition of Dayaks as a race
Posted on February 9, 2015, Monday
KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak has pledged to fight for Dayaks to be recognised as a race under the country’s Constitution.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian told reporters on Saturday that it was high time Dayaks were recognised as a race in the country to indicate the indigenous people of Sarawak, rather than group them under the collective term ‘Bumiputera’ or ‘Lain-lain’ in the race section of government forms.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan recently announced that the ‘Lain-lain’ column will be replaced with ‘Bumiputera Iban’, ‘Bumiputera Bidayuh’ or ‘Bumiputera Orang Ulu’, but Baru said PKR Sarawak wanted Dayaks to be recognised as a race.
According to Baru who is from the Lun Bawang community – one of the Dayak sub-ethnics in the state – most Dayaks or people of Dayak origin had began to accept the term ‘Dayak’, and some even identify themselves as Dayaks before giving their sub-ethnicity.
“We have associations such as Sarawak National Dayak Union (SDNU) or Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), for example. I am sure most of you notice that these associations have the word ‘Dayak’ in their names which goes to show that the term ‘Dayak’ does exist here in Sarawak,” he said.
He added that should PKR be made the government of the day, the issue would be addressed for Dayak status as a race to be made legal under the country’s Constitution.
For now, Dayaks are very much a race within the PKR government.
“‘Dayak’ is just a legal term similar to ‘Bumiputera’. It is not found in the Constitution and is legally coined,” he pointed out.
He hopes that all Dayaks fighting for unity will know that PKR is also fighting for the right of Dayaks to be officially recognised in the country.
He was speaking at a press conference held at PKR Stampin Service Centre located at the Old Third Mile Bazaar.
Before the press conference, the state PKR held a State Leadership Council (MPN) meeting at the service centre to elect and fill various posts within the state PKR. Baru was retained as party chairman for Sarawak.