The December 4th gathering of almost a thousand concerned Dayaks under the auspices of Sarawak Dayak National Union is the first of its kind as political affiliation became a non criterion for the invitation. Dayaks from all works of life across the Board of the political spectrum. It is indeed an evening to remember and cherish. It is an example for NGOS, especially all Association which claim to represent a specific race or group to follow – let your event be representative of your race or just make an “official Branch of the ruling Party”. Politics should be thrown out of the window if the Association is really going to work for their respective races as SDNU did.
It is about time that all Associations follow the footsteps of the Melanau Association where every Melanau is welcomed to contribute and even to be elected to the Committee even if he is on the opposing camp. This was what was told to me by a senior corporate Melanau leader after the Ming Court event when pressure was applied to isolate the TUN Rahman faction. True enough that now Tun Rahman is back to support the “fledging” Taib with Nora, his daugther as the new Member Of Parliament. The Melanau is the only community in Sarawak which has reached that level of political maturity.
So it was a big step taken by the present SDNU committee to build alliance amongst the Dayaks without fear or favor. They should be encouraged to continue to become a forum for all the Dayaks where they can at least to sit down to eat together and exchange ideas as to how they can move forward socially, economically and if possible politically. We need to show the world and also all Malaysians that we can work together to help Malaysia. SDNU must now continue to become the catalyst for the Dayaks to work together irrespective of faiths, political beliefs or regional background. The borders which have divided us leading to the present exploitation of Dayak’s resources and land have to be dismantled.
The present Dayak status as “others” in Malaysia despite that they are also the natives in Malaysia is but the doings and mistakes committed by their past political leaders. Being categorized as “Others”, the Indians which ranked number three in Malaysia has better quotas for scholarships and places in the Universities for entries to certain degrees specially Medical degrees. All these are known to all Dayaks, the discriminations and exploitations, so I don’t have to give further details, but the remedies to these problems should be discussed and acted upon. Only the Dayaks will be able to resolve these problems as these are self-inflicted by the continued political divisions and continued slavery to money politics by the majority of the Dayak voters and Dayak political leaders and their followers.
If CHANGE is what we need, then the need for urgent and wise change amongst the Dayaks must be look into. It has to start with the Dayaks, themselves. Time to fear in their hearts must go. Time for bravery must be replaced by wisdom. Time to think with their head must take precedence over “bottle talk” and breast beating of “we, the majority” talk. They need the support of all Sarawakians for a CHANGE FOR THE BETTER FUTURE, just like the others also need their continued support and help for continued peace and progress to achieve Vision 2020. It will not be easy nor wanted by those who currently benefit from the present system, but it is indeed our common will and mission, then we will be half way there already.
SDNU leaders must remember the advice of the Governor of Kalimantan Tengah who told us that alone we cannot succeed. It is the people who are prepared to support and follow the leader make the leadership possible. We have many Dayaks who look himself in the mirror and decide that he is the BETTER LEADER and the others are not good enough for every conceivable reasons without asking “Am I ready to lead through Hell and snow without fear or favor?”. No Dayaks who cannot say “YES” to that question should lead any organisation trying to resolve any problem faced by their members under our present system of Government and administration. Whenever a leader cannot carry the present burden, then he/she must give in to the next in line to do so.
Leadership by oppression, force and enticement must give way to leadership of principle, transparency and performance. All Dayak leaders must remember that as leaders we will be treated like the Bidayuh Undertaker, the “PININUH”. However while we kindly accept the role we must play our role differently which is while PININUH buries all the dead, we, as leaders, should not do so. We should, where possible, resuscitate “the dead” and make them live again. We have nothing to lose as GOD will find a way to repay us and he can even punish them if they in turn do bad things to those who have helped them. This is a lesson which I have learned from my father. It has worked for him and is working for me now.
In politics, we must also be patient although it is said that, “Time waits for no man.” However for good things to come, it will take time. Never rush for the desired result may come. For example, if you were to shake or climb a durian tree when the fruits are not ripe, then all what you will get will be unripe durian fruits! Take them but do not complain. It will take time to regroup and rebuild. It will take time to have voters who can understand what politics mean to their future. The majority of our Dayak voters were committed for change in 1974 and 1987 but many have been betrayed and enticed by the very leaders they have believed in. Now they are at times of confusions.
Even Bidayuh nationalism was strong at one time but BN tactics have misled them to worship BN now. Through DBNA, it was aroused but now through the same organization we are being “shackled”. Only with a more mature and knowledgeable population they can be “unshackled”, but it may take time before they appreciate my sacrifices. In their desperations, many are now looking up to Anwar and PKR to become their Saviour. How many time will tell but DBNA turn down the offer to host the MADN visitors on the 6th December last minute according to the Organizing Committee. So it was Datuk Daniel Tajem who came to the fore to receive them at his own residence.