Dayaks urged to unite, take part in development

Abang Johari calls on Dayak community to unite, participate in economic and agriculture transformation


Kutong Enggang (front, second left) and his wife Elon Ambuh from Pa’Ek Kutong Homestay in Kampung Pasir Ulu, Biawak, Lundu celebrate Gawai Dayak with welcoming troupe members Winnie Elvira Zainal, Carol Kuan, Maria Wimplinger, Aemessa Nessa Kueh, and Saniarisa Pesile. The management and staff of The Borneo Post and thesundaypost wish all our Dayak readers Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak. We are taking a break today. Your favourite newspaper will be available as usual on Monday. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg calls on the Dayak community to participate actively in Sarawak’s agricultural and economic transformation.

The chief minister who made this call in his Gawai Dayak message yesterday, believed the community could transform traditional subsistence farming to modern farming through the application of new technologies and digital marketing platforms.

He is confident that Dayak farmers could commercialise their farming with the support of good connectivity and marketing strategies.

He pledged that Sarawak government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is resolutely determined to ensure rural areas across Sarawak are well-connected, well-served with facilities and amenities, and have their economic capacity expanded.

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

Abang Johari said this vision could be achieved as Sarawak has more money now from the 5 per cent sales tax imposed on oil and gas products for export, and the funds would be channelled to Sarawakians in the form of infrastructure facilities.

He pointed out the Dayaks are known for being hardworking and persevering in the face of hardship and adversity.

“Being hardworking is the culture of the Dayak, whose traditions revolved around hard work in the production of rice as their staple food. At the end of the padi season, Gawai is celebrated in thanksgiving for a good harvest.

“Times have changed and the traditional subsistence farming can no longer quite fit the modern economic life the Dayaks wish for. Like it or not, traditional farming has to undergo a certain transformation so that agriculture can be turned into commercial ventures in order to upgrade the economic status of the Dayak community as a whole,” he stressed.

Touching on the significance of Gawai Dayak, the GPS chairman said the festival is a celebration that had sought to give identity to the Dayak community in Sarawak since it was first incepted in 1963.

He said the festival has always been an occasion that signifies Dayak unity in their quest for greater progress and advancement.

“I believe Gawai Dayak and Dayak unity have never been intended to segregate the Dayak community from other communities and neither is Gawai Dayak really ever meant to be a show of force to fellow Sarawakians of other races.

“But it is always good for Dayaks to unite among themselves and see how best they can participate in Sarawak’s economic development along with their counterparts from other races. Sarawak belongs to all of us and it is my personal conviction that Sarawak has to be administered and developed involving the participation of all races,” he said.

The Chief Minister said it is all right for Sarawakians to have different political affiliations and various ideas about things.

However, he asserted that Sarawakians must remain united for the greater good of this Land of the Hornbills.

“We are not perfect and neither have all our wants have been fulfilled. In the rural areas where the majority of our Dayak friends live, they still need roads, bridges, clean water, 24-hour electricity, and Internet connection,” he said.

Abang Johari opined that the people should “learn to trust our fellow Sarawakians more than we trust others who come and go”.

“Whatever our shortcomings as a group or otherwise, we as Sarawakians have to work it out among ourselves in one way or another,” he said.

“Let us unite to ensure that together we can provide all these needs to our people and be a developed state by 2030,” he said.

Abang Johari noted that unity has been the pillar of Sarawak’s strength in the last 56 years as part of Malaysia.

“Much has been achieved because of our ability to be a cohesive society but much more needs to be done to put Sarawak on equal footing, if not above the other already developed states.

“I wish all our Dayak friends Selamat Hari Gawai 2019 and have an enjoyable time with families and friends. Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai,” he added.