The DAP Sarawak Committee has on 30-3-2014 made the decision that if the DAP forms the State Government, the Party will nominate a Dayak to be the Chief Minister of Sarawak. This is the promise and assurance that the DAP gives to the Dayak community in Sarawak.
At the time when Sarawak formed Malaysia with the Malaya States, Sabah and Singapore, there was an understanding that the posts of Governor and Chief Minister were to be held by one Malay and one Dayak, ie. if the Governor is a Malay, then the Chief Minister shall be a Dayak, or vice versa. This understanding was honoured in the appointment of the first two Chief Minsters of the State, but was thereafter not followed.
After one or two generation, to the wishes of the ruling BN parties, many has forgotten about this understanding of our fore-fathers.
Thus it is only right that we restore the social contract and understanding of the founding fore-fathers of our State.
Dayakhas been and is still the most populous community in Sarawak, it is only right that the Chief Minister should come from a Dayak. This is the same logic that the Prime Minister of Malaysia should be a Malay. Until such time when politics in our country transcends racial divides, the same argument that the Prime Minister should be a Malay applies equally to the argument that the Chief Minister of Sarawak should be a Dayak.
At present, after 50 years of Independence, though Dayaks are also categorised as “Bumiputra”, they have the highest number of poverty in Sarawak and are most backward social-economically and in education.
According to the official figures given in Parliament, as at September, 2013, there are 55,663 families in Sarawak under the poverty line, the racial breakdown of which are as follows:
(a) Iban - 24,973
(b) Melayu - 12,727
(c) Bidayuh - 4,855
(d) Melanau - 4,038
(e) Penan - 3,045
(f) Lain-lain - 4,499
(g) Cina - 1,526
From these figures, it is clear that more than 65%of the families under poverty line is Dayak (37,372 including Iban, Bidayuh, Penan and lain-lain).
We believe this figure is an under-statement of the actual number of poverty for the Dayaks because who are staying in the inland areas are not included in the statistics.
It is clear that the BarisanNasional Government has all this while neglected the social-economic development of the Dayak and the education of their young. To make matter worse, the BN government uses the law to extinguish the Dayak’s Native Customary Rights over their ancestral land thereby taking their NCR land away from them.
All along, the BN has played the racial card in politics, accusing the DAP as the Chinese party that oppresses the Dayakand intimidating the Dayak that if DAP comes to power, the Chinese will reign supreme.
Our promise and assurance that the DAP will nominate a Dayak Chief Minister if we come to power is to dispel such baseless and vicious lies of the BN.
The leadership of Sarawak DAP is not interested in position, all we want is to put right the social and economic injustice and inequality that have been created and perpetrated by the BarisanNasionalgovernment in Sarawak.
Chong Chieng Jen
Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching
ADUN for Kota Sentosa
Chairman of DAP Sarawak