The failure of Dayak leaders to highlight the Dayak community’s problems in Parliament and in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly has been described as a key reason for the opposition DAP’s bid to form the Dayak Consultative Council (DCC).According to DCC head John Brian, Dayak leaders in Barisan Nasional had proven to be ineffective.He said the ruling BN having been in power for almost 50 years was less responsive to the voices of the people when compared to the DAP.
He described DAP as a more ‘progressive and democratic” party which can see issues from another perspective.
“Although there are Dayak elected representatives in Parliament and the state assembly, the Dayak community still needs DAP to highlight pertinent issues affecting them,” he said when introducing the new DCC members to the press over the weekend.
The council was set up during a recent forum held in Selangor by DAP.
The council is expected to advise the DAP on issues pertaining to the Dayak community as well as to bring all Dayaks working in Peninsular Malaysia together.
Brian said that DCC will soon meet with the locals in major cities and towns with the aim of seeking their views on issues as well as encouraging them to form sub-committees.
“These sub-committees will become the wings of the council. Anyone could be a member of the committee.
“They do not necessarily have to be DAP members,” he said.
He said thus far responses from Dayak community has been good towards the formation of DCC.
Only the Dayak leaders in the BN have refused to comment.
BN-partner Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing, when contacted via text message failed to respond. Likewise his party secretary-general Wilfred Nissom too failed to respond.
Sarawak’s lead-political party Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy information chief Peter Minos, who is known for his harsh criticisms, also failed to respond.
Meanwhile, Jeneri Amir, a senior lecturer in the faculty of social science at University Malaya Sarawak described DAP’s move as “concrete and pragmatic”.
He said it would ensure that DAP wins the hearts and minds of the Dayaks.
“Based on the results of the state election, firstly DAP had reached almost the maximum performance in the Chinese areas.
“In order to have more impact on Sarawak politics, DAP needs to expand its influence in other areas especially the Dayak areas.
“I think one of the best steps taken is to establish this think tank, and DAP fully realises there is quite a big and significant support among the Dayaks in the last election between 30% to 34%.
“This gives DAP some kind of confidence. With proper planning and strategy, DAP can win more Dayaks to support it.
“I believe that with this think-tank which comprises intellectuals and strategists, DAP is very realistic and pragmatic.
“This is the way forward,” Jeneri said.