Serian – Three steps need to be taken before the word ‘Dayak’ as a race has legal force said PBDS Baru Secretary General, Anthony Nais.
He said there is no significant move from the government since three years ago after the Federal Cabinet’s approval to add the term Dayak into the list of recognised races in the country represented step one.
Anthony who was once PBDS Deputy Youth Chief to Tajem’s faction said, the government should table an amendment in Parliament for it to have legal sanction. The third step is for the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to endorse Parliament’s decision. Once that is done, then “Dayak as a race has the force of law.”
He stressed that as it stands now, the word Dayak was just an administrative decision by the Federal Cabinet so that Dayaks do not have to use the term ‘lain-lain’ (others) in government forms.
“There is no paradigm move made by the government of Malaysia, yet our Dayak representatives remain silent”, he said.
“Now, we must give it the force of law. The term ‘lain-lain’ is to accommodate others who refused to be classified as Dayak or they are not members of the Malay, Chinese or Indian race.”
He hoped Parliament would table the amendment soon.
“As for the state, it doesn’t matter who tables it, as long as the job gets done.”
“We do not want of being known as “illegal race” when we called ourselves Dayak. Doesn’t that sound illegal?”, he stressed.
He added that the Federal Constitution’s definition of ‘natives’ also needed to be updated, to be consistent with the Sarawak constitution as the term ‘Land Dayaks’, ‘Sea Dayaks’ and ‘Muruts’ have been updated as ‘Bidayuhs’, ‘Ibans’ and ‘Lun Bawangs’ respectively.
“These are one of the many challenges faced by the Dayaks. The question is, are they afraid or being trained to be afraid to voice out?”, said him.
The Dayaks slow and lukewarm response to any issues that affected their community, in general, are partly the reasons why the Dayaks are still lagging behind in many aspects.
“We shall carry our own weight and not to let others paddling for us. Be a general instead of foot soldiers”, he stressed clearly.
Meanwhile, he expressed his regret over the recent announcement made by the Chief Minister Office on the amendment of Syariah Court Ordinance (2001) to reach administrative solution for apostasy cases.
“I’m suprised when the CM suddenly make a “u-turn”, while, wide media coverage over the news been made. Which one should the Rakyat rely on?”, he said.