Failure to legalise the word “Dayak” is the process of isolation – Anthony Nais

Serian – PBDS Baru Secretary General, Anthony Nais said the failure to legalise the word “Dayak” is part of the process of isolation.

He was reacting to the statement from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun who is of the view that giving the term ‘Dayak’ the force of law is important but not urgent, saying its inclusion in the Malaysian Constitution “does not ensure anything”.

Anthony in his reply said, he wasn’t suprised with Entulu’s reaction as he was a Youth Exco and Publicity Chief under Entulu during the now defunct PBDS era. However, he expressed his upset when Entulu lamented that that should he still remain as Selangau MP after the next parliamentary election, and also if the Barisan Nasional (BN) manages to get a two-thirds majority in Parliament, it is highly possible that he could talk to the Prime Minister on having the Bill tabled in the next term.

“What is he trying to address? Is it, without him in the government, the word Dayak will permanently has no force of law?”, he questioned.

He lamented, We’ve gained independence well over 50 years now. What had been done by the elected dayaks leaders to address the matter all these while. Only when other dayaks leader raised issues that are detrimental to the welfare and existence of the dayaks, makes these leaders come out with comments merely for window dressing.

“I would like to remind Entulu, the Dayaks community are now split into pieces. For the sake of Dayak unity and integration, please do something (to legalise word Dayak), instead of persuing it after the General Election”, he said.

He added, the Dayak lawmakers under Barisan Government had not done their job properly. In fact, the people gave them mandate and elect them as their representatives and as a medium between the peoples and the government of today.

Socially, culturally and traditionally, Dayak is the largest ethnic group in Sarawak, yet are very much marginalsed. The Interpretation Ordinance, 2005 has divided the race “Dayaks” into “Iban or sea Dayaks” and “Bidayuh or land Dayaks”. Therefore, officially there is no such one race as “Dayaks” in Sarawak under the Interpretation Ordinance, 2005.

“The Interpretation Ordinance, 2005 Bill was tabled in the Sarawak DUN on 14th June 2005 and James Masing, Alfred Jabu and the other Dayak leaders were well aware of the passing of the Ordinance and its effect. Why was there no objection from these Dayak leaders then?” he questioned.

Anthony said, Article 161A (6) and (7) of the Federal Constitution written as:

(6) in this Article “native” means –
(a) In relation to Sarawak, a person who is a citizen adn either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the State or if of mixed blood deriving exclusively from those races;

(7) The races to be treated for the purposes of the defination of “native” in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and Kanowits), Lugats, Malays, Melanaos, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.

Hence, Ibans, Lun Bawangs and Bidayuhs are new terminologies and cannot be treated for the purpose of defination of “native”. Thus, the Ibans, Lun Bawangs and Bidayuhs subsequently lose their rights as specified under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

“It means, the Ibans, Lun Bawangs and Bidayuhs, if the amendment of the Interpretation Ordinance is allowed to apply, surely, will lose their rights over Native Customary Rights (NCR) Land and other previliges meant for the natives”, he stressed it in his statement.

“My message to our Dayak leaders in Barisan Nasional, to label the Dayaks as “dan lain-lain” in the race column of government forms has been insulting. To label them as “Bumiputra Iban” or “Bumiputra Bidayuh” or “Bumiputra Orang Ulu” is also not correct as there is no such race known as “Bumiputra”, however, given that the provisions in the Interpretation Ordinance, 2005 do not provide for the race “Dayak”, to label the Dayaks as “Dayak Iban”, “Dayak Bidayuh”, “Dayak Kayan” and so on is also not correct”, he said.

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