I HAD the privilege of attending the Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) dinner on Saturday.
It was great to enjoy Dayak delicacies in a hotel setting and of course to enjoy the delightful authentic cultural performances that DCF is known for. We were also entertained by the lovely Melissa Francis.
I don’t usually enjoy speeches at dinner events. Honestly I am there for the food and to meet up with friends or family.
At fundraisers I am ashamed to admit at times I do not listen to the speeches.
During this dinner though, I was just as attentive as everyone else in the banquet hall when our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem spoke.
I could see nods of agreement from the people at my table, as well as those around me as Adenan spoke about the various issues which he has addressed since he took office.
He also rightly acknowledged the contributions of the Dayak community to the development of Sarawak and Malaysia.
“The Dayaks of Sarawak too sing the Negaraku, have identity cards like any other Malaysians so there is no reason why Dayaks cannot play a vital role in the country’s development,” he said.
Hence he reiterated the need to get rid of the term ‘lain-lain’ on government forms and rightly identify us according to our respective ethnic groups.
I loved that he said the words ‘lain-lain’ should just be crossed out of forms and replaced with our respective ethnic identities.
Some may not realise the significance of using Iban, Bidayuh or Orang Ulu on forms.
What it means is recognising the existence of the State’s various Dayak communities. It means acknowledging the contributions of the communities. It means respect.
The story from The Borneo Post:
Dayaks as important as other races – Adenan
By Matthew Umpang
KUCHING: Dayaks have a vital role to play in the development of Sarawak and the country, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said.
Speaking during the 23rd anniversary dinner of Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) at the Riverside Majestic here on Saturday, he thus hoped that Dayaks realise the fact that they are as significant as members of other communities in Malaysia.
“The Dayaks of Sarawak too sing the (national anthem) Negaraku, have identity cards like any other Malaysians so there is no reason why Dayaks cannot play a vital role in the country’s development,” he pointed out.
For this reason, he reiterated his call to remove the words ‘lain-lain’ in the race column of official forms and if Dayaks still saw those words in the forms, they should just cancel them and write down their race.
Saying he was behind them in the matter, he hoped the Dayaks would reciprocate by giving him the mandate to pursue his goals for the state.
Adenan added that more development had been planned for the state and he required a strong mandate from the people to continue the push.
“I am now Chief Minister for more than a year, and the most I have for this term is two years. Two years is not enough for me to implement the visions that I have for the people of Sarawak, hence I hope I am given another five years,” he said.
Now aged 71, he said another five years would be sufficient for him as he was contemplating on retiring at the age of 76.
Under Adenan’s stewardship, the state had seen much improvement in the quality of life in the rural areas, abolishment of tolls, tougher law enforcement on land and illegal logging, construction of Pan-Borneo Highway and many more projects.
He is also pushing for the state to have greater autonomy from the federal government to enable smoother and faster decision making.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, who is also DCF chairman, in his speech assured Adenan that he had the full backing of the Dayak community.
He said this was because the chief minister had shown that he sincerely cared for the Dayak community.
In addition, he assured that DCF would continue to work with other races in the country to safeguard peace and harmony.
Meanwhile, Adenan pledged a sum of RM500,000 to DCF for their future activities.
Among others attending the dinner were Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu and several state cabinet ministers and other dignitaries.