Monday, May 20, 2013

Sarawak Dayaks Sidelined

I read with interest Sarawak Dayaks’ unhappiness at being sidelined by Najib Razak when he formed his new cabinet. The two local Dayak majority parties Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Democratic Party (SPDP) have questioned the rationale behind the Prime Minister’s decision to handover a large chunk of cabinet positions to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). Of the eleven Sarawak ministers appointed, seven were from PBB. Among them were four full ministers – Douglas Uggah Embas, Fadillah Yusof, Rohani Abdul Karim, Nancy Shukri, and three deputies, Dr James Dawos Mamit, Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and Alexander Nanta Linggi.

On the other hand, PRS, which won all the six seats it contested, were rewarded with one ministerial position (i.e. Joseph Entulu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) and one Deputy Minister position (i.e. Joseph Salang Gandum as the deputy minister of tourism). SPDP delivered all four parlaimentary constituencies and got zero appointment. Obviously, when you examine the maths, these appointments did not commensurate with the two parties’ contributions to BN’s win. They are taken for granted, as always.

But who cares about the Dayaks, right? I really believe that PBB deserves to be richly rewarded. Under Taib’s leadership, he managed to put all the other Sarawak BN parties under a tight leash. He is not giving anything away unless he has to. The Dayak parties can only expect crumbs if there are any; if not, they will get nothing! They are expected to be totally subservient. In all fairness, they are, however, allowed to whimper and whine but that’s about it because in the end, everybody still ignores you. Kesian lah, the Dayaks!

Even the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) enjoyed a higher standing than the Dayak parties – that explains why when they won only one seat (out of seven they contested), they were given one full ministerial position (i.e. Richard Riot as Human Resources Minister).

BTW, Salang (left), who had served nine years as a deputy minister, declined the cabinet post. I think he is still sulking and if he managed to get over it, he will probably make representation to meet up with Najib and beg.

Neighboring Sabah is more fortunate. The native KadazanDusunMurut community saw a “historic” three full ministers in the federal cabinet. In fact, Sabah has a total of six full ministers and four deputies on Najib’s team. That is why they are not complaining.

Maybe, it is time the Dayaks learn a new trick in order to please Taib so that they can get more than a pat on the head. Or if they have the foresight and courage, they should just ubah!

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