By Charles Janum
KUCHING: Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) is committed to helping the Dayak community, regardless of their political stands.
Speaking at the SDNU Installation Dinner at the Christian Ecumenical and Worship Centre here on Saturday, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas said SDNU would be a fortress protecting the rights of the Dayak community.
“SDNU will not be political-based and politicians will not take control of SDNU,” he said.
Stating that the involvement of politicians in SDNU would only be to help the Dayak, Uggah said their presence would ensure the Dayak were on right track of development.
According to Uggah, SDNU, which is headed by Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom as the President and Member of Parliament for Kapit Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi as his deputy, is one of the best vehicles to highlight and preserve rights of the Dayak in the country.
“If you have any problem, please refer to our Dayak leaders as they know what is best for you.
“We must be united and work together to maintain our wellbeing and our rights to development,” he said, adding that SDNU must have clear objectives to help the Dayak.
Uggah commended Dato Sri Empiang Jabu for her leadership and contributions to the development of the Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS).
He said that by working along with the government, SDNU could be a platform to produce more Dayak entrepreneurs and raise the income of the community.
“Ever since transformation programmes were introduced by our Prime Minister, the average per capita income of Malaysians has increased from USD7,500 last year to USD 9,500 this year,” Uggah pointed out.
He said the Prime Minister’s vision was to increase the per capita income to USD15,000 by 2020 and this would be achievable when the effects of the transformation were at the peak by then.
He said the main reason behind such success was the government’s commitment to improving the living standard of Malaysians, which was equally important for the development of the country.
Uggah pointed out that the federal government had shifted its development focus to Sarawak and Sabah by setting up the Bumiputera Cabinet Committee for the two states.
“To ensure that no one will be left behind in the transformation of the nation, the PM himself will chair the committee and help the Bumiputera to progress regardless of their background and political stand,” he said.
He revealed RM4 billion would be allocated to Sarawak and Sabah for development purposes such as road connectivity, clean water supply, electricity and other amenities.
He also revealed that RM80 million had been allocated for the perimeter survey of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, and RM30 million had been placed with the Native Court.
“These are all for the development of Sarawak because the PM has realised that we need such assistance so that we will not be left behind in development,” added Uggah.
During the dinner, Uggah handed over a Minor Rural Project (MRP) grant of RM20,000 to SDNU.
Also present were Mawan, Nanta, Balal Ringin State Assemblymen Snowdan Lawan,
Assistant Minister of Land Development Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, and Empiang
(Source: Sarawak Tribune, 18 June 2012)