KUCHING: Anything that brings benefits to do the Dayaks from Sabah, Sarawak or Kalimantan is always welcomed.
Political analyst Datuk Peter Minos said this in response to Dayaks setting up a United Nations (UN) permanent representation office called Dayak Nation Institute in Harlem, New York.
“I did meet those Sabahan and Indonesian Dayaks on the new office, and wish them luck. And anything that can help the Dayaks is always good,” he told New Sarawak Tribune, yesterday.
He said any local or international organisation that positively promotes the social and economic interest of the Dayaks is welcome, because considering Dayaks, the truly indigenous peoples of Borneo, are still far behind educationally and economically.
Minos, who is also the chairman of Bung Bratak Heritage Association, said that unless the organisation intends to exploit the rural Dayaks for dubious and dishonest reasons, then it is not acceptable.
“For good, open and advantageous purposes, like the promotion and perpetuation of Dayak languages, cultural and social work, why not. It is most welcomed and much appreciated.
“If, for instance, the people come and help us in the up keeping and maintenance of our historical-ecotourism Bung Bratak Heritage Centre in Bau, we encourage that,” he stressed.
He therefore hoped that with the establishment of the Dayak Nation Institute, it will conduct all positive things for the Dayaks of Borneo and put the Dayaks on the pedestal and on the world map.
Yesterday, Dayak Nation Institute representative Andrew Atama Ambrose told news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that the issues they will work with UN are on indigenous languages, and also on land rights.
He also said the Dayaks from Borneo can decide how they wanted to organise themselves as a people.
“During a special congress which will be in Keningau next month, they can decide to call themselves as an association of people, an NGO (non-governmental organisation), or as a governing nation, and this will be discussed by 250 delegates from all over Borneo.
“After a decision is made, the report will be brought to the UN to be tabled for international recognition.”