Call for specific and special financial allocation for Dayak community

KUCHING: It is hoped that the prime minister will provide under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) specific and special financial allocation for the Dayak community towards enhancing their socioeconomic and educational participation within the Malaysian society, says the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

“In this way, the special rights and status accorded to the natives of Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and under the Federal Constitution will be realised and reclaimed, and the native community could also enjoy similar economic status with the other progressive communities in Malaysia,” said DCCI secretary-general Libat Langub on Tuesday (Sept 28).

He said this would thus reduce the huge economic gap between the Dayak community and other communities.

“Although the development plan under the 12MP per se for Sarawak is commendable, DCCI urges the federal government to factor in the Dayak business community in the overall plan to ensure that capable Dayak companies and entrepreneurs will meaningfully participate and share in the contracts and services to be awarded for the said development.”

He added that this would also help to achieve the socioeconomic intent of the special status of natives under the MA63 and enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

He described the recent tabling of the 12MP in Parliament, with its special focus and priority on enhancing and intensifying socioeconomic development in Sabah and Sarawak towards resolving issues and claims under MA63, as refreshing.

“This will signal bright optimism and assurance of a better prospect for Sarawak under the concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ under the new leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.”

Libat said DCCI was grateful that RM4.09 billion had been allocated to Sarawak for the implementation of projects under the National Digital Network (Jendela) plan which will upgrade broadband coverage, noting that this will surely benefit all especially rural communities who are deprived of such facilities.

He said the expansion of the existing basic infrastructure in Sarawak under the 12MP by building bridges and upgrading 1,400km of rural paved roads, completing the Pan Borneo Highway, and the Road Project from Ba Kelalan Border/Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex to Lawas will be a game changer and good news for those in the hinterlands of these developments.

“The Ba Kelalan/CIQ Complex Road Project will connect neighbouring Kalimantan and eventually the new capital of Indonesia, forging greater trading partnership between the two countries.”

He also applauded the allocation for the upgrading of 10 Native Courts in Sarawak, which will hasten the state’s objective of transforming and elevating the Native Courts to be on par with the Civil Courts and Syariah Courts.

Welcoming the government’s target to survey 397,000 hectares of native customary rights (NCR) lands in Sarawak over the five-year 12MP period, he said this would enable the natives to have some security in their landed assets as they will be documented and will add to their economic value.

“We urge the federal government to set up a monitoring unit in the government to ensure the implementation of the development properly and in accordance with the spirit of MA63.

“Hopefully, with the prime minister’s undertaking to be involved in ensuring that the 12MP is carried out, bureaucratic red tape will hopefully be eliminated or lessened and ‘little Napoleons’ in the government departments prevented from derailing the noble objectives of the 12MP.”