Gawai is for peace and harmony, says Uggah

Natasha Jee

KUCHING: The Gawai Dayak festival is a time for the Dayak community to rejoice in re-strengthening family ties and contributing to racial harmony.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said it is a time for the people to reaffirm their commitment to move forward in unity for a much better life ahead.

“Like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Christmas, weeks or days before the Gawai, the Dayak diasporas will make the ‘Pulai ke Menoa’ or ‘Balik Kampung’ trip.

Douglas Uggah

“This will enable the young generation to best know and learn their culture and tradition at its very root. It is important for them to appreciate, practise and preserve their cultural identity and heritage,” he said in his Hari Gawai message.

He also said like any other Malaysians, the Dayak community will hold open house to welcome, friend, guests and relatives, a common tradition that should be uphold for goodwill, harmony and unity.

“I am sure the signature dish of the community, the now famous ‘Pansuh’ (chicken and fish cooked in bamboo) will be on the menu, as with the curry, ‘Masak Hitam’, the ‘Kek Lapis’ and more. This is our blessings as Malaysians where we unite even in our food despite our diversity.

“On the ever present “Tuak” or rice wine, my advice is to go slow and easy,” he said.

On another note, he said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is now transforming the agriculture sector.

“Our objective is to be a net exporter of food products by 2030. I would like to call on the Dayak community of the need for them, especially the younger generation, to embrace modern hi-tech agriculture. This is the trend and a new source of wealth.

“My ministry will give you our fullest support in terms of organising the relevant courses and training, the planting materials, starting grants, subsidies, and the link to markets,” he stressed.

He called on farmers to go into crop diversification, which will allow them to have an alternative source of income when prices of traditional commodities like pepper, oil palm and rubber crop.

“The analogy of not putting all your eggs in one basket best amplifies the situation. My ministry is now promoting alternative crops like durian, pineapple, banana, coconut and maize, all of which have great potentials,” he pointed out.

Uggah wishes all Dayaks a very happy Gawai celebration.

“Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai Lantang Senang Nguan Menoa Betuah Belimpah… OOOOO… HA.”

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