KUCHING: Outgoing Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong has worked hard to contribute to Sarawak and its people, and he has certainly made the Bidayuh community proud.
Tasik Biru incumbent Datuk Henry Harry Jinep said this when commenting on the recent announcement by Manyin, who is Tebedu incumbent and veteran Bidayuh leader, that he would not be defending the seat in the coming state election.
“I am very proud that he is one of my political mentors; I have learned a lot from him. He is not stingy with his minor rural project (MRP) funds. He would discreetly contribute, even if I ask for some MRP in my own area. He is very helpful.
“He is neither greedy nor selfish – he is a leader who is very fair and who doesn’t think of himself but rather he thinks of the community as a whole. That is Datuk Amar Michael Manyin,” Harry said in an exclusive interview with New Sarawak Tribune on Thursday (Nov 25).
He said Manyin was very knowledgeable and had vast experience, adding that he had brought significant benefits to the state.
Harry said that throughout Manyin’s career, the veteran leader had made the Bidayuh proud and lifted the community to be respected by other communities in Sarawak and Malaysia.
“It was during his tenure as minister that a Bidayuh became a State Secretary, followed by another Bidayuh becoming a Deputy State Secretary. The first Bidayuh State Secretary was Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot and now Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik is Deputy State Secretary,” he said.
He added that many individuals had been awarded the highest state awards especially among civil servants as Manyin really fought for the Bidayuh to be given due and just recognition similar to others.
He also noted that Manyin had strived to build up the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) and also worked on land documentation efforts through the association.
“Now, the state government recognises land documentation through DBNA as one of the most effective ways to resolve boundary disputes among neighbours,” he said.
“He established the five international private schools for Sarawak, having been very aggressive in pursuing this. Now, the government has started building the schools,” he said, adding that Manyin had also fought for English as a medium of instruction.
He said Manyin had also put in great efforts to turn Serian into a division and Tebedu into a district.
In addition, Harry said that when Manyin was Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications, many Bidayuh areas were well connected with road infrastructure.
“I believe that almost 90 percent of the Bidayuh villages are connected by good road network. He has done a lot for the community,” he said.
“These are just a few important points that people must remember about what he has done, not only for the Bidayuh but also for the state and the nation. We should appreciate and be thankful for his contributions to the society and the Bidayuh people,” Harry said.
He shared that Manyin had actually mentioned his intention to step down two years ago to give way to the younger generation.
“We tried to persuade him to continue, but he said no. He said, ‘I am already over 70 years old, I cannot be greedy – let the young people lead.’ Those were very sincere words from him,” he said.
With Manyin’s departure from the political arena, Harry said he had left a big void to be filled.
“We are going to miss his leadership and hopefully he will continue to be active, even though it may not be in politics. We hope he will continue to give us advice and I believe his knowledge and experience are still valuable to the community,” he said.