KUCHING: Bung Bratak Heritaga Association chairman Datuk Peter Minos has supported the call by Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom for a proper body be set up to coordinate the state and federal level Gawai.
“Gawai is a celebration for everyone and as such, it shouldn’t be used by any political party or politicians to gain political mileage.
“We, Dayaks, celebrate Gawai to honour and respect our Dayak culture and traditions but it seems some other people celebrate Gawai with political motive,” he said.
Minos said he fully agreed with Mawan there must be an authority to determine when Gawai should begin and end each year because it would look good for the Dayaks.
Mawan had proposed the setting up of a proper body to coordinate the state and federal level Gawai when officiating at SDNU Gawai Bazaar 2019 at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre here on Monday.
According to him, the setting up of such a body was necessary so that proper protocol, customs and tradition of Gawai could be observed and also to raise the status of Gawai.
Mawan said currently, Gawai could start very early and end very late because there was no authority to decide on the period of the celebration.
He warned that without proper authority and proper protocol, the festival would be abused and hijacked by certain groups and individuals for their own interest.
Mawan was commenting on the so-called national-level Gawai held in Bintulu last Saturday and attended by the Minister of Multimedia and Communication Gobind Deo.
He pointed out that the event was organised by certain individuals without collaboration from bodies representing the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities.
He said it would have been better if the organiser had consulted the state government and the three bodies representing the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.
According to Mawan, since only a few persons were involved in organising the celebration, it was not properly organised and had created a very different perception about Gawai.
Engkilili state assemblyman Dr Johnical Rayong said he fully supported the statement by Mawan.
Meanwhile, the president of the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik pointed out that Gawai had always been organised by a joint committee at the national level.
He said the joint committee comprised federal and state agencies and officers.
“But now, it seems that it is no longer the norm with every agency hosting its own Gawai,” said Ik Pahon.
He added there was no need to establish a new body to coordinate the state and federal level Gawai as the committee was already there.
A Bidayuh community leader, Temenggong Austin Dimin said there was no need for a body to be set up to organise the state and federal level Gawai.
“If the state or federal government wants to organise a Gawai event in Sarawak, it should liaise and work together with the Dayak Cultural Associations to ensure that the event is organised in accordance with the culture of the communities,” he pointed out.