Posted by SM Maulana
(Borneo Post) – KUCHING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) has a carrot dangling for Dayak elected representatives in Barisan Nasional (BN) to try to get them to jump ship — the chief minister’s post.
The catch, however, is whoever gets to be chief minister will be for just a while because DAP has proposed a rotation system.
Such a system has failed in Sabah, efforts to try to get Dayak ‘Yang Berhormat’ to comment yesterday drew a blank as none saw it as a credible proposal.
DAP also called on the state BN’s second largest component, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), to consider leaving the BN government.
DAP Sarawak secretary Chong Chieng Jen said BN elected representatives here should take the cue from their Sabah counterparts particularly those in Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) who declared they had lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership.
“The two MPs from SAPP who will move a motion for a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister in the Dewan Rakyat next Monday, they are very brave. I hope Sarawak BN MPs and state assemblymen will show the same courage,” he told reporters here yesterday.
He said DAP was offering three main agenda to BN elected representatives to join them: increased oil royalty from the meagre five per cent to 20 per cent; a rotation system for the chief minister’s post between Dayaks, Malays and Chinese; and total reform of land policy.
“As the biggest opposition party in Sarawak, we call on the BN MPs and state assemblymen to quit BN. This is the golden opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime. Let us together hand in hand fight for the betterment of Sarawakians as a whole.
“I can openly say that in our agenda, a Dayak will be the first under the rotation system to be chief minister. The reason behind is that Dayaks are the largest, and yet because of the BN government policy, they have been marginalised in economic, education and social aspects. It is high time to have a Dayak CM,” he said.
Chong, who is also MP for Bandar Kuching, said he was in full praise of SAPP for their stand although he doubted the motion of no-confidence vote would get the green light in the Dewan Rakyat.
“I assure my voters that I will surely be for the no-confidence vote against our prime minister.
“But I doubt very much that their motion will get to be tabled. I think the Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Datuk Pandikar Amin Mulia) will use all his power and might in the House to stop the motion from being tabled,” he said.
Meanwhile, DAP Sarawak treasurer Voon Lee Shan said the interests and grievances of the Dayak community had not been properly addressed in the present government.
“Dayak leaders are even crying in the State Assembly on the issues of birth certificates and identification papers,” he said.
Voon, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said another matter which needed to be addressed is the definition of natives in the federal constitution.
He pointed out that the terms Sea Dayaks and Land Dayaks, which are included as natives under the Article 161a of the Federal constitution, need to be properly defined because those terms were no longer used in the present days.
He cited a recent case involving a Bidayuh youth who had a business startup loan application for RM5 million rejected because he was not defined as Bumiputera.
“I hope Dayak parliamentarians will present this matter and amend the constitution. Otherwise, we hope that they leave BN and instead join us. Maybe if we have enough seats, we can form a new government with a new identity,” he said.
He also called on leaders of SUPP to take heed of the calls made by members to leave BN after SUPP failed to secure the mayorship of Kuching City South.
When deliberating a six-page statement against SUPP, he said SUPP had no reason to remain as a partner of the BN government because it could not protect its own interests and had little or no bargaining power.
“You (SUPP) should now reconsider your position seriously to leave the BN government and fight your cause from outside the BN like the DAP is now doing,” he said.