Is Barisan Nasional’s ‘divide and rule’ policy grating on the local Bidayuh community, who pride themselves of being cohesive? It appears so judging from the warning issued by a former leader of the Dayak Bidayuh Nasional Association (DBNA).
Ex-DBNA vice-chairman Edwin Luak has slammed BN leaders for stoking disunity and using the association as a pitching ground from BN candidates.
“BN political leaders should be aware that DBNA is an association for the Bidayuh community irrespective of their political ideologies, religious beliefs, dialects or which areas they come from.
“The various dialects, the different geographical regions and different religious beliefs of the community have not divided the community.
“They (BN) should therefore practise what they preach. How could you preach unity among the community when you are alienating yourself from those who do not subscribe to your political belief?” he asked.
Luak was responding to a recent call by Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party senior leader Michael Manyin to maintain the BN status quo in the community.
Accusing Manyin of stoking disunity among Bidayuhs in DBNA, Luak said: “DBNA has always been apolitical and it must remain so.
“The Bidayuh community has always been united and it has always been unity in diversity.”
Personal political mileage
He added that even when the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) was in the opposition until 1976, DBNA was strong.
“When Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was having strong influence in the Bidayuh community, DBNA remained an icon of unity for the Bidayuhs.
“The various dialects, the different geographical regions and different religious beliefs of the community have not divided the community,” Luak said.
He criticised Manyin for using the association as a ‘Barisan Nasional political tool’ in order to gain political mileage among the Bidayuh community.
Luak, who is a permanent member of the association, was commenting on a dinner organised by DBNA in Bau last weekend during which BN political leaders including Manyin politicised the gathering for their political mileage.
Among the things that Manyin, who is DBNA adviser and Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications, said was that he wanted ‘status quo’ for the three Bidayuh parliamentary seats of Serian, Mambong and Mas Gading.
In other words, he wanted Richard Riot to defend Serian, James Dawos Mamit to defend Mambong and Tiki Lafe Mas Gading.
“My duty is to make sure these seats remain in BN after the coming election. It is not important who and where the candidates are from.
“What is important is that they are nominated by Barisan Nasional. That is important and that is what all of us should look at while campaigning for the candidates and casting our votes during the D-Day” he said alluding to the fact that Lafe is currently a partyless but BN-friendly MP.
Lafe and four other elected other representatives had quit Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) after a fall-out with its president William Mawan.
Commenting on Manyin’s remarks, Luak, who is chairman of DAP Serian branch said: “DBNA is a cultural and social organisation meant to safeguard the culture, customs and traditions of the Bidayuh community.
“The members used to detest any attempt to inject political ideology into the association.
“Years back it was decided in its general assembly that the president of the association be held by a non-politician.
“Thus Peter Minos who was in PBB had to step aside to give way to James Dawos who was then not in politics.
“When Dawos entered politics, he declined to seek re-election for the presidency in order to give way to the current president Ik Pahon Joyik, a civil servant,” he said.
He said that DBNA since its inception in the 1950s has successfully united the community.
“Of late there have been events organised by DBNA which have been capitalised by BN political leaders for political mileage of the Barisan Nasional. The latest and the most grand one was held at the Bau Civic Centre last Sunday.
“Similar dinners are in the pipeline, one in Siburan and other in Serian. Speeches of BN political leaders at such functions are politically venomous against the opposition.