Tuesday, 3 September 2013

PBDS Baru to champion Dayak interests — Pro tem chief

KUCHING: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Baru will be more relevant to the natives as there is a lack of “real and effective” representation for them in the state.

Saying this, PBDS Baru pro tem chairman Louis Jarau added his newly-registered party intended to home in on economic and rural development issues affecting the Dayaks. He opined that the Dayak community was experiencing social and economic burdens due to massive rural-urban migration, and there was no real help coming.

Louis said in a statement yesterday that they had been left behind in many sectors, and are considered one of the poorest communities in the country today. They top in terms of rate of malnutrition among school children and school dropouts.

The Dayaks are also lagging in terms of the “knowledge economy”, and only a small percentage of them are in the corporate world and small and medium scale industries.

“We are not interested in any blame game. We must take this new opportunity afforded by the re-registration of PBDS to really connect with our people and represent them instead of merely executing undertakings in their name, which later turn out to be of dubious value to our people.”

Louis, who is a practising lawyer in Sibu, said those who had attempted to represent the Dayaks had been ineffective at times.

“Indeed, it has been alleged that many measures have been perceived to be for the benefit of a few. Their activities have created a class system, whereby there is a very small class of the favoured rich and then there is the rest of our society.

“The gap between the rich and the poor must be reduced in a substantial way. If given the chance PBDS Baru intends to work hard and effectively in the country’s poverty eradication programme.”

Louis said PBDS Baru is a genuine and legitimate representative for the Dayak people, despite the scepticism of some quarters over the years.

“We maintained our silence because there was nothing we could do. Now that we are legitimately re-registered, it is only natural for us to want to get back what is rightfully ours, and that means our political place.”

On whether PBDS Baru would join the Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat, Louis said the party was expected to lean towards the BN as PBDS was part and parcel of the BN at the federal and state levels before its deregistration.

However, he said democratic principles dictate that the party consult and listen to its members on matters of future directions.

PBDS Baru’ political position, he stressed, is one of moderation. It is a mass-based organisation as opposed to being an elitist. The party believes in working together with its political allies.

“In this multiracial country and state, let it be said again that no one racial or ethnic group can exist in isolation to govern. Ethnic groups must be given a chance to participate and there must be plenty of give and take.

“I believe we can put our position on the governing table, so to speak, and explain them well and fully. What we need is the chance or opportunity to be present at the table.” - theborneopost

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