Sunday, October 17

Serian now a division


Chief Minister announces elevation of its new status, making it the 12th division in Sarawak

Performers from DBNA Serian re-enacting a farming scene, as they march into Serian Mini Stadium. — Photo by Jeffrey Mostapa

SERIAN: People here could not be more jubilant upon knowing that the status of their district has been elevated into a division – the latest addition to the existing 11 across the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced the good news during the kick-off of Pesta Birumuh 2015 at the mini stadium here yesterday.

The state leader surprised many with his opening remark, saying: “The date, April 11, 2015   is a historic day for Serian, because it will become a division.

“I declare that from this day onwards, the Serian and Tebedu districts together with Siburan sub-district, will constitute the Serian Division.

“OK, your wish is granted.”

Adenan’s words were immediately followed by a rapturous applause – running up to five minutes – from the audience, the majority of whom had been eagerly anticipating the announcement.

Many have speculated over the past several weeks, that this year’s Pesta Birumuh would be the venue for the chief minister to make such long-waited announcement, following intense efforts by local leaders to push for the elevation of Serian into a division.

Sarawak, unlike other states, is divided into divisions which are of higher status than districts. Each division is headed by a resident.

In this respect, Adenan explained that administrative arrangement for the new division – to be carved out from Samarahan and Kuching divisions – would follow soon after this.

He added Serian would become the first predominantly-Bidayuh division.

“Since the Malays already have Samarahan, the Ibans with Betong and Kapit, the Melanaus with Mukah, the Chinese with Sarikei and Sibu, as well as the Orang Ulus with Miri and Limbang, there also ought to be a Bidayuh division.

“You (Serian people) deserve it. You have come of age; you want to be recognised in having a rightful place in Malaysia and Sarawak. Be proud of being Bidayuhs, who are strong in their culture and traditions.

“People of other ethnic groups share the joy of this historic moment with their brothers and sisters from the Bidayuh community,” he said.

Adenan also said he was so happy and impressed by the overwhelming spirit of the Bidayuhs during yesterday’s Pesta Birumuh; so much so that he announced a RM2 million grant to the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) – an increase from the initial RM1 million allocation – to mark the historic occasion.

The chief minister’s announcement, as delightfully surprising as it was, was earlier hinted by Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot and Infrastructure Development and Communication Dato Sri Michael Manyin.

Manyin, who is also Tebedu assemblyman, said local Bidayuhs had been dreaming for the day that Serian would be elevated into a division.

He also challenged the community to fully utilise the progress and development taking place in their areas to elevate themselves as global players, highlighting Miss Malaysia / World 2014 Dewi Liana Seriestha and 2012 London Olympics bronze medal winner Pandelela Rinong Pamg as fine examples.

Riot, who is also Serian MP, said the new division fully deserved its status given it being the fixed deposit for Barisan Nasional (BN).

He pointed out that as far as Serian parliamentary constituency was concerned, it had never fallen to the Opposition.

“The state election is to be held next year, but I remain confident that the people here would ensure the three state seats under Serian – Tebedu, Kedup and the newly-proposed Bukit Simuja – would be won by BN,” he said.

The function yesterday had full attendance by all the three MPs and six assemblymen from the Bidayuh community.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, state BN secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, Pesta Birumuh founder Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, DBNA president Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and assemblymen from nearby constituencies were also present.