KANOWIT: Dayaks must close ranks and share common responsibilities in order to prosper like other communities.
Assistant Land Development Minister Datuk Gramong Juna said the Dayaks were still weak economically, which was why the majority of them was still categorised as among the ‘Bottom 40’ (B4) in terms of income.
The group comprises an estimated 11.7 million, or 40 per cent, of Malaysians who have monthly household income below RM3,050.
“Dayaks must share common responsibilities to improve their livelihood. Do not blame anybody if their lives remained unchanged.
“Under the 11MP (11th Malaysia Plan), the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) emphasises the importance of education as well as technical and vocational training to produce skilled labour force, because those with technical skills can earn good income.
“For us to progress, our youths must know how to identify opportunities and follow the policies of the government,” Gramong said when officiating at a pre-Gawai Dayak celebration at Kanowit District’s Office hall here recently.
Gramong said he had been asking the Dayaks for years on how they had fared, in terms of the progress that the government had wanted for them.
“Where do we stand now in term of our economy?”
Gramong also made a fresh call to the Dayaks to not waste time fighting among themselves over petty matters.
The highlight of the event – jointly organised by Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) Kanowit and Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) Kanowit – was the ‘Kumang Gawai’ pageant which crowned Sophia Thomas Kasau, 26, as the winner.
She walked away with RM800 and a tiara.
First runner-up Angelina Betrice Harry, 21, received RM700 while Catherine Unti Sipok, 24, bagged RM600 as second runner-up.
Gramong was accompanied by his wife Datuk Catherine Gramong at the event, which also hosted Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang and his wife Datin Rowenna Ping Bungan, Ngemah assemblyman Alexander Vincent and his wife Susan Clement, political secretary to chief minister Maurice Giri, Kanowit District Officer Katis Noel Nyabong and event organising chairman Jabang Juntan.