Saturday, May 25

Nancy denies telling Tuai Rumah to cancel Gawai event

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KUCHING: Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri has dismissed allegations that she had instructed the Tuai Rumah of Sg Buluh, Sadong Jaya to cancel a Gawai Dayak ceremony which Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo was expected to attend as guest of honour.

She said she had no knowledge about the festive event until Sili Bunsi, the Tuai Rumah of Sg Buluh, recently called her about their collective decision to reject it.

As such, she was dismayed at the statements by a former journalist on his Facebook post which alleged that she, in her capacity as the MP for Batang Sadong, had issued a directive to Sili to ‘force cancel the Gawai ceremony to welcome’ the Pakatan Harapan (PH) minister.

“I never said that. I never did it. When he (Sili) called me, there was already a decision made by him. Now, I want to clarify this through the media,” she said at a press conference held at the PBB headquarters here yesterday.

Based on the Facebook post dated May 10, Nancy said the accuser posed “suggestive questions implying that I am interfering in the decision of a Tuai Rumah as a non-Dayak”.

“Why should a non-Dayak tell a Tuai Rumah who should visit his longhouse and who should not visit his longhouse during Gawai Dayak celebrations?” she quoted the post as saying.

She said the accuser was engaging in an effort to defame her and reiterated that she did not do such a thing.

“I would like to put on record that I have never issued any directive or instructions as alleged (by the accuser).”

With her at the conference was Sili, who cleared the air by pointing out that he had called a meeting with the locals in Sg Buluh before arriving at the decision to reject the Gawai Dayak event.

According to him, several special officers to Gobind visited the longhouse recently to inform him about the forthcoming activity.

“When I learned about that minister (Gobind Singh) and others from Peninsular Malaysia were to visit us for Gawai Dayak celebration, I did not reply a yes or a no right away.

“After they left, I gave it a very long thought. And I had a meeting with the locals. When I informed them about the potential visit, we all thought that Sarawakian leaders ought to be invited as well.

“So we thought it through and then all decided to reject the welcoming ceremony. I have no intention of making them (PH) an enemy, but Batang Sadong is a stronghold of PBB and GPS.

“As such, I cancelled the ceremony but this decision is not a directive from our (GPS/PBB) leaders. Our locals do not want leaders from Peninsular Malaysia to politicise our Gawai Dayak celebrations,” explained Sili.

He added that the decision was made for the good of the local community in Sungai Buluh, given that they did not want to see any divisive element.

To a question, Nancy said she had yet to lodge a police report with regard to the allegations made against her.

“We do not want to have any conflict with the people. If I do not clarify, people might think the allegations are true. So here I am, offering clarifications.

“But whether or not to lodge a police report – let me think first. It matters more that GPS leaders did not do it. We have faith in our local leaders,” she added.

Nancy pointed out that local community leaders ‘have their own thinking and are not influenced by us’.

“They are very experienced leaders. They have given it a thorough thought before making that decision. It seems to me that reckless politicking has finally arrived on our shores, and in my constituency of Batang Sadong.

“I call for all parties to, foremost, respect the rule of law, and to cherish the harmonious relationship among various ethnic groups, by being responsible with their words and statements. It is very unbecoming of anyone who would compromise our precious harmony for political gains,” said Nancy.

Among those present were GPS secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and Sadong Jaya assemblyman Aidel Lariwoo.