Stay united, avoid conflict, Mawan tells Dayaks

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Mawan (fourth left) with special guests John Watson (second left) and Wilfred Vincent (third right) pose with other invited guests and organising committee members.

KUCHING (May 21): Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom urged the civil society organisations (NGOs) to discard conflict, confrontational mindset that segregates them from mainstream society and development.

The non-governmental organisations, he said, should instead be working alongside the government of the day in order to move forward.

“Hence, programmes that bring about unity, harmony and feel good feeling are important to remind people of the need to be united,” said Mawan, the guest of honour at the SDNU Taman Heng Guan’s pre-Gawai Dayak dinner held at Christian Ecumenical Centre here Friday.

“As much as people want to see how we organise things, this gathering is a good platform for us to catch up with one another, while building community support and a sense of belonging,” he said.

“The Iban in particular, with their longhouse communal dwelling concept, ought to be praised for maintaining solidarity and preserving the spirit of togetherness,” he said, while calling for the Dayak community, as a whole, to stay united and to work along with their community leaders and the government of the day.

“Gawai is our tradition and the celebration itself ought to be celebrated in a meaningful way,” said Mawan, who is also the Advisor to the Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development.

At the same event, Mawan presented SDNU Taman Heng Guan, the organiser of the event, with a government grant of RM10,000 and an additional RM5,010, raised through his ‘Golden Voice’ session.

Themed “Begempung Kitai Teguh” (Unity Is Strength), the dinner which was attended by over 600 people, will have other SDNU branches holding similar programmes in the coming weeks.

SDNU Taman Heng Guan branch chairman Peter Moni, meanwhile, in his welcoming speech thanked Mawan for his support and approachable trait.

He also thanked Ohaaa Cafe for their sponsorship of lucky draw prizes worth RM20,000 in total.

SDNU secretary-general Gerard Joseph, event organising chairman Jalin Ganya and special invited guests, Mr Heritage International 2023 John Watson Tamin and Wilfred Vincent Ragam also known as ‘Elvince’ (local Elvis Presley impersonator) were among those attending the event.