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Monday, March 31, 2008

NEP - Another Misfortune for Bidayuh II

Dayaks need the NEP, says Moggie
(News Strait Times, 30th March 2008)

KUCHING: The Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the continuation of the New Economic Policy to help the Dayaks effectively participate in business.

Newly-elected president Tan Sri Leo Moggie said the community needed more assistance than others to succeed as businessmen.

"There may be a debate in the peninsula on whether the NEP should continue. But as far as the Dayak community is concerned, they should be given opportunities," he said yesterday after chairing his first annual general meeting -- the chamber's sixth -- here.

The former federal Minister of Energy, Communications and Multimedia said this was the spirit of the new economic policy.

Moggie, who claimed to be a "reluctant president" of the chamber, said the Dayaks were still behind in commerce and business skills as they lacked knowledge in those fields.
"Their networking capacity is very limited. They have a very steep learning curve. They need all the help, support and encouragement they can get."

Moggie took over the presidency from Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah.

"I can see it's going to be a challenging time ahead (for me)," Moggie said.

"Though there are not many Dayaks in business, we are now seeing more younger ones venturing into it.

"With the level of education among these young Dayaks being better than it was 10 to 15 years ago, we believe they can succeed in their ventures if they are given opportunities."

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Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) was formed as to fulfill the requirement from Registrar of Association to fill the bumiputera-owned business registration quota. As like other commerce chambers, DCCI was made to take care of business interest of entrepreneurs according to their races. Malay Chamber of Commerce and Chinese Chamber of Commerce are also organizations that form business according to races.

Every time I listened to ‘Cotton Field’, a song sang by a classic rock group- CCR, it reminded me of the African slaves brought to America to work in the cotton fields there. Their slavery and struggles can be seen through the story ‘Amazing Grace’. My friends used to sing this song when I was working at the construction site. We spent time to sing and play guitar after a day of hard toil, while some of other friends played poker as we were waiting for the night to set itself.

NEP 's Promise for Bidayuh - Walk with laden.

Bidayuh can be found in almost every construction sites. As for the West Malaysia, these construction workers are foreign workers from Bangladesh and Indo-China. In Sarawak, these construction workers are those who have fed-up being a farmer. They find jobs in construction sites as an alternative to pay for their kids’ education. For me, working as a labor is an honor rather than asking for money from someone.

On weekends, I went to Satok Sunday Market to visit my sister who was selling rice and other jungle’s products. At the same time, I met with my co-villagers to exchange stories. These wonderful memories have always been my motivation that Bidayuh need economic attention from their fellow leaders. My sister brought together mosquito net to sleep along the footway with her other friends. The stinky smell from the drain and the chicken dung from the nearby fresh chicken shop were ignored for the sake of her children.

Bidayuh Multi-National Trading under NEP

There was one time at the Sarawak Transport Company bus station at Jalan Gamber, I saw a group of Bidayuh ladies were scattered, leaving their stuffs as they were pursued by the DBKU officers. Their tambuks were confiscated and loaded into the DBKU trucks. These ladies were from Kampung Git and Gunda. It was their fault for selling without permits but they are also poor and had families to be taken care of. I managed to ask an auntie who was selling spring onions about her husband. She told me that her husband is working at the construction site and she had 5 children who were still studying at SMK Penrissen.

It is sad to think of them (Bidayuh) who do not have the opportunity to get subsidy and help for the government under New Economic Policy (NEP). What more for me who worked under the hot sun, mixing cement to pay for my college fee? Where should I whine and complain? This is the New Economic Policy that was agreed and accepted by all Dayak’s leaders.

NEP was never on the Dayaks’ side, and they were overlooked even worst than the non-bumiputera community. DCCI is therefore, a place of cronyism and nepotism for the Dayaks. What are DCCI’s roles in advancing the Dayaks scrupulously in business arena? I agreed with Leo Moggie’s statement when he said that business opportunities and contracts should be given fairly. I do not envy Dato Leonard Linggi and his friends’ wealth at DCCI but business opportunities should be given to small contractors.

Bidayuh leaders should also bargain for more scholarship for hardcore poor students. They are in SMK Padawan, SMK Penissen, SMK Lake, SMK Paku, SMK Tebekang, SMK Serian, SMK Taee, SMK Siburan, SMK Tun Abdul Razak, SMK Semtan and so forth. Their social problems are closely influenced by the economic depression and should be given serious attention. Students in the rural are different from the students in urban area where their parents have fixed income and their social problems ware caused by too much money and entertainment.

Funds to help hardcore poor families should be given to the rural people who work as farmer and are confirmed qualified. This is one of the NEP’s objectives to help the indigenous community. Bidayuh can be categorized as one of the poorest community compared to others. It is their leaders’ responsibility to help the community instead of being tied up with their own business.

NEP is indeed not profiting the Dayak as a whole, but even become a struggle for them because they are not given the same opportunity as other indigenous group. With these evidences, DCCI should reject NEP because it is only relevant for the DCCI and not Dayak as a whole. Equity should be prevailed and cronyism and corruption among the Bidayuh leaders must be condemned for the sake of the Bidayuh’s future.

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