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On the hunt for professsional Dayaks

 | July 15, 2011

Sarawak DAP is on the lookout for dynamic Dayaks to help the party prepare for the next state polls.

MIRI: Forward-thinking DAP is scouring Sarawak and the peninsula for Dayak professionals who can help the party prepare for future elections.

Piasau assemblyman Ling Sie Kiong said the state DAP was searching for at least 10 Dayak professionals who would sit in a special brain trust or think tank.

Ling said the idea was mooted early last month as a follow-up to a suggestion by party adviser Lim Kit Siang after the April 16 state election.

DAP won 12 out of the 15 seats it contested beating several luminaries from rival Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), which is a Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition partner.

Ling himself had defeated SUPP president and six-term incumbent Dr George Chan.

The victory was one of many which saw the party consolidate its position among the Chinese electorate in the urban areas.

But surprisingly, DAP, which is seen as a mainly Chinese-dominated party, had also won several seats in the Dayak-mixed consituencies.

Reading the fluid political landscape, DAP immediately after the state polls announced its plan to contest in rural seats in the next state election.

But to do so, DAP contended it needs Dayaks of “good standing” to advise the party.

“We are looking for at least 10 Dayaks of good standing to advise DAP Sarawak should Pakatan Rakyat form the government one day… which is not impossible in a democracy,” Ling said.

Hesitant Dayaks

Ling said that all the 12 state elected representatives were on the lookout for likeminded Dayaks.

“We already have our first Iban member here. He is David Balan Kuleh who joined DAP Miri early this month.

“We are searching for more to join us. We will be going to Kuala Lumpur to attend a forum with Dayaks who are working there,” he said, adding that the session in Kuala Lumpur was a follow-up to the party’s meeting with the Dayaks in Johor last month.

He said the Johor programme, which involved two of his Sarawak peers, was “well received and the response was encouraging”.

He, however, said that there was some hesitation among the Dayaks about joining an opposition party.

“We understand their apprehension and predicament. They are fearful of being penalised.

“But we are willing to work out a suitable arrangement for them to provide us with useful feedback,” Ling said.


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