Join us, Sarawak Dayak union urges Bidayuh, Orang Ulu

Sarawak Dayak National Union president William Mawan Ikom says its supreme executive council has added more seats to accommodate new members.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), which is dominated by Ibans, has invited other Dayaks from the Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities to join the organisation.

Its president, William Mawan Ikom, said the SDNU constitution has been amended to add more seats — from 17 to 49 — in its supreme executive council to accommodate members from the other Dayak communities.

“When SDNU was first established 63 years ago, it was an umbrella association for all the Dayak communities but later on, it was dominated by the Ibans.

“This led to the Bidayuh and Orang Ulu forming their own associations — the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) and Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA),” he said at SDNU’s 63rd anniversary dinner here last night.

Mawan said SDNU was apolitical but stressed that it needed to work alongside the government and play an effective role to enhance mainstream development.

He said the union, which has about 25,000 members, needed to open itself to new frontiers and embrace the interests of the young generation, especially in business.

“We have a number of programmes but we need facilities and funding from the government to help us move forward,” he said.

SDNU was registered on May 10, 1956 by a group of Dayak leaders in Kuching, with Edward Jerah as its first president.

A year later, its women’s wing, Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS), was formed, headed by Barbara Mendu Bay.