Among the Dayak communities in Sarawak, the Bidayuhs are believed to be the most affluent and educated.
This is probably because they live within close proximity to the urban centres and have access to education early.
The Bidayuh are the second largest ethnic group after the Iban, numbering around 200,000. They live within the Bau, Lundu, Padawan and Serian areas. The Bidayuh people can also be found in West Kalimantan.
In the Barisan Nasional (BN) political set-up, the Bidayuhs are well represented in the current state cabinet. They have a full minister in Michael Manyin and several assistant ministers, Jerip Susil being one of them.
In the last federal BN cabinet, Serian MP Richard Riot was a full minister with another two deputy ministers from the Bidayuh community.
It was therefore not surprising to hear a prominent Bidayuh community leader requesting the Pakatan Harapan leadership to appoint a Bidayuh MP into the new Cabinet.
“The Bidayuh community will be honoured if one of its two MPs representing Pakatan Harapan is appointed into the new federal cabinet”, Temenggong Austin Dimin for the Bidayuh community in Kuching Division said.
“We need at least one of them in the cabinet to represent the voice of the Bidayuh community”, he told a local daily.
The two Bidayuhs who won in the May 9 polls are Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin and Mas Gading MP Mordi Bimol. Monyin is from PKR while Mordi stood on the DAP ticket. Their victories were unexpected but they are now the voices of the Bidayuh in the PH government.
“In the previous Cabinet, we had one full minister and two deputy ministers from the Bidayuh community. It is our hope that at least one of the two new MPs we have now will be in the new Cabinet.
“The two MPs from Puncak Borneo and Mas Gading are both young and highly-educated. They deserve to be considered since Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that the 25-member Cabinet would include young people and with representation from Sabah and Sarawak,” Austin added.
Meanwhile, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen and state PKR leader Baru Bian are expected to be appointed ministers in the Mahathir administration.
The new prime minister met them in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
As for the Bidayuh community, they should be contented if one of their MPs is appointed a deputy minister. This is because Mahathir has planned to downsize his Cabinet.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.