KUCHING: The Dayaks have been told that it is their collective responsibility to prioritise education.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said with education came knowledge, hence a broader horizon, which could help raise the status of the Dayaks both at home and abroad.
“Nowadays we are often forwarned that the future would be full of challenges. The borderless world demands the community to play an active role in the country’s development and one cannot achieve this without education,” he said at the Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) dinner at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre here on Saturday.
He said the Dayaks had remained in the background long enough and it was time the community took its place alongside the other races.
He assured members of the community that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem were committed to assisting them.
“Last time, we envisioned to have one graduate from each longhouse but now we have more than that.
“But we musn’t stop here. We must make sure all our young Dayaks are graduates and are able to stand on their own two feet,” he said.
Jabu said SIDS played a crucial role in the matter because as women, mothers and wives, they had a great influence on the children.
He called on the women to provide learning incentives to encourage the children to further their studies.
He said Dayak men would definitely support SIDS in this effort.
Earlier on he announced that SIDS would receive a total of RM160,000 for the association’s activities.
Sarawak Dayak National Union president Tan Sri William Mawan had granted RM50,000, Jabu (RM30,000), Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah (RM20,000), Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (RM10,000), Land Development Assistant Minister Datuk Gramong Juna (RM10,000), Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Datuk John Sikie Tayai (RM10,000), Youth Development Assistant Minister (Rural) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi (RM10,000), Rural Development Assistant Minister Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (RM10,000) and Welfare Assistant Minister Robert Lawson Chuat (RM10,000).
SIDS chairman Datuk Seri Empiang Jabu also called on the women in SIDS to build the spirit of volunteerism within themselves to be a role model to the community’s young girls.
She said to help others in the community required committment and dedication and it all started from wanting to volunteer.
“As ladies, I would also want to remind the Dayak women to have a sense of pride and respect for themselves. When you respect and treasure yourself, others would too,” she added.
SIDS presently has 120,000 members throughout the state.