Allocate specific funds for betterment of Dayak community, urges Sarawak business group

KUCHING: Specific financial allocations for Sarawak's Dayak community should be provided under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to elevate their socioeconomic and educational participation in Malaysian society, says the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Its secretary-general Libat Langub (pic) said this would enable Dayaks to enjoy a similar economic status with other communities in Malaysia, thus reducing the economic gap between them.

"In this way, the special rights and status accorded to the natives of Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Federal Constitution will be realised and reclaimed," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 28).

In line with this, DCCI also urged the Federal Government to factor in the Dayak business community in the overall development plan under the 12MP.

"This will ensure that capable Dayak companies and entrepreneurs will meaningfully participate and share in the contracts and services to be awarded for the development," Libat said.

He welcomed the expansion of basic infrastructure in Sarawak under the 12MP, calling it a game changer for those in the hinterlands.

This includes building bridges, upgrading 1,400km of rural paved roads, completing the Pan Borneo Highway and implementing a road project from the Ba'Kelalan customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex to Lawas in northern Sarawak.

"The Ba'Kelalan CIQ complex road project will connect (Sarawak to) neighbouring Kalimantan and eventually the new capital of Indonesia, forging greater trading partnerships between the two countries," Libat said.

He also applauded the proposed upgrading of 10 native courts in Sarawak, which would help elevate the native courts to be on par with the civil and Syariah courts, as well as the government's target of surveying 397,000ha of native customary rights land during the 12MP period.

"This will enable the natives to have some security in their landed assets as they will be documented and will add to their economic value," he said.

DCCI also urged the government to set up a monitoring unit to ensure that the 12MP was implemented properly and in accordance with the spirit of MA63.

"Hopefully, with the Prime Minister's undertaking to be involved in ensuring that the 12MP is carried out, bureaucratic red tape will be eliminated or reduced and 'little Napoleons' in government departments prevented from derailing the noble objectives of the 12MP," Libat said.

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