KUCHING: Specific financial provisions should be given to the Dayak community in Budget 2023 to elevate their socioeconomic and educational participation, says the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Its secretary-general Libat Langub said this would help ensure that the Dayaks enjoyed a similar economic status with other communities in the nation while reducing the economic gap between various communities.
"In this way, the special rights and status accorded to the natives of Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution will be realised," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 4).
The DCCI also called for funds to assist Sarawak's native communities to participate in the agro-forestry business as many of them lived within or near forested areas.
"They can also participate in community replanting and reforestation efforts, especially on native customary land and native territorial domains, and engage in carbon trading," Libat said.
In addition, he said financial packages were needed to assist rural farmers and natives operating small-scale businesses such as homestay operations, ecotourism, cottage industries and livestock rearing.
He said their income had been badly affected over the last couple of years because of Covid-19, high living costs and the increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR).
"We hope the budget will aggressively address issues relating to the high cost of living and loss of income among rural dwellers," he said.
Libat also called for specific allocations for DCCI and other bumiputra chambers of commerce in Sarawak and Sabah to conduct capacity building programmes, which would eventually create talent for businesses and industries in both states.
He said this would enable chambers such as DCCI to do much more in upskilling and reskilling the talents in Sarawak to be locally and globally competent.
"It is our hope that the Federal Government will view these chambers favourably as we can be a catalyst for the nation’s economic growth," he added.