If DAP succeeds in forming Sarawak State Government in next general election in 2021, the first DAP Chief Minister of Sarawak is unlikely be a Chinese but most likely be a Dayak

Sarawakians and Malaysians must be shocked to read about the speech by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang at a ceramah in Kuching that only a Muslim bumiputera can be Chief Minister of Sarawak and not a Chinese or a non-Muslim bumiputera.

It is very sad and shocking to see PAS advocating such narrow and divisive politics, when everyone should be promoting unity, harmony and togetherness in our multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society.

For promoting such a narrow, negative and divisive stand, all the 11 PAS candidates in the 11th Sarawak state general election deserve to lose their deposits on May 7 Polling Day.

Sarawak and Malaysia should be going forward to weld a greater unity out of the rich and diverse ethnic groups, languages, religions and cultures in our midst instead of segregating the diverse ethnic groups, languages, religions and cultures into their separate silos which is not to promote greater national unity but engender greater distrust, division and disunity in our plural society.

I met the first Sarawak Chief Minister, Stephen Kalong Ningkan half a century ago when DAP was established in 1966, and after Stephen was toppled as Sarawak Chief Minister, he was succeeded by another Iban, Tawi Sli.

Sabah had also a history of Chief Ministers who is not a Muslim bumiputera, with personalities like Peter Lo, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Yong Teck Lee, Chong Kah Kiat and Bernard Dompok.

It is sad that instead of going forwards to promote greater unity, there is a political party which is advocating that the country should go backwards to erect artificial walls to divide the people in Sarawak and Malaysia.

I have said that if the DAP succeeds in its two-pronged objective in the 11th Sarawak State General Election on May 7 – to defend the 12 State Assembly seats won five years ago and to make a breakthrough by electing a bigger group of Chinese, Dayak and even Malay Sarawak State Assemblymen and women – then DAP Sarawak is ready to emulate Penang DAP to try to wrest Sarawak State power from Sarawak Barisan Nasional in the next state general election in 2021 to form a DAP or DAP-based Sarawak State Government.

I dare say that if DAP succeeds in forming Sarawak State Government in next general election in 2021, the first DAP Chief Minister of Sarawak is unlikely be a Chinese but most likely be a Dayak.

Is PAS opposed to the resetting and restructuring of Sarawak politics by ending the six-decade rule of Sarawak Barisan Nasional by the next state general election in 2021, so that a new state government could be formed in 2021?

The past two weeks had been a very educational, informative and even inspiring experience to me, for I had visited some 15 Dayak constituencies, many of which I had never visited before.

The two-week election campaign had taken me to Bario and Marudi in Mulu, Bau in Tasik Biru, Mambong, Bukit Semuja, Keduk, Simanggang, Pakan, Bukit Goram, Pelagus, Katibas, Ngemah, Samalaju, Kemena and Murum, allowed me to learn about the hospitality and rich and variegated cultures of the Ibans, the Kelabit high-achievers, the Bidayuh in Bau with a history spanning close to two centuries, the colourful Kenyah and Penan communities.

But they all suffer from one blight – developmental neglect for the past 53 years and in the case of the Kenyah community in Murum, suffering 18 years of injustice after being forcibly “resettled” from their traditional lands, rivers and forests because of the construction of the multi-billion ringgit Bakun Dam.

How can Malaysia claim to be a fully developed nation in four years’ time in 2020 when the majority of the Dayak communities all over Sarawak are denied the basic infrastructure facilities of piped water, electricity, roads and basic human needs of education, health and employment?

Fifty-three years is not a short period which involves some three generations – which should have given the Barisan Nasional and its predecessor coalition ample time to resolve the most basic infrastructure and human needs of the Dayak people in Sarawak.

This development failure of the Barisan Nasional for some sixty years by the next 12th Sarawak state general election will be the strongest reason why there should be a change of a Sarawak State Government.

Let the year 2021 be the challenge, inspiration and milestone for all Sarawakians, in particular the Dayak community, for the next five years to start the most important journey to resolve their basic infrastructure and human needs by electing a new Sarawak State Government which will give top priority to move the Dayak community into the modern development era consistent with the protection of their traditional cultures and ways of life.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah