The infusion of the cream of Dayak community into DAP at the signing of the DAP Dayak Blueprint ceremony at the Sarawak DAP headquarters in Kuching yesterday marked a major and historic development in DAP’s 50-year mission to be an inclusive all-Malaysian political party representing all ethnic groups and regions in Malaysia.
Right from beginning from our formation half a century ago, DAP founding members and leaders have dedicated themselves to the fulfilment of the Malaysian Dream.
DAP founding leaders and members had pledged to transcend ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic and socio-economic differences among Malaysians to build a Malaysia where democracy, good governance and socio-economic justice could flourish allowing every Malaysian, regardless of race, religion or region to achieve his or her fullest potential for the collective good and greatness of the nation.
This was why from the beginning of the first DAP general election contest in 1969, DAP had fielded a multi-racial slate of candidates for parliamentary and state assembly seats in Peninsular Malaysia, with Chinese, Malay and Indians elected as Members of Parliament or State Assembly representatives in Peninsula Malaysia.
The DAP is also the first Pan-Malaysian political party, with branches and members not only in Peninsular Malaysia also in Sarawak and Sabah.
In the 2013 General Election, the first DAP Kadazan elected representative was elected to the Sabah State Assembly, and it is our hope that the first DAP Dayak elected representative will be elected to the Sarawak State Assembly in the forthcoming Sarawak state general elections expected to held in the first quarter of next year.
The mission of DAP to be an inclusive all-Malaysian political party representing all ethnic groups and regions in Malaysia had not been an easy one – in a political environment where the exclusive message of race and religion seemed so all-enveloping and pervasive.
Our political foes try to undermine and puncture the power of our message of an all-encompassing inclusive Malaysian Dream by demonising the DAP as a political party for one race or even one religion, but like all lies and falsehoods, they cannot stand the test of time.
The accusation the DAP is a purely Chinese or Christian party is a lie, as even in the first general election contested by the DAP 44 years ago in 1969, DAP had more Indian Members of Parliament than MIC in government.
In fact, the DAP was the party which created Malaysian history in having the first Indian State Assembly Speaker in Perak in 2008 and to create the post for the first Indian Deputy Chief Minister in Penang since 2008.
I visited Sarawak after being released from my first Internal Security Act detention in October 1970 where I met former Sarawak SNAP Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan and the then SUPP Chairman, Ong Kee Hui before SUPP became a government party to discuss the political scenario in Malaysia.
On behalf of the dozen Dayak professionals who signed the DAP Dayak Blueprint and joined the DAP yesterday, the renowned native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer, Paul Raja said the Dayals were at one time a “potent political force” in Sarawak as well as national politics, but over the past 50 years, it had become a “spent political force” veering on irrelevance.
These historic wrongs must be corrected.
The Malaysian Dream cannot be fulfilled if there is any ethnic community, including the Dayak community, which is marginalised from the mainstream of national development.
For this reason, the DAP Dayak Blueprint launched by the cream of Dayak community on politics, land reform, Dayak socio-economic, educational and infrastructure development, the promotion of Dayak identity and the full honouring of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 deserves support not only of the Dayak community, but all Malaysians whether in Sarawak or at the national level.
The dozen Dayak personalities who represent the cream of the Dayak community who have joined forces to promote the Malaysian Dream of DAP are: Paul Raja, Philip Tero (Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association founding member), Richard Lias (secretary general of Dayak National Congress), Baba Emperan (businessman), Ali Basah (lawyer), Frankie Bedindang (ex-Walikota of Kapit), Douglas Alau (former university lecturer and former executive secretary of PBDS), David Kalom (former deputy director of a statutory body), Granda Aing (businessman), Robert Tella (former Lt. Commander in the navy), Edward Agong (former teacher) and Gabriel Ajan (former Petronas employee).