Dayak Organisations

'Election Fever' Brewing?

Its quite hard to update the blog during this ongoing Dewan Undangan Negeri Session with all the Dewan motions flooding my in tray. What more to say with the upcoming launch of the Sarawak Central Development Corridor in January 2008. To top that up almost everyone I know is talking about the election right now. Though the BERSIH Rally on the 10th November 2007 did not really affect us here it got many to think about the upcoming election. But the tune is more towards 'who's going to be the Barisan Nasional' candidate in Sarawak? Yeap, with BN having a stronghold in this State, the thought of whether BN will lose or not is unheard of (or negligible) especially in the Parliament seats. This is where the fun starts as many political aspirants start their 'unofficial' campaigning. Its always "Why it should be me or why it should not be him/her, I am the better candidate, the Party President whispered my name... ecetra ecetra" tone. Being in this position I have heard too many "whisperings". The fun part is that these ambitious beings seldom get to be the chosen one. Most of the candidates only get to know that they have been selected in the last 48 hours before nomination date. Yeah... elections sometimes bring up the cloak and dagger side of politics.

Dayak Organisations in the Eye of an Observer

Anyway,I have never been good in politics and neither have I ever bothered to write anything about it. But I will write about my observations about a more specific trend of politics which is more relevant and that is Dayak Politickings especially in the Non Governmental Organisations. Much has been said about the political equation in Sarawak. Efforts have been made to enhance Dayak Unity - count the number of Dayak based organisations like Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA), Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and so on. So far these organisations claim to be the platform for the community's welfare and development in most fields. Though we can applause some of their achievements but we also are concerned about their shortcomings. That's food for thought and most who have been through these debates will know what I mean.

Most Dayak Organisations are headed for the Muzium

Sarawak Dayak National Union

One organisation which recently celebrated its 50th Annivesary is the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU). I am comfortable in speaking about SDNU because in a way I grew up with the SDNU Sibu branch during my childhood days. That time my dad was very active in the association and most of the meetings were held in our Sibu Rajang Park home. I would sit there wondering what these group of grown up men were talking about. Back then it was quite boring as there were no computers to fiddle with. So when any events are being organised I would tag along with my dad and see how they implement the programs or events which were discussed in the meetings - be it organising dinners (annual Gawai Dayak celebration) or going to the old Sibu airport to welcome VVIPs etc. And that was about 30 years ago. To date, after moving to Kuching for more than 14 years and associating with the SDNU main body here I had expected some improvements by leaps and bounds at all levels and divisions. Is there? Well - its Yes and a No. Yes because the organisation is still in existence after so many years. Some organisations just died at the time of formation and some even experience the roller coaster syndrome (sometimes you hear them in the news and after that they seem to disappear).

What is to prevent some of the Dayak organisations from ending up as fossils?

Strategic Leadership is lacking amongst the leaders in our existing Dayak Non Governmental Organisations

Come 1 December 2007 SDNU will be holding its Triennial General Assembly (TGA) to appoint new office bearers for the next three years. This process is worth analysing because a lot will be at stake. It is a unique organisation to scrutinise under the microscope because many individuals and parties are interested to control it. Whatever the outcome it will be interesting to note whether SDNU will be a relevant organisation for the next three years after the present office bearers hand over their duties. The word I choose here 'relevant' can be interpreted in many ways but the one I am referring to is 'Will SDNU be able to portray its role as a senior and mature Dayak organisation compared to the others? Will we see a shift in the way that SDNU operates or will it be the same as before? How different will they be from SADIA? DBNA? Or will their existence be just mere formality for the sake of tradition and pride? Do they have a proper succession plan? There are too many questions being raised and I believe I am not the only one bringing this up. Only those in the top helm of the organisation can answer it - at least those who are going to be selected to head it soon. I hope they will not fail their members who have placed high hopes on them.

SDNU has to realise they are operating in a very unpredictable environment and to ensure that it makes headway there would be a need to secure strategic alliances

As I have just mentioned, the outcome of the TGA will be an important indicator on how the 'Dayak leadership' trend is in Sarawak. Many hope that SDNU will not stand for Submissive Downgraded Non-relevant Underachiever as percieved by many. Submissive means its members do not determine its direction and existence. Downgraded means the quality of its members - what is the average age of the most of the? Do they represent just the elite group or the majority agragarian Dayaks or the young professional group or those who have passed thier prime? Non - relevant means is about SDNU relevancy - are there any duplications in what the other Dayak based organisations are doing now and are the other organisations doing a better job at it? Underachiever refers to the organisation's preparedness in addressing globalisation - with its rich history its really hard to find the organisation's virtual presence such as a simple website - does this indicate some form of lacking in technical capacity somewhere or ignorance of the changing external environment?

So the challenge goes to all SDNU members and delegates - Good Luck and may wisdom prevail in your upcoming TGA.


Uchu Keling said…
Well, we need to have a blend of old and young leaders in the new line up. The elders should be the bridge, while the young ones come up with the ideas and implement them.

Of course it must be viable. And, I don't think we should be so pressured with ethnic issues.

Dayak tetap Dayak.. and we should fight for only Dayak issues.
Apaienduq said…
Haiii Des, u know so much about SDNU!!!

You should follow you Dad footstep, sign in membership form now and submit it !!!!

Apaiumbart and Apai Tuan are ready to follow you later !!!!
Jetty said…
Yes..should join SDNU and not just become observers..
I guess SDNU need to be relevant now. As NGO, their ablle to address dayak matters to the state and federal. Emm.. been try to join but better be observe first. See what is the outcome
Apai Salleh said…

Sounds good. But I am afraid it's a non starter.

It's nice to receive news every so often, but not worth getting involved for civil servants.
Sultanah Yue said…
OMG... I was waiting like a hell for this article to come out.

Finally with your permission of course... I would like to reproduce it in my blog!

and aku akan bashing kaum dayak buat bahan ketawa kaum Melayu!

Honestly... most dayak yang saya jumpa (that include my relative too)adalah snobbish!!! i repeat:-

Unknown said…
Sapa nemu address SDNU ba Sibu ?