Sunday, March 23, 2008

:: Dayaks MP meet Pak Lah

Updated : 01:09 am March 23, 2008

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Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

PM to consider appointing more Dayaks
By Raynore Mering

KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has agreed to consider appointing more Dayaks for federal posts following a discussion in Putrajaya on Friday.
UNDIVIDED SUPPORT: (seated from left) Salang, Abdullah and Masing with
(standing from left) Nyallau, Abit, Aaron, Entulu and Masir after their meeting in Putrajaya.

During the 3pm meeting, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Dato Sri Dr James Masing — who was accompanied by all his six MPs — told him that they supported his leadership of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the government, but still can’t help being disappointed about the under-representation of the Dayaks in the new federal cabinet.

Abdullah was said to be amiable to his views. “I brought it up again (the under-representation of Dayaks in the cabinet) as I have nothing to hide, and the Prime Minister said he would consider my request,” Masing told thesundaypost yesterday. “I told the PM that my disappointment has nothing to do with my support. They are two completely different issues. PM understands this and he knows that we support him regardless of the size of our representation. Let there be no mistake about that. “If anyone cannot tell the difference between our disappointment and our support for the Prime Minister, that person is very green in politics and to me that is an attitude not worth considering.”

The six MPs with Masing were Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum (Julau), Joseph Entulu Belaun (Selangau), Billy Abit Joo (Hulu Rajang), Aaron Ago Dagang (Kanowit), Masir Kujat (Sri Aman) and William Nyallau Badak (Lubok Antu). Salang is Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister, while Entulu is Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister.

Masing pointed out: “Our MPs and I met the PM to show that we support him and all six of them were present.” Masing, the Sarawak Land Development Minister, was criticised by a supreme council member in a rival faction in PRS led by Larry Sng, for his openness about the under-representation of Dayaks in the federal cabinet. Masing told thesundaypost after the line-up was announced that there should have been more Dayak full ministers in recognition of the loyal support of the community to the BN.

The coalition won in all Dayak majority seats in Sarawak. But despite having 14 MPs in parliament there is only one full Dayak minister and four deputy ministers. The other two deputy ministers — Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan (International Trade and Industry) and Jelaing Mersat (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs) — are from the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). PRS has been in crisis since the 2006 state election. Its case has been with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for more than a year now and there is still no decision in sight. Masing did not reveal whether he had discussed the party’s problems with Abdullah on Friday.