Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) public relations officer Dr John Bryan Anthony commenting on Jabu recent criticism of the Union said such remarks by Jabu could erode Dayak support for the government.

“He (Jabu) is a Dayak leader and we all know that, and we in SDNU appreciate him as a leader. But for him to criticise SDNU and Sadia is a very sad matter because it can erode Dayak support for the government,” he said when contacted by Borneo Post yesterday.

Dr John also said much of Jabu’s criticism of them was without solid facts as if he had done so out of spite

Jabu while in Miri on Dec 2, taken a swipe at two Dayak-based organizations SDNU and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) for what he said were “belittling” the government efforts in bringing development and progress to the people through Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra).

Dr Bryan said Jabu notion of the Union belittling the government was not entirely correct.

“SDNU was always supportive of all government efforts aimed at helping the Dayak community to improve their socioeconomic well-being,” he stressed.

Dr Bryan added that it was wrong for Jabu to criticise the union especially when his wife Senator Datin Sri Empiang Jabu is the Union vice president.

Empiang is also the chairperson of Sarakup Induk Dayak Sarawak (SIDS), an organization under SDNU.

Jabu split the Dayak

Commenting on the same issue, Dr Bryan said the deputy chief minister had unconsciously splitting Dayak community in the state by praising the Bidayuhs and slamming the Ibans (SDNU and Sadia).

Jabu, who is also Rural Development Minister and chairman of Salcra had criticized SDNU and Sadia, but had given the thumbs up to Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA).

“With such remarks he can cause friction between the Iban and Bidayuh and this will further divide the Dayak community,” he stressed.

Insisting that SDNU had always wanted to remain apolitical and to focus on the duty and objective of enhancing the Dayak culture, Dr Bryan said it would be appropriate that the union not be dragged into political debates.

Dr Bryan also urged Salcra to be transparent in its business undertakings, saying that many Dayaks did not have a clear understanding of what Salcra was actually doing to help them.

Salcra recently donated some RM150, 000 to various organizations in Sarawak including DBNA as part of it corporate social responsibility initiatives.

*Reporting by BP in Kuching and edited for Bintulu.Org