Borneo Post: Loud calls for fairer treatment of Dayaks in federal civil service

Published 4 December 2014

KUCHING: The marginalisation of Dayaks in the federal civil service is not by design but due to the ignorance of federal recruitment officers who think Dayaks lack quality.

In pointing this out, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said the ignorance must be corrected as Dayaks are as qualified as anybody in Malaysia.

Citing the involvement of Dayaks in the global oil and gas industry as an example, Masing believes that if they can flourish in this industry and are able to compete internationally, they are also capable of handling other industries or other lines of work.

“We must tell those from the Peninsular Malaysia that we Dayaks are as good as them if not better in some industries,” Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, told The Borneo Post.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) also voiced their grouches that despite the community’s unwavering loyalty to the government, Dayak representation in senior management positions in the federal civil service has been insignificantly small.

In a statement yesterday, its president Dr Dusit Jaul called on the government to look into the discrimination of Dayaks in the federal civil service seriously as prolonging and failure to address this issue can lead to social problems.

“SDGA is of the opinion that Dayak perception of being discriminated has some basis if the results of a study done by Malaysian Human Development Report 2013 are anything to go by.

“In the just-released Malaysian Human Development Report 2013, it is stated clearly that discrimination exists, with Malays given priority over natives. The report, coincidentally prepared by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office together with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), showed that the federal government had hired Sarawak and Sabah Bumiputeras at a lower rate compared to their population share.

“The report further noted that this imbalance could lead to increased racial polarisation and perceived discrimination in the civil service,” said Dusit.

He also reminded the government that younger generations of Dayaks are more knowledgeable and discerning.

“Our request to the federal government is not beyond the boundary of reasonableness. Be fair to the Dayaks in terms of recruitment as well as career progression.

“We surely believe that there are capable Dayak officers to be appointed to senior management positions in the federal government like secretary general, director general as well as in government-linked companies.

“Sad to say, up to this day, Dayak representation in senior management positions in the federal government is not only disproportionate to their population ratio but almost negligible despite the community’s unwavering loyalty to the government.

“This, SDGA representing the more than one million Dayak finds it difficult to swallow,” said Dusit.

Both Masing and Dusit were responding to the recent list of promotions, believed to be that of the Sarawak Road Transport Department, where Malays were preferred over the Dayaks.

Eight Malay enforcement officers were posted to be successful in securing promotions from N27 to N32 grades, while the Dayak officers were all on the reserve list.

The story went viral and has been interpreted by the local Dayaks as a form of discrimination against them in federal civil service.

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