KUCHING (January 17): The Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) clean sweep of majority Bidayuh seats in last month’s state elections showed that the spirit of ‘1 Bidayuh’ is still intact, said the Senior Vice President of the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Party, Datuk. Amar Michael Manyin Jawong.
“In the last state elections, our Bidayuh unity was tested. We’ve been tested to see if we’re still cohesive and united as a community
“Ultimately, the December 18 election results proved that the spirit of ‘1 Bidayuh’ is still flying.
“In a democratic process, some voted for other parties, including independent candidates. (But GPS cleaning) has proven that the majority of Bidayuh still want to be consistent and united,” he said at a GPS appreciation dinner last night.
The dinner, which was hosted by MPs from the eight Bidayuh majority seats, was also organized to honor Manyin for his contributions to the Bidayuh community during his 25 years of active politics.
Manyin retired from active politics after deciding not to defend his Tebedu seat in the 12th state election. He represented the state constituency for five terms.
He also served as Minister of State during his tenure, including as Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communication and Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research.
According to Manyin, times have changed since 1996, when he was the only deputy minister of the Bidayuh community in the state administration.
Fast forward to the present, he said there are now eight Bidayuh majority seats, down from just six before 2016. The seats are Opar, Tasik Biru, Serembu, Mambong, Tarat, Tebedu, Kedup and Bukit Semuja.
The Bidayuh are also now represented by a full minister and three deputy ministers in the new state cabinet.
Manyin said this is possible thanks to the “1Bidayuh” spirit which promotes the “one heart, one mind” theme within the community.
“The next legislative elections could take place in July this year or in July next year. There are three parliamentary seats with a Bidayuh majority, so the next election is another test for our cohesion and a test of the spirit of ‘1 Bidayuh’,” he said.
He hopes that the current group of eight members of the Bidayuh Assembly will continue to work for more development in their respective constituencies.
Earlier, Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development, Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said the dinner was held in line with the Bidayuh culture of appreciation for their elders.
Sagah, who succeeded Manyin as Bidayuh’s representative in the cabinet, acknowledged that he had big shoes to fill, but he will try to focus on a new direction for the Bidayuh community which is economic development.
“I am deeply honored to receive the confidence of the Chief Minister to be a member of the Cabinet. I think it is a privilege that also requires a lot of sacrifice and a lot of thought.
“But I can’t do it alone. So I need the community to help me in that,” he said.
He added that the Bidayuh community should be thankful for what Manyin did for them during his tenure, especially when he was in ministries which are very fundamental for the Bidayuh community by providing accessibility to almost all Bidayuh villages. .
He said that Manyin also succeeded in realizing the establishment of Serian Division, which is important for the Bidayuh community as a center of new development.
“Whether we take advantage of this opportunity is up to us at the Bidayuh ourselves… For me, our next direction is to focus on the economic development of our community.
“And of course we don’t forget that education plays an important role,” he added.
Also present at the dinner were Deputy Minister of Transport I Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Deputy Minister of Transport II Dato Henry Harry Jinep, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Modernization and Regional Development Martin Ben, and the other four MPs, namely Miro Simuh (Serembu), John Ilus (Bukit Semuja), Dr Simon Sinang Bada (Tebedu) and Billy Sujang (Opar).