KUCHING :Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Entulu was among the notable VIPs at the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) education award presentation and dinner on Saturday night.

He donated RM20,000 to SDGA’s Excellence Education Award fund or DEEDS. Entulu, the deputy president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), even applied on the spot to become a life member of SDGA and it was accepted in principle by SDGA president Dr Dusit Jaul.

Later in the night he entertained other special guests and diners with an Iban song he personally named ‘Indai Tuai Blues’ (literally translated, Old Woman Blue).

Entulu, on Saturday  night, was not what he was made out to be in May when he was accused of scheming to destroy the identity of the Dayaks by dropping the term ‘Dayak’.

What he did and said at the dinner may have projected him as just another Dayak and that what were attributed to him in May a mere allegation.

Several of Entulu’s hard critics over the Dayak identity issues were also at the dinner and he was seen talking with them enjoying the evening just like anybody else.

It was claimed that on the evening on May 9 in Sibu, Entulu uttered some phrases to the effect that the term ‘Dayak’ should be dropped because it connoted derogatory meaning and had caused several Dayaks to face difficulties when dealing with officials in Peninsular Malaysia.

But two days later, Entulu denied uttering such remarks, claiming a reporter had misunderstood one or two of his crucial statements.

The event led to more events, including the one where Entulu had to resort to advertising a full-page report to clarify on what had transpired on the night he was said to be misquoted by the reporter.

He also held a press conference denying that he had suggested the term ‘Dayak’ be dropped. In fact being an Iban himself, Entulu said, he would oppose those who intended to ‘illegalise’ the term or erase it from history.

Subsequently The Borneo Post held a forum over the issue with the title "Should the term ‘Dayak’ be dropped?."

The forum was just an intellectual discourse and had nothing to do with whether Entulu had in fact wanted the term ‘Dayak’ dropped.

The forum held that anyone who tried to illegalise the term ‘Dayak’ would be committing "ethnic cleansing in the most subtle form."

SDGA’s Saturday night dinner was officiated by Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation Dato Sri William Mawan and attended by Dayaks irrespective of their professions, ideologies and standing.

Almost 900 people packed the dinner hall of the Christian Ecumenical Centre in Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho here.

The aim of the dinner was to raise funds for SDGA’s educational, motivational and ‘people-building’ programmes. SDGA also relaunched its website-this time around with a better design and more user-friendly.

News from the Borneo Post, 24 August 2009


Category : Press

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