22nd August 2009
The Christian Ecumenical Centre, Kuching
Distinguish Guests, members of the press, Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good evening to all!
First of all, I would like to acknowledge that it is really my pleasure to have ALL of you here this evening. This is going to be a special evening. I say special evening because:
Number 1: All of you who are present here this evening are very special people; You are the people who are fully dedicated and committed towards education, the education of our children and the educational attainment of our community. This is a lovely Saturday evening; you could have chosen to be elsewhere. However, because of your commitment towards education, you all choose to be with us.
Some of you come from near; some come from far, like our friends from Bintulu. This dinner is also supported by many non Dayak individuals and companies, like my good friends from KTA. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we’re here truly practicing the spirit of 1Malaysia. During this difficult time, all of you willingly part with your hard-earned dollars and cents. You all deserve my highest respect for what you stand for.
Number 2: This evening in a way is special because it has been quite a while since the SDGA organized this kind of fund raising dinner. Therefore, to ensure that this dinner is of value, other than enjoying good food provided by Aroma Café, our fellow Dayak caterer and restaurant operator, we in SDGA have slotted two significant events; i.e. Dayak Educational Excellent Award (DEEDS) and the launching of our redesign SDGA website.
The Educational Excellent Award is SDGA’s way of giving recognition to Dayak students who have excelled in public examination. Tonight, recognition is given to such students from Kuching and Kota Samarahan Divisions. Students in other divisions who have excelled in public examination need not worry as recognition will also be accorded to them.
Shortly later, we will launch our redesign website. The interesting thing about this redesign website is that it is user friendly. It provides facilities for online application to be a member of SDGA. Dayak graduates, especially those outside Sarawak should find this website useful.
From the specific on this evening’s program; distinguish guests, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to venture into something that is more general.
Briefly, I will share with you what we in SDGA have planned for the association in order to serve our community more effectively. Then later, I will venture to talk about a subject that is not new to us; the importance of education.
YB Dato’, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This evening, I’m sure many of you are asking, “What is it about SDGA that is new, and that we all must support?
One thing for sure is that, we in SDGA, like all of you who are gathered here this evening, have one thing in common; we are Committed Towards Community Excellence. Now, to ensure that we remain committed towards our cause of community excellence, the current committee members headed by myself who took over in February this year, have came out with a Framework Development paper for SDGA. This framework paper spells out SDGA’s future direction in the next eleven years; up to 2020.
Our dinner this evening is part of our fund raising programme. From this dinner, with your kind support, we expect to raise certain amount of income to enable us to implement the various educational and career development programs. This year alone, we need RM40, 000.00 to enable us to implement our various educational and human capital development programs.
On this score, I wish to put on record our sincere appreciation to our leaders: YB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu who had given us RM20, 00.00, YB Dato’ Sri William Mawan RM5, 000.00 and YB Dato Dr. James Dawos RM2,000.00.
This evening, ladies and gentlemen, somehow, I have the feeling that more will come from our caring leaders.
In the short period that we have been in the committee, we have embarked upon a number of programs such as:
YB Dato’ Sri may wish to take note that our next immediate program is in Pakan at the end of next month.
Y. B. Dato’, Ladies and gentlemen,
I am not one to blow trumpet. Not withstanding this, I can confidently say that SDGA had started to make an impact. This evening, I stand proud in front of you to inform you that our brothers and sisters; the Dayak in Kalimantan Barat and the Kadazandusun in Sabah are very keen to set the same for their people. Personally I have met with some of their leaders and they are keen to follow the footstep of SDGA by setting up similar association for their respective communities.
This brings me to another point, our common belief and realization as to the importance of education.
I believe for the Dayak, our day of reckoning has come; that we Dayak simply cannot afford NOT to treat education as our top priority. In all corners of the globe, we hear people talk about the rising importance of education. To us in SDGA, it means one thing; it reflects the new demand of the new world.
In the context of Malaysia, we all know that we have migrated to the Knowledge-based Economy in the year 2000. In the Knowledge-based Economy, it is a kind reminder that, where we live, and what we do, doesn’t really matter. What matters most is what we KNOW. If we look around, more and more jobs are demanding for higher level of educational achievement and training. So if we’re not equipped with proper education and skill, where is our place in society, and in this country? Without proper education, how can we compete?
It is pertinent that if we Dayak are to progress collectively as a community, we all have to ensure that every Dayak child, children and youths are well educated. Every Dayak youth must be equipped with a degree. If not a degree, to me, industry certification will do.
YB Dato’, ladies and gentlemen.
I am coming towards the end of my speech. Before I leave this rostrum, I have one final point to emphasize, and this is a very important one.
We all fully understand that survival and success in this 21st century depends very much on our success in education. This evening, let me share with you my vision of Dayak success in education. My empowering vision of Dayak success in education is that:
Number one: Every Dayak child, children and youth must have access to, and achieve world class education.
Number two: Our community must own and operate a University of our own. This University is NOT exclusive. This University which is inclusive must produce quality Dayak graduates annually, especially in the professional disciplines.
YB Dato, Ladies and gentlemen,
As long as we don’t realize the above, we Dayak will still be asking, “Why is it that other ethnic groups are outperforming us in education”?
Me and my committee members hope that when our tenure is over, and the record is written and told, I don’t want it to be written and told that we have not warned our Dayak community as to how crucial is education for our survival and progress. For this very reason, it is fitting indeed that tonight’s dinner has adopted “Education is the Seeds of Life” as its theme. The seeds of education have to be planted first in our home. The starting point is our family. For in our family, lies the hope of our children who seek to become engineers, lawyers, teachers, accountants, doctors, etc. Let us then, have faith in ourselves and move forward with confidence and optimism.
What Mr. Edwin Tawie, the Organising Chairman and his committee have done this evening is a small step in the right direction. Mr. Edwin, you and your committee members have done a good job, you deserve my fullest appreciation and thanks.
Above all, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri, distinguish guests, ladies and gentlemen; You all are great people. Without your support and commitment, we won’t be gathered here this evening. My sincere appreciation and my words of thanks go to you all.
Thank you, and have a pleasant evening.