Dayak voters will be kingmakers come polling day

By Emma Victoria

DAYAK voters are totally independent to make their own choice on polling day as neither the ruling coalition nor opposition have laid out what they would do to meet their aspirations.

Political scientist Prof. Dr. Jayum Jawan said there is nothing much to endear Dayak voters to any political party,  be it from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) or the various opposition parties vying for Dayak support.

He said Dayak voters have come a long way since participating in Sarawak’s first indirect elections held in 1963.

“Since then, they have participated in 12 successive Sarawak elections. Between these elections they have shown resolute in what they wanted and have been firm in expressing their choices to reflect their aspiration,” he said when contacted.

“Dayak politicians from GPS components are recycling old promises to new invigorated Dayak voters. Will these sell?”

“Well, there is an old idiom that says “fool people once, shame on you; fool people twice, shame on them”,” he said.

Prof. Dr. Jayum Jawan

Jayum was commenting on Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing’s recent statement that the Dayak community will continue to back the ruling GPS at the coming state election.

Dayaks are the largest community in Sarawak, accounting for 44% of the population, so everyone wants to win these votes.

The political scientist from Universiti Putra Malaysia said on the other hand, the opposition are not precise in how they will meet the new Dayak aspiration.

“So, for now they can aim to draw Dayak support but unless they come up with concrete plans, good candidates and well organised strategies, they will not be able to give the more organised GPS component a fight for the “patronage” the latter could throw around,” he said.

Nevertheless, the field is still wide open for the coming state election in Sarawak.

He said the GPS components have the advantage to win and be returned as the ruling coalition. But they are not undefeatable with well strategized campaigns.