By Emma Victoria
RECENTLY, Deputy CM Tan Sri James Masing said Dayak youths were not good enough to replace veteran politicians as they ‘have not gone to the battlefield in politics’ and lacked the experience in leading Sarawak.
The president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), a Dayak-majority party, also said he could inspire more young people to become future leaders.
Professor James Chin of University of Tasmania in Australia however disagrees with Masing and said many young Dayaks were in fact very unhappy over the Deputy CM’s statement.
“Instead of talking about political experience, the physical development of a constituency of a state is more important.”
“If you cannot provide roads, clean water supply, 24-hour electricity, internet, after so many decades… Isn’t it time to move aside and let someone else try?” Chin wrote on his Facebook post recently.
“In the Sarawak context, words such as “experience”, “continuity”, “jangan lawan towkay (don’t go against the boss)”, “politics of development” are just self-serving excuses to stay in power,” he said.
He was commenting on Masing’s recent statement that the youth may offer vitality, but age and experience provide wisdom in administering and guiding this nation to move forward peacefully.
Masing also said: “Don’t mistake youth as a good and only replacement for political experience.”
Chin said there are very few political leaders in this world that can bring real change after more than 10 years.
“Most become entrenched after 10 years and are only interested in power and money after that.
“Sarawakians should know better because Sarawak was ruled by one man from 1981 to 2014 and you have to ask who benefited the most during the 33 years,” he added.
Chin also listed down 12 Dayak leaders, many of whom are still active in politics and had served for over 25 years.
Besides Masing who’s been in active politics for 37 years, others include Datuk Amar Michael Manyin (24 years), Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas (34 years), and Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom (29 years).