KUCHING, Feb 10 (Bernama) — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s forthcoming working visit to Kuching and Miri is viewed as a “good gesture” to the people of Sarawak.
Former Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Datuk Peter Minos expresses optimism the prime minister-in-waiting will help the people, especially the Dayak community which continues to lag in economic and corporate sectors.
“Hopefully, he is mindful of the hardships faced by the people, especially in rural areas.
“This is, in view of the current economic situation which has put many rubber and oil palm smallholders in a predicament due to the drop in prices of the commodities and exhorbitant costs of pesticides and farming tools,” he told Bernama here today.
On Thursday, Najib is scheduled to meet Bidayuh political and community leaders.
On the same day, the deputy prime minister will also attend a special investiture ceremony at the Astana here, to receive Sarawak’s second highest award, the Darjah Utama Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang, which carries the title, ‘Datuk Patinggi’.
The award will be bestowed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.
Minos, an economist by training, said Najib’s gesture to meet with Bidayuh leaders was a compliment to the community.
He said the community felt a lot needed to be done by the government, in terms of socio-economic development, to help it be on par with the other races in the country.
Like most rural communities, he said, the Bidayuh faced predicament on pertinent matters, including those related to native customary rights, and land ownership versus development issues.
Najib, who is also finance minister, is expected to arrive here with his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, on Wednesday night.
He will meet state Barisan Nasional leaders, besides attending a function at SMK St Thomas to present government aid to missionary schools in Sarawak and Sabah, as part of the government’s economic stimulus.
He will close a three-day Sarawak Islamic Congress organised by the Sarawak Islamic Council in the evening and meet with executive members of the Dayak Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
As chairman of the National Disaster Committee, he will arrive in Miri to visit SMK Suai, Niah, to hand over disaster relief aid to flood victims in the area and the landslide relief centre at the Miri Red Crescent Association Centre before returning to Kuala Lumpur.
Source : Bernama