Return to SNAP, Dayaks urged

By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

An revered “elder” in Sarawak politics has made a clarion call to the Dayak community to return to the Sarawak Nasional Party (SNAP) fold and help the party reclaim its right.

In making the call, lawyer and former diplomat Daniel Tajem urged Dayaks “not to wait” until their “individual rights whittle to nothingness”.

Tajem, who was also the former president of the now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), urged all Dayaks, especially the ex-PBDS members in Sarawak, to join SNAP which is now undergoing a rebranding exercise.

“The policy, principle and the objective of SNAP are similar to those of the defunct PBDS.

“So what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for all our native customary rights (NCR) land to be taken away to be made as estates of certain Barisan Nasional leaders and their cronies and family members with little pittance given to the landowners?

“Do you wait until your individual rights whittle down to nothingness?” Tajem asked participants at SNAP’s symposium here.

Tajem, who was also former deputy chief minister, said that SNAP was the right avenue for the people to support.

“We want to play an important part in the machine of politics that will churn the wheel and I can see that with the death of PBDS, we have no alternative but to support SNAP,” he said.

There are about 100,000 Dayaks who are without a party. They are believed to be former PBDS members who never joined any other party following PBDS’ demise.

Inputs needed

Earlier, SNAP president Edwin Dundang said that the Sibu symposium was to put SNAP back into the “factory” once again.

He is hoping that the symposium would help repackage SNAP either as an old product with a new casing “like an old wine in a new bottle” or “perhaps even become a different product altogether with a new brand”.

Either way, the primary aim now, said Dundang, was to attract new customers in addition to wooing the previous Dayak and the rural-based customers.

“Inputs are needed from all present as to how we can together move SNAP once again,” he told participants.

He said SNAP, which was deregistered eight years ago by the Registrar of Societies, has become legally operative since June 23, 2010, following the decision of the High Court of Appeal, which ruled that it saw no legal reasons why SNAP had to be deregistered.