Tiyung Dayak – “The Sour Dayak Apple” in Bidayuh Politics

For the Greater Glory of Bidayuh Politics

Sarawak, Ooops! Tanah Air Ku… (Sarawak, Ooops! My Mother Land…)

The Dayak poverty in Sarawak!? Some say that the poverty rate is about 8%; others might not agree. They would (love to) say “No! It should be more than that; (it) could be around 20%!” Well, statistics will remain as statistics, as it involves population sampling, availability of study samples, forecasting, etc.

Well, I don’t want to elaborate on Dayak poverty in Sarawak, as there’s an article posted in DayakBaru.com. Kindly click on the image below for details.

“The Incidence of Dayak Poverty” found in DayakBaru.com. Click on the above image for further details.

“The Incidence of Dayak Poverty” found in DayakBaru.com. Click on the above image for further details.

See the caricature as shown below. What does it tell?!

Young people – graduates and non-graduates alike – are mostly seeking employment outside of Sarawak due to less employment opportunity and/or low wages…

Young people – graduates and non-graduates alike – are mostly seeking employment outside of Sarawak due to less employment opportunity and/or low wages…

The above dialogue is hereby translated into English:

Grandpa : Where are you working right now, grandson?
Grandson : In Singapore
Grandpa : Where is (this place called) Sungai Po? (Is it in) Batang Ai?!
Grandson : Nope… It’s over (the) sea!

Yes, you’re right! Sarawak is indeed one of the wealthy states* in Malaysia Federation; blessed with numerous natural resources, etc. However, the poverty rate is still considered as “high“.

To cut it short, the obvious reasons are:

  1. Difficult geographical terrain*;
  2. Nepotism;
  3. Cronyism;
  4. Corruption;
  5. Less employment opportunities;
  6. Lowly paid jobs – chances are abundant to employ more foreign workers – a trick known to the Labor Office… (Ooops!);
  7. More graduates and non-graduates alike are “increasingly” unemployed (the average figure for the unemployment rate given by SPU** for the year 2006 – 2008 was about 4%!);
  8. etc.

No wonder, most Sarawakians (including my beloved Amoy) have been migrated to West Malaysia (especially KL and Johor Bahru) in search of jobs with better pay. While some of them are currently living and working as far as in the US, UK, the Gulf states, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, some equatorial-African states, Singapore, etc. I presumed that this trend will continuously “expanding” in the future, unless changes are to be made for a bright and better future for all Sarawakians. How about other Malaysians?! Well, it’s a federal matter, anyway! So, our hopes and dreams are remaining high, lah! To date, Sarawak – our beloved state – will continuously having “headache” due to brain damage drainage! Phew!

OK, I’m going to “divert” your attention a bit! There is a story – which is real and later turned into a joke – which I’ve got from my circle of friends. But before I proceed, I would like to apologize to all my Melanau and Orang Ulu readers first (if any, lah!), as this kind of “joke” might caused them offended. Well, no lawsuit, please! Otherwise, I won’t tell it here. Just relax, OK! So, here comes the story…

One beautiful sunny day, a four-man team of forest surveyors were doing their works inside the forest. Later in the day, they were confronted by a group of Penans, for they have “intruded” their forest… Read the following dialogue (Yup, both teams were “yelling” at each other (as the dialogue is written in CAPITAL LETTERS) due to thick forest condition):

The Penan Leader : S(H)IAPA KALIAN!!!? (In Indonesian accent) (Who are you!!!?)
The Survey Leader : KAMI (orang) SAVÉY! (We’re the surveyors!)
The Penan Leader : BANGSA APA?! (What race/ethnic group (do you belongs to)?!)
The Survey Leader : DUA IBAN; DUA MELANAU! (Two (of us are) Ibans; (another) two (are) Melanaus!)
The Penan Leader : O-o-o, Melanau… Di bawah tanggungan Taéb Mah-mud…!!! (in soft, “satirical” tone) (I see… The Melanaus… Well taken care of by Taéb Mah-mud…!!!)

I guess that, whenever my Melanau readers read this kind of joke, I’m pretty sure that they’ll disagree that the Melanaus are being well taken care of by the current Chief Minister, who is a Melanau. Even my Melanau friends are also disagree, as most of them also dislike the state gomen of the day!

So, are we saying that the Dayaks are doing well in areas such as education and business – after joining Malaysia Federation since September 16, 1963?

We have heard cries in the rural areas asking for basic infrastructure/amenities such as (good quality) public roads, schools, health centers, etc. And we even heard a weird request made by a blogger not so long ago that the two Scorpene subs should be brought to Sarawak to ply the mighty Rejang River – to and fro – Sibu (Song, Kanowit) and Kapit towns (I’m not sure about Belaga town, as I haven’t been there), as there is no road have been built to link Kapit with the rest of other areas within Sarawak!

By and large, all Sarawakians – regardless of their race/ethnicity – are living together harmoniously, especially in urban areas. Is that so or is it just “you-you; I-I” attitude?

Anyway, there is no racial tension reported so far and it seems that all creatures – human beings and beasts alike – are all doing fine, I guess!



* I’m going to quote part of the text (verbatim) from my previous paper assignment (December 2008):

Sarawak economy is one of the fast growing economies within the federated states of Malaysia. Blessed with multiple natural resources such as timber, oil and gas, palm oil and coal (including massive network of river system), Sarawak has achieved an average Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 5.4% compared to Malaysia’s average Real GDP at 5.7% for the past three years (2005 – 2007) (SPU, 2007). Between 2005 – 2006, the state netted an average revenue of RM57 million from export of commodities, with liquefied natural gas contributed the biggest earning (39%), followed by petroleum and petroleum products (31%), timber and timber products (14%), agricultural products (5%), urea and ammonia (1%) and other products (10%) (Mohd Hinri, 2007).




Apart from the proposed dams, the mining of coal in the Sarawak interior (e.g. Lower Balingian in Mukah and Nanga Merit in Kapit, which has NCR to native land) also devastates the natural setting of the environment (including soil, water and noise pollutions), as these mines employed open-cast method (Lim, 2007; PanGlobal Berhad, 2008). In fact, it has been observed that the state government is now gearing up its effort to build access roads into the interior to exploit these coal reserves for its coal fired power plants (including export (PanGlobal Berhad, 2008)). In addition, the native lands with limestone reserves are also not spared from being exploited.





Lim, E. 2007. Benefits and issues of open-cut coal mining on the socio-economic environment: The Iban community in Mukah, Sarawak, Malaysia. PWASET 21: 249 – 251 (http://www.waset.org/pwaset/v19/v19-46.pdf)

Mohd Hinri, A. 2007. Chain of Custody for Timber Products Exported from Sarawak. A paper presented in Yokohama, Japan, December 3, 2007. 52 p. (http://www.goho-wood.jp/event/event5/a6.pdf)

PanGlobal Berhad. 2008. PanGlobal Berhad: Energy. 3 p. (http://home.panglobal.com.my/servlets/sfs;jsessionid=1FEF928F97B9819AF562CCF0EA71798B?s=0LbMZtYzxWaz8fznYvL&t=/contentManager/selectCatalog&i=1099900778076&b=1099900778076&l=0&e=UTF-8&ParentID=1101108773489&intro=1&CustomerID=0&startRow=0&active=no)

SPU. 2007. Sarawak Facts and Figures 2007. State Planning Unit, Chief Minister’s Department, Kuching, Sarawak. 43 p. (http://www.spu.sarawak.gov.my/pdf/135.pdf)

** The State Planning Unit (SPU) publications (the annual “Sarawak Facts and Figures“) can be accessed at http://www.spu.sarawak.gov.my/en/publications/


March 7, 2009 - Posted by | 04 Money Talk, 05 Dayakism, 07 The Greatest Scam, 09 Sarawak Politics


  1. Hello buddy Tiyung!

    Very good info and tks for the hard work on your part.
    Beneficial to the readers.

    Comment by Borneo Warrior | March 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Auk meh, terima kasih aja… Enda nurun sembiang pagi ari minggu tu, wai?! Heh…

      Comment by tiyungdayak | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. what the heck…this guy is running down PKR like hell in Sarawakupdate.

    Comment by Anrewson | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. Good Sunday morning everybody, Bloggers and Blog readers alike.

    Not than that I am short of intelligence information but rather there are more urgent and pressing matter which I would like to share with you guys, and that is my DISAPPOINTMENT.

    I am disappointed because:

    1)At the way Borneo Warrior blog, once a vocal supporter & friend of PKR but now running down PKR like hell (see Sarawakupdate). Blog owner Tedewin is now courting Tiyungdayak and Brokenshield with the hope of enticing them to join BN bandwagon.Note: Apparently A. Ahmad has not done enough to prevent the exodous. Latest informatin revealed that Tedewin has been tasked by Jabu to spearhead BN cyber/media war aginst Pakatan in Batang Ai.

    2) All are not well within State PKR.The party leadership are at loggerhead on the choice of election candidate for Batang Ai.Its a bare fact and undeniable truth that the warring faction of Bawin and Jawah has started elbowing each other.At the time of posting Bawin is very much a lone ranger after other leaders like Dominique, Adit, Jawah,Lagong , Munan, Jimmy abondoned him. He is only left with Ibi Uding, Baharuddin or perhaps Micheal Bong.
    If the current tussle among the warring faction persit or leave unchecked, you can say goodbye to Batang Ai.

    3) The state PKR has not got its priorities right. During the meeting with DSAI and other Pakatan leaders in KL recently surprising none of the attendees aksed what are the role of the Dayak community in the Pakatan led government.Apparently they are not concerned about Dayak interest, serve promotion or group interest seemed to be the order of the day.

    4) I have reason to believe that the state PKR is suffering from ” the curse of the PBDS Syndrome” which if leave unchecked can be self destructive.

    A. Ahmad is watching you Burong Tiyung. He is ready with cataputt/setik

    Mupok aku ngiga kampua mee.

    Comment by Miss Kepayang | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  4. Only Ibans can bring about a change in the Sarawak government because they make up the largest number of voters. The Ibans outnumber the combined total population of all the other Dayaks.

    However, Ibans will not be able to bring about the much needed change – not in Batang Ai and not in the coming state election. So the Dayaks will continue to be subservient to the Taib Mahmud family in the next 40 years.

    No, there will be no change to the status quo. Ibans will continue to be divided. Already, in Batang Ai, there is a squabble among Ibans about the choice of PKR candidate.

    The BN money machinery will ensure that there is more than enough tuak flowing and more than enough pigs slaughtered to satisfy the longhouse people. That’s about quite enough to get the Ibans to vote for the BN candidate.

    The Dayak bloggers are here to just “syok sendiri” thinking that they can influence the longhouse people. It’s a pathetic attempt. The real work for PKR is organizing at the grassroots level. But even doing so, without a clear vision and shared goals, the grassroots is rooting for the BN.

    Most unfortunate of all, there no strong visionary, influential leader of the Ibans. And there is none in the Bidayuh and other communities. In the absence of this, the Ibans and Dayaks will continue to be enslaved in the next 40 years by the Taib Mahmud dynasty.

    My suggestion to Ibans is to just support the BN. Otherwise, Ibans will be divided even more.

    Comment by Francis | March 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Regarding the “syok sendiri” among the Dayak bloggers, well, I don’t quite agree on that. Of course, the Dayak bloggers couldn’t make their influence come into force by 100%. We just started our looong journey with a single step – to pave way for the new generation of Dayak bloggers, so that they would open up their minds and ready to face current and future challenges.

      We need to educate and re-educate our next generation at all time – yes, through blogging, of course! Our mission is not solely focusing on this b(u)y-election and the next state election alone. As for myself, I’m a firm believer in the “continuity” of the growth curve.

      Shalom to you. Why used so many nicknames, by the way?!

      Comment by tiyungdayak | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  5. Get these unemployed registered as voters and vote. This is the only sure way to tell Taib to create jobs for Sarawakians.

    Comment by tunabdulrazak | March 9, 2009 | Reply

  6. one of the imigrant to malaya

    Comment by freeSARAWAK | March 11, 2009 | Reply

  7. argh.. politics.

    awyway..i just wanna share my feelings here;

    We are always being discriminated by ‘the ousiders’. Im so worried…so sad. The younger generations are moving out from Borneo. In the other hand, more ‘semenanjungs’ are moving in to Borneo.. I can see more semenanjungs, mostly the Kelantanese are working in civil sectors in Sabah and Sarawak.. Later, our dayaks and our culture will ‘pupus’.

    The most thing that i hate about these ‘outsiders’ are, they are always looking down on us, on our land, our culture, the dayaks and local people here, despite that they are making a lot of money when working here. Stop ‘hina’ us; we are much more better than you in many ways.

    To all the Dayaks, and people of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), please come home…stop looking for jobs..but work things out of your knowledge and skills..create jobs for the local younger generations…we help each other, we lead our own kinds..not others…they don’t even know who we are, and what we want.

    And those who stay; let us unite, SHARE SHARE SHARE don’t be too selfish but keep helping each other (we won’t success alone), voice out what is not good but share what is good, and let us ‘walk the talk’ (blame nobody, stop talking about mistakes, but just work things out).

    (sorry if im not good in writing and expressing my feelings/ideas… but im sooo worried…. soooo sad… so angry…).

    Comment by Niken | April 12, 2009 | Reply

  8. So your article just proved how lavishly wealthy Sarawak as a state is yet our people (the dayaks) are poor, so poor yet in fact, we’re so nice that we cannot rock the boat, not even a little to fight because we don’t want to offend them? this has been going on since the 1800s where by both the Ibans and Bidayuhs are treated badly by the other races (i will not point fingers) and still we sit there like idiots and accept that RM50 and Maggie mee and support a already lackluster party? so much for our headhunter roots…i say this not because i hate my own race, far from it, i say it because it’s sad, we only know how to ‘nyirup’ and claim it is part of our culture but if you backtrack, it isn’t. we were smarter than that. I think it’s also time we stop blaming other races and start pointing our fingers at the real culprits..

    Comment by 1one | September 11, 2009 | Reply

  9. Another thing….

    The only way i see change in Sarawak lies solely on the discretion of the Dayaks. Either that or we wait till the Federal government changed hands. I cannot blame the opposition MP for saying that we have ‘chawat’ in our heads. The unsurpassable money politicking in Sarawak has escalated over the years and the Dayaks are always hanging by these sullied politicians coattails. Let’s take a different approach here,

    imagine, you’re working from 8am – 6pm, you get paid RM1000, it’s already hard to live on let alone endure the astronomical prices in the market due to inflation and your boss one day decided to cut cost to ensure he gets a higher profit margin so he sees you, such a nice guy, a pushover, a human carpet and decided every 3 months he would cut your salary by 5%. You are now feeling the burn even further than before, you now barely can even afford grade B rice yet you don’t want to offend your boss because he smiles at you every morning.

    Another company exists, they’re relatively new and they want to do a takeover of your boss’s company and somehow, you were given that power to either veto the notion or allow it. (Yes, I know business don’t work like that, this is just an illustration).

    This company has many promising ventures and even insures that their employees will be treated fairly and that they will be given increment every year with benefits. You don’t know it yet but before you could, your boss heard about it first, he decided to give you that million dollar smile and gives you RM50 and a few packets of Maggie Mee, you’re hungry and RM50 is better than nothing in your wallet so you decided that since your boss is so ‘nice’ you vetoed the proposal by the other company. While in the short term basis, you are able to provide your family (at least for a day, on bare essentials) with the money you have but in the long run, you’re just slowly allowing death to kill your family almost dooming them to the firing squad because every 3 months your money will decrease even further.

    And as for job opportunities in Sarawak argument, according to freeSARAWAK, I find it is totally baseless and not a very strong argument for other Dayaks to come back and create jobs for the local young generation as money is scarce even in the western side of the Malaysian plain. The money they earn would not only be inadequate enough to even create a small company, it won’t even succeed base on the regime of our beloved leaders, if you’re not connected you don’t exist and if you don’t kowtow, you don’t get ‘pangkat’.

    I won’t apologize for my straight forwardness because I find that it is detrimental to the growth of not only the Dayak community but also every race in Sarawak. The corruption is so humungous and so viral, if it continues for another 10 – 15 years, even less, Sarawak would be one an vast waste land with 12 extra dams that not only theoretically would waste the tax payers money but also cause massive floods around the Sarawakian soil, needless to say more villages have to move out of their homes and transferred to a less favorable location. I’m sad, I really am.

    We have lousy leaders who just prove that Dayaks are not united for one, two, we cannot think for ourselves. We’re the stereotypical ‘lite’ versions of the Malay outlook. I can only say that if Dayaks, whether you’re from Seratok or Seratau or Bau or Sarikei or Kuching, we need to co-exist together and think straight and fight, not with swords made of cold steel but from our voices.

    Remember the slogan : Agi Idup Agi ngelaban

    Comment by 1one | September 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for all your comments lamentations… I really appreciate it.

      Comment by tiyungdayak | September 13, 2009 | Reply

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