KUCHING: Three top Iban unionists have offered themselves as candidates for Sarawak PKR in the coming election, and their candidacies have been endorsed by the Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS).
They are the President of Sarawak National Union (SDNU) Mengga Mikui, the SDNU Deputy President Dr. John Brian and the Secretary General Joshua Jabeng who met the Press in the Stampin Office of PKR in the company of Francis Siah, head of MoCS.
They said that they are ready to contest against the Barisan Nasional.
Mengga, who is a former Deputy General Manager of Sarawak Forest Corporation, has chosen his own home ground of Tamin in Mukah to launch his political career. His opponent is likely to be a newcomer, Edwin Banta of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS). The incumbent is Joseph Mauh, who is to be dropped to open way for Banta, a businessman.
Since retiring from the government, Mengga who joined PKR in 2009 has been working almost around the clock in the constituency.
“I have not learnt the nitty-gritty of politics, but I emphasise that my place is Tamin,” he said, believing that this is the time to change the present government.
“If you don’t change this corrupt government now you, then we are going to be slaves. We may one day go to our neighbouring countries for employment,” he said.
“Native customary rights (NCR) land is the issue. I am personally affected and our land of 500 hectares which are also owned by 19 longhouses is given to a company."
The land, he said, is behind their longhouses.
“It is the only piece of land that is left, where our people have been earning their living every day, and I am going to head the struggle to get it back,” Mengga said, pointing out that the people have lived there since 1830.
Brian, an activist and blogger, is tipped to contest the Meluan constituency where his grandparents came from.
Born in 1955 in Sebauh, Bintulu in 1955, Brian is a PhD holder in management from the Southern Cross University, Australia.
He obtained his Master’s degree in business administration from Oxford Group of universities, and a diploma in chartered institute of marketing from UiTM.
He had worked in a number of companies in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, before opening his management consultancy in Kuala Lumpur of which he is the managing partner.
Elected as Deputy President of SDNU, Brian is also the Deputy Chairman of Borneo Dayak forum (BDF) which is headed by DR. Jeffrey Kitingan.
“Our focus in BDF is to declare Borneo as Dayak land. This is parallel to Aborigines to Australia, Maoris to new Zealand and Red Indians to America,” he said.
In the last election, Brian contested on Sarawak National ticket in Kemena when the Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) could not be registered against Stephen Rundi. Despite the lack of funds, resources and logistics, he secured 3,178 votes against the BN man who spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit and promised “instant” projects. Rundi obtained 4,750 votes.
“In the coming election, I am eyeing the Meluan seat,” he said.
He may face the incumbent Wong Judat of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party or Larry Sng, the partyless assemblyman for Pelagus.
Jabeng who was born in Tatau 61 years ago is believed to be the only Iban who is doing very well in insurance business. He is now the Group Agency manager of ETIQA insurance under the Maybank group in Kuching.
He is now the elected President of ETIQA FAA (Financial Advisor Association) Malaysia dealing with management and agency bosses.
“My exposure in this helps me a lot in terms of organizational skills,” he said.
Jabeng said that he is going to contest in Kakus against the incumbent John Sikie of PRS, if he (Sikie) is going to be re-nominated by PRS.
Meanwhile, in endorsing them as the candidates, Siah said the three are not only top Iban unionists, but also very much qualified in terms of educational qualifications.
“We are endorsing them as candidates and the people should support and vote for them in the coming election,” he said.