Extracted from Malaysiakini
Congress of Bumiputera minorities to be held Monday
At a two-day congress starting Monday at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), they hope that hard facts and figures will move the federal authorities into initiating special programmes to help them be more active in commerce and industry.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is scheduled to officiate what has been described as the first-ever Bumiputera Minorities Economic Congress (BMEC), which will be attended by more than 600 participants, mostly professionals and entrepreneurs, from largely Christian indigenous communities in
The Dayaks and KDM comprise nearly half of the combined population of the two east Malaysian states, but fare the worst in terms of sharing in the country's wealth, commerce and industry, say some of their leaders.
The congress is organised jointly by the Kadazan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sabah (KCCI) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), with the assistance of some notable academics. The office-bearers of the two chambers are closely identified with the ruling coalition parties at the state level.
The chamber has no intention to malign or sideline anyone by its efforts to complement government efforts to improve the economic status of the Dayaks, said one DCCI official.
However, the chamber has not been without problems in trying to highlight the lowly economic status of their own communities in commerce and industry, as some state leaders appear to be embarrassed with certain statistical revelations.
A top state leader once disputed a claim by DCCI chief Linggi Jugah that in spite of making up four per cent of the national population, the Dayaks' equity stake in the national economy was virtually nil.
Linggi, a former secretary-general
A large number of Dayak businessmen and professionals who share Linggi’s and other indigenous leaders' views on the issue will be at the conference next week.
They are hoping that the federal government will consider the various resolutions that are expected to be tabled and approved at the congress and to be presented to the government.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mustapha Mohamad will officiate at the closing.