Dayak want ‘Islamic’ building for Miri Resident reworked

The Sarawak government should not cave in to conditions set by Putrajaya for funding the building.
KUALA LUMPUR: Aum Besai Dayak (ABD), an NGO for Dayak in the Klang Valley Region, wants the Sarawak government to rework the new building for the Miri Resident (see pix).

The NGO wants the building to reflect the “true character” of Sarawak “complete with motiffs from the traditional culture of the Orang Asal”.

“We believe the Miri Resident’s building was funded by the federal government,” said an ABD spokeswoman. “That’s why the building projects an ‘Islamic’ exterior complete with two huge domes on the top and bottom, and smaller domes around them.”

The building, she added in an interview, was divorced from the reality in Sarawak and the constitutional documents on Malaysia. “As in Sabah, there’s no religion in Sarawak, although there’s freedom of worship.”

Hence, she continued, the Miri’s Resident’s building should not look as if its a mosque transported from Saudi Arabia. “The Sarawak government should not cave in to conditions set by Putrajaya for funding the building.”

Patently, she said, there’s a case for restructuring the revenue-sharing arrangements in Borneo. “This will reduce the dependency syndrome in Sabah and Sarawak.

She fears that if Putrajaya’s “Islamisation” drive in Sarawak was not “nipped in the bud”, the Miri Resident’s building will be duplicated elsewhere in Sarawak when new government buildings come up.

“The best way would be to restructure the distribution of political power,” said the spokeswoman. “Also, there’s a need to restructure the distribution of revenue and resources.”

As it stands, said the spokeswoman in a little digression, already no one wants to rent any space at properties owned by Jais, the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department. “So, the Miri Resident’s building is likely to suffer a similar fate.”

Seventy five per cent of the population in Sarawak are non-Muslims. Christians form over half the population. There are also more Buddhists in Sarawak than Muslims.

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