PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas believes his predecessor, Alfred Jabu Numpang, helped create opportunities for the Dayak community, especially in the area of poverty eradication, The Borneo Post reported.
In return, Jabu thanked Chief Minister Adenan Satem for having appointed Uggah as one of the three deputy chief ministers following last year’s Sarawak state election.
The mutual respect each man has for the other was apparent at an appreciation dinner for Jabu held in Kuching yesterday.
“For starters, poverty in the rural areas declined to 1.6% by 2015 during Jabu’s time.
“Jabu played a big role. He and his wife, Empiang, have always been people-oriented,” Uggah said, in crediting the current science adviser to the Sarawak government as his mentor since 1977.
He praised the couple for helping resolve the plight of the Dayak on education, infrastructure, language and culture.
Jabu travelled to every nook and cranny of Sarawak, Uggah was quoted as saying by the Kuching-based daily.
He also credited his predecessor for the role played by the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) in assisting the Dayak.
Jabu, as the chairman of the Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF), had been involved in socio-economic development since 1992, he said. Jabu is now adviser to the DCF.
“DCF is currently in the midst of applying for government land to build a Dayak cultural complex to showcase the culture and heritage of the Dayak community,” The Borneo Post quoted Uggah, who is the current DCF chairman, as saying.
In 2015 and 2016, Uggah said, DCF gave full scholarships to five Dayak students to pursue tertiary education.
The organising chairman for the dinner, Ose Murang, said Jabu had completed his “epic marathon of 43 years” in politics successfully.
“His heart and feet are set firmly on the ground for the people he is serving,” the report quoted him as saying.
Jabu entered politics in 1973 when he won unopposed in a by-election for the Skrang-Engkilili seat.
He became deputy chief minister in 1976 and went on to serve under three chief ministers, namely Abdul Rahman Yaakub, Abdul Taib Mahmud and current chief minister Adenan Satem.
Jabu recalled his childhood days in his speech.
He conceded that Salcra, at one time, came in for much criticism. The critics, he said, were oblivious to the role of the agency in assisting the Dayak community.
Meanwhile, his wife, Empiang, in a brief speech, thanked her husband for being supportive of her role in society according to the report. - FMT