From The Broken Shield
Upon hearing of his arrival which was announced, many of them rushed to greet him; they did not expect him to be present, so they were extremely happy to see him around. Tajem’s invitation was made through The Broken Shield. Only a handful of people knew that he had accepted Anwar Ibrahim’s invitation.
As a special guest, Tajem was ushered to the VIP frontline seat where he sat together with Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Yong Teck Lee and Zaid Ibrahim, former UMNO minister in the Prime Minister department, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, former Gerakan minister, Dr. Aness Munawar, (from USA) and members of Diplomatic Corps.
Tajem used to tell his supporters to be cautious either joining UMNO or PKR. He neither encouraged, nor discouraged them but advised them to wait and see. “We do not know what plans Anwar has for the Dayaks,” he said.
Likened by Anwar Ibrahim as the “star” or described by Yong Teck Lee as the “icon of Dayak politics”, Tajem is still the man to watch in Sarawak’s politics as people still listen to him. Thus his presence at the congress is sure to give all sorts of indications and interpretations to young Dayak professionals and thousands of ex-PBDS members; it can mean giving them the “green” light to join PKR at a time when Dayaks have failed to register a party of their own like Malaysian Dayak Congress.
In view of this failure PKR is therefore considered to be the most “suitable” party for them through which they can articulate their aspirations and address their frustrations and at the same time play national politics. It will not be surprising to see Dayaks joining PKR in droves in the immediate future.
But for Tajem, adviser to protem Malaysian Dayak Congress, accepting the invitation was one way how he could assess or evaluate the seriousness and commitment of PKR’s pledge in trying to dislodge Abdul Taib Mahmud from his 27-year old rule of Sarawak.
Personally, he said, he did not harbour any ambition as age had caught up with him. “But what I want is to see change in Sarawak. I don’t care who is going to be the Chief Minister after Taib, be he Malay, Chinese or Iban, as long as the policy on Native Customary Rights (NCR) land is changed,” he said to The Broken Shield, and added: “The land that has been seized must be returned to the land owners. This is our priority.”