Sarawak Dayak National Union seeks answers on Iban alphabet, native language institution

The Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) is seeking answers from the Sarawak state government regarding two proposals it submitted 14 years ago. The proposals included the adoption of the Iban alphabet in the education system and the establishment of an institution dedicated to the development of native Sarawak languages.

SDNU president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom stated that after successfully hosting the Forum Jako Iban in 2011, the union presented the proposals to the state government for consideration and action. However, he expressed disappointment that they have yet to receive a proper response.

“I would like to revisit this — the Ministry of Social Development had in 2011 organised the Forum Jako Iban, and during that time, two resolutions were passed. I would like to inquire, where had those proposals gone. We know and I remember, we had presented that (the proposals) to the government,” he said at the Ngabang Gawai programme at RTM.

Iban is typically written using the Latin alphabet, but there is an alternative script known as the Dunging script (urup Dunging), which was invented between 1947 and 1962 by Dunging Gunggu. The Pakan assemblyman believes that Sarawak should have its own institute to generate interest and develop Sarawak ethnic languages, including the Iban language.

“So we need this Institute, and SDNU would like to revisit these two proposals that we have presented to the government,” he said.

World News

Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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