Uggah (left) hands over a souvenir to Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg after opening the DCF and DCCI building today, witnessed by the ceremony’s working committee chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Aug 19): The Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) has invested over RM8 million in a series of impactful programmes in line with its unwavering commitment to empowering the Dayak community, said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

Uggah, who is also DCF chairman, said responding to the aspirations of the Dayak community to have more senior Dayaks Civil Servants appointed as heads of various government departments, the foundation had successfully sponsored several Dayak officers for intensive courses at internationally reputable institutions in the United States.

“To date, DCF had sent a total of six Dayak officers for intensive courses overseas – four to John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) School of Government in Harvard and two to Harvard Business School.

“After completing the said courses and training, they returned qualified and competent to serve in senior positions in their respective fields,” he said at the opening ceremony of the Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) towers here today.

The foundation’s investment has resulted in Dayaks heading several significant governmental departments, including Deputy State Secretary and Permanent Secretaries of Ministries, among others.

Adding on, Uggah said since 1993, DCF has extended its support to financially challenged Dayak students seeking higher education.

“From 1993 till to-date, DCF had provided financial assistance in the total sum of RM3,228,392 to needy Dayak students accepted into institutions of higher learning, but yet to receive scholarships.

“While on this issue, it is our fervent hope that the relevant bodies and scholarship givers be more sympathetic to the plight of all such and deserving Dayak students to give them the golden opportunity to shine and go far in their lives,” he said.

He said the foundation’s efforts also encompass recognition and reward, with full scholarships worth RM585,985 granted to eight outstanding Dayak students who achieved GPA of 4.0 in their STPM examinations and its equivalents.

“They have now all graduated and are currently employed and at least three of them are doctors,” he said.

Sports and cultural contributions have also formed a cornerstone of DCF’s philanthropic endeavors, he added.

The foundation had donated RM125,000 to six accomplished Dayak athletes who showcased their prowess on the international stage, including renowned figures such as national diver Dato Pandalela Rinong, paralympian Bonnie Bunyau and bodybuilder Buda Anchah.

Additionally, he said DCF played a significant role in promoting cultural studies and celebrations, contributing RM2,249,941 towards the establishment of the Chair of Dayak Studies at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and supporting various cultural symposiums and seminars.

“A grand total of RM8,394,128 was spent by DCF towards the above activities.

“We believe that the said amount is money well spent for the benefits of the Dayak community as a whole,” he said.