Activist urges Dayaks to remain calm after name-calling incident

MIRI: Sarawak Dayaks must not get too emotional over the incident involving a TV3 presenter making fun of former national sprinter Watson Nyambek’s father.

They can display their unhappiness but in a peaceful manner, said Dayak activist Matthew Jina.

He said the incident provoked anger among Sarawakian Dayaks because of the delicate sensitivities involved.

“Dayaks are very sensitive about the image of the family and the family name.

“One cannot simply use such names as a topic for jokes,” he said, adding that the Dayaks valued the family name.

“However, we must not react in any extreme manner,” he said.

“We must make our unhappiness known but in a peaceful way, not reacting with physical violence or hurtful words,” he added.

Sukan Tak Central comedy show presenter Azizul Ammar Abu Hassan created a controversy over the weekend when he mimicked the sound of a goat as he said the name Nyambek.

Primeworks Studios Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Izham Omar led a delegation of staff including the TV presenters involved to apologise to the former national sprinter during a closed-door meeting on Monday.

“On behalf of our station’s management and also TV3 and TV9, I am here to apologise to Watson and family and the people of Sarawak for the offensive remarks made by our TV presenters.

“The presenters involved also apologised personally to Watson and they have been suspended indefinitely.

“We are sincerely very sorry for the incident that should not have happened at all,” Izham said at a press conference after the meeting.

“We should have been more sensitive and not make jokes that can offend any race.

“We will review our programmes and scrap such form of comedies if necessary,” he added.

Watson said since he had already lodged a police report, he will leave it to the police to decide what to do next.

Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Dev Kumar said the police will be calling in the TV show presenter and manager for questioning.

The police are probing into the case under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult to breach the peace.

Izham said his TV station will cooperate in the police probe.

In the meantime, more verbal protests against TV3 were posted on various websites and chat groups in Sarawak.

Many wanted the Federal Government to take disciplinary action against the TV station.

Source: The Star

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