Tuesday, January 8

Kanang Ak Langkau was initially shabbily treated

Malaysia’s most decorated war hero Kanang Anak Langkau could have died as a pauper as his military services – helping to liberate Malaya (and later Malaysia) from the communists were not respected as a hero should be until he and few other war heroes made noise complaining that they had been treated shabbily both by the Federal Government and Sarawak State Government.

Their contributions were not financially recognized – not even a sen and their welfare were not taken care of, as compared to financial rewards and other perks given to communist terrorists who surrendered.

The heroes were 21 holders of Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) with 16 survivors. Of the total there are two Chinese army officers, one Bidayuh, one Kayan, one Malay and 14 Ibans. But the majorities in the Armed Forces are Malays, according to a book – Crimson Tide over Borneo. The youngest of the PGB holder is ASP Wilfred Gomez of the Police Force.

There were six holders of Sri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa from Sarawak, and with the death of Kanang Anak Langkau, there is one SP holder in the person of Sgt. Ngalinuh (an Orang Ulu).

Kanang Anak Langkau was the holder of both the SP and PGB. Their contributions were initially not rewarded, not even a sen except they received pensions like other retired civil servants. 

The heroes were not even invited to attend national day celebrations.

Angered by the ill-treatment, Kanang even refused ‘Datukship’ offered to him saying he was a poor man and could not afford to receive the title of ‘Datukship’.

Their woes got the attention of the MP for Lubok Antu Jawah Gerang who raised the issue in Parliament some time in 1980s. Approved by the government, a PGB holder was given a monthly allowance of RM300 and a SP holder RM400.

For PGB holders like Sgt Dajai Angie, their allowances were backdated to 1973. (Dajai was given the bravery medal in 1971).

In 2006, a delegation of the heroes from Sarawak met with the Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak and appealed to increase their monthly allowances by RM700.

Instead of accepting their recommendation,  Najib who was also the Deputy Prime Minister decided to more than double the increase of the allowance by RM1,600. The issue was brought to Parliament and approved. Thus, a SP holder receives RM2,000 a month, while a PGB holder receives RM1,900 a month.

For his knowledge in Iban traditions and customs, Kanang was later made a Temenggong for the Iban community of Sri Aman division and last year he was conferred a Datukship by the state government.

Kanang passed away at the age of 68 at the Sarawak General Hospital on Thursday morning after complaining of chest pains. He was buried today (Jan 6) with full military honours at the Heroes’ Grave at Jalan Budaya, Kuching.

Meanwhile messages of condolences and sympathy have been received by the family of the late Kanang from government leaders including from Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Born in 1945 in Julau, Kanang joined the Sarawak Rangers as an Iban tracker in 1962. (He was among those recruited by the late Bennett Jarrow). Sarawak Rangers was then part of the British Army and later absorbed into the Malaysian Army’s Royal Ranger Regiment upon the formation of Malaysia in September 1963.

In an incident in Perak on February 8, 1980 a soldier was killed. Kanang leading a platoon was sent to track the enemy down and destroy them. For eleven days they followed the enemy until they stumbled upon a much larger enemy force.

In the ensuing fight, Kanang and his men killed five communists and with one loss of the side of the Rangers with Kanang himself was shot three times.

Kanang’s battle cry ‘Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban’ (as long as I live, I shall fight) inspired his men and other soldiers to fight to death in the defence of the nation.

For his bravery, Kanang was awarded the nation’s two highest awards Sri Pahlawan Perkasa (SP) and the Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) by Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ahmad Shah in June 1981.

He retired as Warrant Officer One (WOI) after serving the army for more than 21 years.

May he rest in peace. 

Thursday, January 3


DAP asks: Where has our RM11 billion gone?

Since 2006, a secretive item titled ‘Government Contribution towards approved Agencies Trust Fund’ has appeared in the annual Sarawak Government’s budgets.

Approximately 50% of the annual state development expenditure is allocated to this trust fund.

In the year 2006, RM520,000,000 out of total development expenditure of RM1,969,822.400 was allocated to the trust fund;  in  2007 RM1,257,000,000 out of RM2,294,174,000 was allocated; in 2008, the amount was RM1,719,083,100 out of RM2,864,929,300, and in 2009, it was RM1,825,061,000 out of  total development expenditure of RM3,075,368,900, and for 2010, the amount allocated was RM1,072,409,800 out of RM2,776,681,600.

For the 2011 state budget, the amount allocated was RM1,416,475,000 out of the total development expenditure of RM3,630,305,950, and in the year 2012, the allocation shot up to RM1,709,463,00 out of RM3,262,759,580 of development expenditure.

And this year the state government has allocated RM1, 853,687,500 out of RM3, 407,339,183 of the state development expenditure.

The total amount allocated to the fund is RM11, 373,179,400 out of RM23, 281,380,913 of total development expenditure for the eight years of state budgets.

Despite the large amount allocated, Taib (State Finance Minister) has refused to disclose who are these so-called ‘agencies’ receiving the ‘contributions’ from the government.

All we were told is that the ‘approved agencies’ are body corporate, companies or organisations which have been approved in writing by the Chief Minister to promote the economic, social or educational advancement of the state.

It can be private companies or cronies or family companies who have received such fund. To many BN politicians, advancement of family business is often equated to ‘economic advancement of the state’. That is why hundreds of acres of State land have been alienated to the crony companies at as low as 10% of the prevailing market prices.

Why is the State Government refusing to disclose the identities of those who have received the funds?

Sarawakians have lost RM10 billion to this State budget ‘black hole’ over the last seven years and another RM1.8 billion this year.

Had this RM10 billion not gone into this black hole, the RM10 billion could be used to:

  • -          Upgrade Pan Borneo Highway to four-lane for the whole of Sarawak;
  • -          Provide 10,000 full overseas medical scholarships;
  • -          Build 100,000 of units median-cost houses, easing the financial burden of the people;
  • -          Give RM3,700 to every Sarawakian;
  • -          Build 20 equivalents of Sarawak General Hospital;
  • -          Pay 20 years of salaries for all Sarawak state civil servants ; or
  • -          Build 2,000 A-grade schools……

(Note: These details are in the DAP flyer and will be distributed to voters in order to raise their awareness on the blunders made by the state government. More of such flyers will be distributed from time to time as part of its campaign strategy).

Saturday, November 24

Global pressure against Taib’s mega dams

The Bruno Manser Fund wants Sarawak Energy Bhd to declare its finances, contracts and funders linked to the development of mega dams in Sarawak.

KUCHING: Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which has been at the forefront of a global campaign against Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s land “development” policy which has stripped the state’s verdant rainforest and displaced thousands of indigenous natives, is calling for an independent external review of the Bakun, Bengoh and Batang Ai dams.

It is also demanding for a moratorium on all Sarawak dam construction and for Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), a key player in the development, to sack its chairman, Hamed Abdul Sepawi.

BMF also wants SEB to declare its finances, contracts and funders.

It is also exerting pressure on foreign corporations, which it alleged were closely linked to Taib’s global business empire, to shun the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)
It claimed “any involvement in Taib government’s hydropower programme is inextricably linked to corruption, environmental damage and human rights violations”.

In a report released today entitled “Sold Down the River. How Sarawak Dam Plans Compromise the Future of Malaysia’s Indigenous Peoples”, BMF disclosed that many of companies involved were closely linked to Taib and to his family-linked Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS).

“Foreign corporate actors, such as Australia’s Hydro Tasmania, Snowy Mountains Engineering Company (SMEC), GHD, the US consultant MWH Global, Norway’s Norconsult, Germany’s Fichtner and construction companies such as China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Sinohydro have concluded a ‘pact with the devil’ and are assisting the Taib government with its dam projects,” it said.

The report also named the “funding agencies” behind the Sarawak dam plans to include RHB Bank, EON Bank and AmInvestment Bank alongside Kuwait Finance House and Kenanga Investment Bank, which is a joint venture between CMS and Deutsche Bank.

The report further examined the dam plans that form part of SCORE, which is seen as “Southeast Asia’s most ambitious and most expensive energy project”.

The project, BMF noted, has a “planned investments of up to US$105 billion by 2030”.

According to BMF, some tens of thousands of indigenous people affected by the massive project are facing forced displacement from their traditional lands.

Sarawak has ‘excess’ power

The report noted that under the guise of “development”, the Taib government is planning to virtually dam all the rivers in the state’s interior, irrespective of the social and environmental implications.

“The dam plans are being pushed ahead under a cloak of secrecy. If implemented, they would entail the cultural genocide of a significant part of Sarawak’s rich indigenous culture,” it said.

A first series of 12 dams is currently being implemented by SEB, which holds monopoly on the state’s power supply.

The report stressed the fact that Sarawak is already facing a “excess power” situation.

“The current peak demand in Sarawak is around 1,000 megawatts (MW) and is thus far less than the power that can be produced by the recently completed Bakun dam alone, which, with a capacity of 2400 MW, is Asia’s largest dam outside China.”

BMF said that the Taib government and SEB, as the implementing agency, were facing increasing opposition from the affected communities.

“Representatives of SAVE Rivers, a Sarawak network set up to fight the Taib government’s dam plans, are currently embarking on a tour through Australia.

“The Hydro Tasmania-out-of-Sarawak tour is aimed at increasing the pressure on publicly-owned Hydro Tasmania, one of the most important corporate actors involved in the Sarawak dam plans,” it noted.

On Tuesday, Save Rivers chairman Peter Kallang said the tour aimed to enlighten Australians on the situation with the dams and urge the locals to pressure the Australian government into compelling Hydro Tasmania to rescind its decision to participate in the venture.

Tuesday, November 13

PRS jittery over PBDS possible return?

Former leaders of deregistered PBDS claim there are still 100,000 ex-members who are awaiting its registration and return.

KUCHING: Is the revival of the de-registered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) a threat to James Masing-led Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS)? Is that why PRS secretary-general Wilfred Nissom unleashed a volley of questions at its former PBDS leaders?

In a SMS message to FMT following reports that former PBDS leaders had met up at a reunion dinner and the party’s status was discussed, Nisson asked: “What are these ex-PBDS members up to in reviving the party?

“Is it a response to PRS’s stance? Or is it going to contribute to Dayak solidarity?”

Nissom said it is crucial that protem officials of PBDS Baru, which is pending registeration, explain their status.

“Is it [PBDS Baru] going to contest PRS’ claim of being the continuation of PBDS?

“Or is it going to recover the Dayak majority seats that PRS cannot claim back due to the fact that PRS is a member of the Barisan Nasional?

“How PBDS Baru chooses to answer these questions will determine whether the party can be said to be good or otherwise for Sarawak and Dayaks in particular,” he said.

PBDS was deregistered on Oct 21, 2004 when Masing, who was then PBDS publicity chief and Sng Chee Hua, then PBDS senior vice-president, were attempting to dislodge Daniel

Tajem as PBDS president in the 2003 party triennial delegates’ conference.

Tajem’s team mate was Joseph Salang.

100,000 members partyless

The challenge created an unresolved leadership crisis which led to the party to be deregistered in October 2004. It was the same day Masing formed PRS.

Masing is the PRS president.

Of 148,000 members, some 40,000 are now with PRS and other parties including BN component parties.

But more than 100,000 of them have remained partyless until today and their anger against Masing is just like the “embers of a fire”. They have blamed Masing for the crisis.

Masing, they said, chose to side with Sng instead of Salang.

In the effort to get rid of Tajem, Masing cooperated with Sng to destroy PBDS and was blind to the real character of Sng.

The Ibans likened Masing’s association with Sng to “Kumang nupi sawa” (Kumang rearing a python) which in the end would devour him.

(When they formed PRS, Sng, who was deputy president then, tried to get rid of Masing in May 2006. Sng’s efforts almost landed PRS in big trouble including deregistration)

Meanwhile, responding to Nissom’s questions, Louis Jarau, protem president of PBDS Baru, said there is nothing for Nissom or PRS to be afraid of as their efforts to register PBDS Baru do not concern him or his party.

“We are not disturbing other people. We just want the party to be registered. Is anything wrong with that?

“It is yet to be registered, so why are you so concerned with PBDS Baru?” he said, pointing out that PRS should be more concerned with the coming general election as Sarawak Workers Party is after them.

PBDS Baru no concern of PRS

Jarau said that the purpose of reviving the party was to continue with the struggle left unfinished with PBDS’ deregistration.

“We don’t want to pick quarrel with anybody. Whosoever is partyless and shares our struggle can join our party once it is registered.

“As a Dayak-based party, PBDS Baru will be the platform for the Dayaks to voice their concerns. This will be the difference between PBDS Baru and PRS which is a multi-racial,” he said.

He lamented that as of now no party, especially in BN, has expressed concern over the way the Dayaks are being treated.

On the coming election, Jarau said: “We never think about it. Our priority is to get the party registered.

“If it cannot be registered under this present government, we will wait for a new government that can be more sympathetic to our cause.

“I am sure things will change after the general election,” he added.

Before its deregistration, PBDS was the second biggest party in the state BN at one time with 15 state assemblymen and nine MPs.


Sunday, October 28

What’s really left of our forest, Taib?’

Does the Sarawak government even know how much of the state's rainforest is left?

KUCHING: Conflicting statements from Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his much-speculated successor Awang Tengah Ali Hassan over the size of Sarawak’s remaining rainforest have raised more questions.

According to Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian, last week Taib said that 48% of the land mass in the state was still covered with forest.

The same Taib in a YouTube video posted last year claimed that 70% of Sarawak’s forest was intact, which is equivalent to about 8.68 million hectares (ha). This year the figure is 6 million ha.

“This means that in just over one year, 2.68 million ha of our forest has been destroyed. Is the chief minister intending to continue clearing what is left?

“Will the figure next year be five million ha? What about the disastrous consequences of the deforestation that have been carried out to date?” asked Bian.

Sarawak’s total land mass is about 12.4 million ha.

Taib’s statement also contradicts comments made by Awang Tengah, who is Resource Planning and Environment Second Minister, on the same issue.

Bian said in February this year, Awang Tengah declared proudly at the World Wetlands Day celebrations that the state is more than 80% covered with forest.

He also declared that the state has targeted to turn some one million ha of its natural forest by 2020 into totally protected areas in the form of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

A further six million ha will be left untouched to become permanent forest while another two million ha has been approved for forest rehabilitation programme.

“Now we’re left confused. If the chief minister says that there is only six million ha of forest left and Awang Tengah says one million ha will be turned into totally protected areas and six million ha will be left untouched, then all logging activities should stop immediately to preserve the six million ha that is left.

“But that still leaves us with one million ha short for the totally protected areas.

“Clearly, the authorities do not wish to disclose the statistics to the public, judging from the conflicting figures presented to the public.

“Perhaps they do not know themselves how much of our forests is left. At the same time, they deny the claims of environmentalists that judging from satellite images, Sarawak has lost up to 90% of its primary forest cover.

“The land belongs to the people of Sarawak and the authorities have been entrusted to manage and protect this precious lifeline of the people.

“The least they can do is to disclose the accurate figures to the public instead of giving us such confusing and conflicting figures,” Bian said.

Define ‘forests’

He said the conflicting statements are not helping dispel people’s growing distrust of the BN government.

Already hogging the alternative media headlines and online Radio Free Sarawak broadcasts are widespread allegations of land grabs and self-enriching projects by those in power.

Said Bian: “There are now more questions than answers. What are they to do with the countless number of people displaced and dispossessed by logging and plantation companies which are now fighting for their NCR lands?

“What about the destruction of the habitat of wildlife by these companies and the loss of the sources of food and medicinal plants for the people who live off the land?

“And the pollution and silting of the rivers caused by the logging activities and the resulting loss of fish and aquatic life?”

He also questioned the quality of the remaining forest and urged the government to define the term “forest”.

“Do planted forests and plantations come under the government’s definition of ‘forest’?

“How much of the merchantable timber is left? In many areas, the natives are left with low-grade timber which they cannot use for building their houses or boats.

“The other burning issues for me are how much of the land in Sarawak are plantation land, and protected forests and how much of the protected areas have been excised for plantations by the government,” said Bian, who is also Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.

-  Free Malaysia Today

Monday, October 22

‘Sarawak’s paper millionaires’

The state government claims that they have created 2,000 millionaires through the Native Customary Rights JV concept, but others claim they are only paper millionaires.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government claims that they have created 2,000 millionaires through the new Native Customary Rights concept but detractors say they are “paper millionaires”

Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian says that they are only paper millionaires.

He was refuting claims by assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Bumiputera Entrepreneur Development) Mohd Naroden Majais’ statement that 2,000 participant in the NCR exercise were now millionaires.

Naroden had said that through the NCR land development and new concept through JV, about 2,000 landowners who have 50 acres and above now are holding assets worth a million ringgit.

“Therefore, we can say that the scheme has created not less than 2,000 rural Bumiputera millionaires,” the assistant minister had said.

Bian who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman said: “His statement is misleading. In terms of acreage you may say they are ‘paper millionaires’.

“The truth is that they are ‘bankrupt millionaires’, because they have not been paid their dues by the investors and government agency’s agent like Pelita or LCDA (Land Custody Development Authority).

“Two cases had been nullified by the court including the brain child NCR land project of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud in Machan, Kanowit.

“After nine years the investors said that there are no profits so there are no dividends, so what millionaires is he is talking about?

Commenting on the same issue, Patrick Sibat Sujang, a former NCR land development committee member of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) accused the assistant minister of misleading the people.

“While on paper, the value of the land could be worth millions of ringgit, but it is useless and meaningless to the landowners as under the JV concept, the landowners had surrendered their land to the JV companies.

“As the landowners have no rights to their land, they are now at the mercy of the investors. They cannot sell their land or get back their land.

“To me the landowners are condemned to poverty for the next 60 years,” said Sujang, pointing out that some landowners received no dividend at all.

“Even if some of them are paid dividends, it is far below the poverty line, and some scheme participants in Lubok Antu received less than RM10 worth of dividend per year,” he said.

“Tell me how the landowners can become millionaires under this concept?

Sujang believed that the only way the landowners can become rich is for the new concept to be replaced by a rental system.

-      - Taken from Free Malaysia Today

Monday, October 15

Stop the race game, warns Nazri

The de facto law minister says that stern action will be taken against any one that fan racial and religious hatred in the country.

TAIPING: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has given a final warning to all quarters to stop harping on the sensitive issues of race and religion or face legal consequences.

“This is my last warning to all to stop harping on racial and religious issues and I don’t want to repeat this again,” said Nazri.

“As the law minister, I shall ensure that stern action is taken against any quarters that fan racial and religious hatred (among the various races in the country)” he said.

He was speaking at a fund raising dinner organised by the Persatuan Kebajikan See Hai Keng Si  Trong in Simpang here on Saturday night. The event was attended by leaders from Umno, Gerakan and Pakatan Rakyat, which included Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming.

Nazri said that after 55 years of independence, the nation should not be divided along racial or religious lines and the government would not tolerate such hatred to divide the racially united country.

The Umno leader also said that all the races in the country were rightful citizens of Malaysia and there should be no racial discrimination by calling the Chinese and Indians as “pendatang” as they have also contributed greatly to the economic growth of the nation.

He called all quarters to think as one Malaysian race as propagated by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s slogan of 1Malaysia for the nation to progress towards vision 2020.

Nazri also contributed RM100,000 to the Persatuan’s fundraising campaign while other political leaders also chipped in with their contributions.
Nazri, in his speech, paid glowing recognition to the contributions of the Chinese community who had played a major role in contributing to the fast economic development of Malaysia.

He said the two states of Kenya and Uganda in Africa had also attained independences during the same time when Malaysia received her Merdeka but the African states did not progress economically like this nation.

He reasoned that had the Chinese community made their presence felt in the two African states, than these states would have progressed economically well like Malaysia.

-     Source: Free Malaysia Today.

Comment:  He appears to be giving warning after warning. So far no action has been taken against religious fanatics. We are waiting for his action!