Wednesday, December 31

Our resolution for 2009

As we bid farewell to 2008 and welcome 2009, let us reminisce what we have tried to achieve. For The Broken Shield, I believe, it has highlighted Dayak politics, economy, education, and other problems confronting the community.

It has tried to instill self-respect to the community, to create awareness on our social and cultural responsibility and to drive home the importance of unity, as well as to imbue a feeling of oneness and a sense of belonging in the face of common problems and adversity.

I believe that The Broken Shield has also tried to raise political awareness among the Dayaks – how and why we have remained politically disunited; how and why we have remained mired in the shackles of poverty; how and why we are not even allowed to form our own Dayak political party; and there are so many “hows”, so many “whys” and so many “whats”.

For the year 2009, let us – the bloggers, the readers and other internet savvies – renew our pledge to work harder and together to find the answers to those “hows”, “whys” and “whats”. Let us turn our internet into a “newspaper” as an effective weapon to gain knowledge, to communicate with one another, and even to turn it into a platform to conduct or discuss issues of interests. Our main audience is young Dayaks who are ICT literate.

Why young Dayaks? For change to take place in our community, we should concentrate our efforts on them as they are the ones who can understand the current issues better and can see reasons clearer as to the “hows”, the “whys” and the “whats” things are happening.

Our elder generations especially those above 50 are too much “barisanised” and they are hard to change. In our efforts to find the answers to the above questions, we are sure to meet stiff opposition from our own kind. But let us not be deterred by any adverse comments. Instead such comments should inspire us.

For the bloggers, the year 2009 may see the formation of Dayak Bloggers Association (DABA) as the move is now afoot. Through this association, members can effectively raise issues concerning the community. While some should continue to raise issues on politics, others should touch on economic, finance, welfare, education, laws, ICT and other issues in order to inform and educate our readers.

In this way, we all can contribute to bring changes for the better to our community. This is our objective so that Sarawak, to borrow Martin Luther King’s phrases, “one day, a State sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice” and where the Dayaks “will one day live in a Nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” - The Broken Shield


Friday, December 26

SUPP must walk the talk

The Broken Shield today welcomes the explanation given by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president, Dr. George Chan that the party has never neglected the interests of the Dayaks in the party.

“As far as SUPP is concerned, we have never neglected the interests of our Dayak members as well as the Dayak community in general,” Chan said in replying to our earlier posting in The Broken Shield which said that SUPP had failed to highlight the interests of its Dayak members.

SUPP must walk the talk and should not be scared to tell the all too powerful Chief Minister regarding the problems faced by the Dayak community especially in respect of the taking away of the NCR land by big oil palm companies.

Many of the directors of these companies have not only links with SUPP, but some of them are even members of the party. These companies which have been given provisional leases to plant oil palm have uprooted the Dayaks’ traditional way of life when they take away their ancestral lands where they and their forefathers have been farming for centuries. Fruit trees, cash crops, longhouses, and pendam (graveyards) have been destroyed without any compensation being paid because the so-called lands belong to the State.

And one of the ways how SUPP can walk the talk is to advise the companies to negotiate with the longhouse people and come up with a win-win solution rather than showing their arrogance and disrespect towards the Dayak Adat by bulldozing their way to the Dayaks’ land, clearing and destroying all the things that are so dear to them. By showing their arrogance, the companies are inviting trouble as the land owners are bound to retaliate either by putting up blockades or by resorting to court of law to seek injunctions, justice and compensations.

Incidentally, there are about 200 cases waiting to be heard by the court against these companies for trespassing into their lands. A few of the cases that have been heard favour the land owners.

According to Andrew Shilling, Dayaks form 30% of SUPP’s membership and if that is the case, Dayaks should be given more “shares” in SUPP may be in the ratio of 30:70 between Dayaks and Chinese.

In the Federal Cabinet, there is no Dayak representation from SUPP; it should have recommended Richard Riot who has been very loyal to SUPP since 1993 to be appointed one of the two posts of deputy ministers instead of Robert Lau.

After all, the Chinese are well represented in the Federal cabinet. In the State level, Ranum Mina should be appointed assistant minister in addition to Francis Harden to reflect the Dayak membership in the party. There are two vacancies for SUPP that are yet to be filled.

So far Dr. Chan and Andrew Shilling have made comments to my posting, what have the Dayak YBs in SUPP got to say? The readers of this blog would like to hear their comments.

Anyway if SUPP is really sincere towards the Dayaks and dares to help Dayaks protect their customary rights over land, then show it by actions and not by explanations, for actions speak louder than words. – The Broken Shield
Below is an article taken from Malaysiakini re to my article above.
Don't be afraid of Taib, Supp told
Tony Thien Dec 27, 08 1:50pm
The Sarawak United People’s Party (Supp) should not be fearful to tell all-powerful Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud about the plight of the Dayak community, especially vast tracts of natives’ land being given to oil palm companies, said a Dayak political analyst.

Many of the owners of these companies not only have links with the largely Chinese-based Supp, but some of them are even members of the party, said Joseph Tawie, a well-known local blogger.

Tawie’s latest posting in his ‘The Broken Shield’ blog was in response to Deputy Chief Minister and Supp president Dr George Chan’s denial that the party had neglected its Dayak members.

In an earlier posting, Tawie described Dayak leaders in Supp, Sarawak’s oldest political party, as “mere by-standers” as the party mostly caters to the needs and interest of the Chinese community.

The oil palm companies are given provisional leases to clear the land belonging to the Dayaks. In taking away the Dayaks’ ancestral lands where they and their forefathers have been farming for centuries, these companies have uprooted the natives’ traditional way of life.

Fruit trees, cash crops, longhouses and ‘pendam’ (graveyards) have been destroyed without any compensation as the ‘so-called lands’ belong to the state, decried Tawie.

Tawie, who is also the yet-to-be-registered Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) information chief, said: “One of the ways Supp can walk the talk is to advise the companies to negotiate with the longhouse people and come up with a win-win solution rather than showing their arrogance and disrespect towards the Dayak adat by bulldozing their way to the Dayaks’ land, clearing and destroying all the things that are so dear to them.

”By showing their arrogance, the companies are also inviting trouble as the landowners have retaliated by erecting blockades or resorting to the courts to seek injunctions, justice and compensations, he said.

There are about 200 cases pending in the court against these companies for trespassing on their lands. A few of the cases that have been heard favour the landowners.

Explanation accepted, now walk the talk

The blogger also said he welcomed the explanation from Chan in defending his party’s policy on the Dayaks. “As far as Supp is concerned, we have never neglected the interests of our Dayak members as well as the Dayak community in general,” Chan said in replying to an earlier posting in ‘The Broken Shield’ which accused Supp of failing to highlight the interests of its Dayak members.

According to a Supp Dayak leader, Andrew Shilling - who is also a political secretary to the chief minister - Dayaks form 30 percent of Supp’s membership.

Joseph said Dayaks should be given more leadership posts in Chinese-dominated Supp, perhaps at the ratio of 30:70.

In the federal cabinet, there is no Dayak representation from Supp, lamented Tawie. The party should have recommended Richard Riot, the Serian MP, who has been very loyal to Supp since 1993 to filled one of the two deputy ministers posts instead of Robert Lau, the MP for Bandar Sibu. “After all, the Chinese are well-represented in the federal cabinet.

At the state level, Ranum Mina should be appointed assistant minister in addition to Francis Harden to reflect the Dayak membership in the party. There are two vacancies for Supp that are yet to be filled,’ he added.

Wednesday, December 24

SUPP has never neglected interest of Dayaks: Dr Chan ~ ref. The Borneo Post

Dear readers,

The following article entitled "SUPP has never neglected interest of Dayaks: Dr Chan" was published in The Borneo Post today, 24 December 2008 (page 3).

The article was in response to my posting in this blog entitled "What is the Dayaks' role in SUPP?" (22 Dec 2008) and was later republished in Malaysiakini news portal. Click here.

As Christmas is approaching, I will taking a few days 'leave' before I response to the news report. In the meantime, I would like to hear some comments from my valued readers on this issue.

Thank you & have fun!


Tuesday, December 23


To all Christian relatives, friends, readers of this blog
wherever you are, I would like to wish you all:-


May this Christmas and the coming new year
bring you joy, love, peace and prosperity.

To all readers who have visited and/or left comments in this blog, I like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you
from the bottom of my heart. It is because of people like you that I continue to write.

Thank You & Best Regards.

Monday, December 22

What is the Dayaks’ role in SUPP?

Are Dayaks' YBs in SUPP mere by-standers?

When Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) delegates discussed issues pertaining to Chinese interests on 14 Nov 2008 in Kuching, a handful of its Dayak members sat in silence. After all what could they say when the party leaders and members talked nothing, but the Chinese interests – that the teaching of mathematics and science subjects in Chinese primary schools must be in their mother tongue, the granting of annual grants to Chinese-aided and Chinese independent schools, the town land premium, the future of Chinese, etc and etc.

For a Chinese party such as SUPP, it is natural for the members to be concerned with issues affecting their community, because these are the issues that have been and will continue to be exploited by the Opposition. In the 2006 State election these were the issues that led to SUPP losing eight seats out of 19 it contested.

SUPP leaders and members were discussing ways and means how the party could in the next election recapture the eight seats, and increasingly becoming more frightening at the prospects of big losses especially after the Opposition’s victory in the March election winning five State governments in West Malaysia and the Opposition’s determination to make Sarawak its sixth State government.

Naturally SUPP’s efforts are focused on its battle in urban areas like Kuching, Sibu and Miri; however in the process, the party seems to pay little attention to the interests of the rural communities whose support is also equally critical to ensure its survival.

And reading through the lists of office-bearers of women, youth and the main body, the highest position occupied by a Dayak is the Deputy Secretary-General II by Francis Harden who is also the State Assemblyman for Simanggang.

But what about roles to be played by three other Dayak elected representatives, Richard Riot, the MP for Serian, Ranum Mina, State Assemblyman for Opar and Dr. Jerip Susil, State Assemblyman for Bengoh?

Even though they represent Dayak majority constituencies, it appears the YBs are mere by-standers, only to be called in to add to the numbers. And ignoring the interests of the Dayaks can be fatal to SUPP’s survival more so when the Opposition is making major inroads into the rural areas. Judging by the results of the last State election, SUPP’s position is appeared to be shaky in constituencies where Dayaks form a sizeable number of voters.

Excluding Engkilili (where Dayaks form 86% of the electorate) Meradong (Dayaks 37%), and Kidurong (Dayaks 34%) which are already in the hands of the Opposition, SUPP’s other semi-urban and rural constituencies such as Simanggang (Dayaks 55%) Repok (Dayaks 17%), Dudong (Dayaks 37%), Bawang Assan (Dayaks 30%) Kidurong (Dayaks 34%), and Senadin (Dayaks 30%) are also in precarious positions.

Can SUPP afford to ignore the interests of the Dayaks? - The Broken Shield
Dear readers,

Here's an article which appeared in today's Malaysiakini commenting on the above article. I would like to thank Malaysiakini especially Mr Tony Thien for the write-up. Best regards.

Don't ignore the Dayaks, Supp warned
Tony Thien Dec 22, 08 6:47pm

For a party that represents Dayak majority constituencies in Sarawak, the Sarawak United People's Party (Supp) has failed in highlighting the plights of this community, said a popular blogger-cum-politician. He also accused the party of being a mere bystander, only to be called in to add to the numbers."Ignoring the interests of the Dayaks can be fatal to the party's survival more so when the opposition is making major inroads into the rural areas,' said Joseph Tawie, a well-known Dayak blogger.

Joseph said that judging by the results of the last state elections, Supp's position appeared to be shaky in constituencies where Dayaks form a sizeable number of voters and he wondered if the party can continue to ignore the interest of the Dayaks.

The political analyst, also the pro-tem information chief of the yet-to-be-registered Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC), added that many of the Dayak-majority constituencies were in danger of collapsing to the opposition in the next state elections.

He also noted that the state constituencies of Engkilili, Meradong and Kidurong - all which has a high number of Dayak voters - were already in the hands of the opposition.

Joseph also pointed out that when Supp delegates discussed issues pertaining to Chinese interests on Nov 14 in Kuching, a handful of its Dayak members could only sit and observe in silence.

He added that there was nothing these Dayak members could say when the party leaders and members were more interested in raising issues pertaining to Chinese interests - issues such as that the need to use mother tongue for the teaching of mathematics and science subjects in Chinese primary schools, the granting of annual grants to Chinese-aided and Chinese independent schools, the town land premium, the future of Chinese among others.

He said that for a Chinese party such as Supp, it was natural for the members to be concerned with issues affecting their community.

This was because these were the issues that have been and will continue to be exploited by the opposition, he added. In the 2006 state elections these were the issues that led to Supp losing eight seats out of 19 it contested. Worried over the opposition march

At the moment, Supp leaders and members were discussing ways and means on their battle plans for the next state elections, especially in recapturing the eight seats which it lost the last time around.

The party was increasingly worried with the onward march of the opposition which saw a huge victory in the last general election and has now openly proclaimed Sarawak as its next target, to make the state the sixth Pakatan Rakyat-controlled state.

"Naturally Supp's efforts are focused on its battle in urban areas like Kuching, Sibu and Miri. However in the process, the party seems to pay little attention to the interests of the rural communities whose support is also equally critical to ensure its survival," Joseph said.

And reading through the lists of office-bearers of the party, the highest position occupied by a Dayak is the deputy secretary-general II position held by Francis Harden, who is also the state assemblyperson for Simanggang.

"But what about roles to be played by three other Dayak elected representatives - the MP for Serian Richard Riot, assemblyperson for Opar Ranum Mina and Dr Jerip Susil, the state representative for Bengoh?" he asked.

Friday, December 19

Who are the biggest culprits against Dayak Adat? ~ ref. Malaysiakini

“I will give Jabu 72 hours to respond,
failing which we will institute legal proceedings
without any further reference to him”.

It is the arrogance of a man who has been a minister and deputy chief minister for more than 30 years as he thinks he knows “best” and the rest of the people are stupid. Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang has been attacking, chiding and criticising any one or organisation that crosses his path. Nowadays his latest “victim” is Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat and leader of the parliamentary Opposition.

During the last sitting of the Council Negeri in November, Jabu accused Anwar Ibrahim of not respecting the Dayak Adat, when he visited a longhouse in Lubok Antu on 24 May 08. Jabu said: “The longhouse suffered a sudden death that day and apparently certain quarters had blamed Anwar for not having cleansed himself since he was convicted of sodomy charge.”

Jabu said that Anwar was regarded as still “apin bersih” (not clean) in Dayak Adat and must undergo “enselan” (cleansing ritual usually with the blood of a hen or a pig in the case of an Iban leader). Nowadays, whenever he visited longhouses in Betong or Lubok Antu, Jabu kept on recycling his rebuke of Anwar. (It is understood that Anwar has demanded an apology from Jabu over the accusation.)

But Jabu has conveniently forgotten that oil palm companies, the Cabinet ministers and the State Government are the biggest culprits against the Dayak Adat. They have no respect for the Adat when they not only destroy fruit trees and crops planted on their farms, but they do not also respect the Native customary rights of the farmers over their land which their forefathers had created hundreds of years ago. Their “tembawai” (sites of previous longhouses), “pendam tuai” (centuries old graveyards) and their longhouses have also been bulldozed and demolished by these companies.

As a result of these companies having “kurang ajar” or no respect on the Dayak Adat, thousands of the Natives and their families have suffered; some have lost their lands, their longhouses and incomes. Worse, many have been criminalized and sent to jail for defending their Adat, and many more Natives have to incur money unnecessarily to engage lawyers to bring these companies to court.

Now who are the biggest culprits against the Dayak Adat – the accuser or the accused?

And let me quote a passage or two from the Holy Bible. Matthew 7: 3: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in their own eye?

5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” - The Broken Shield

Thursday, December 18

Naroden - Simunjan’s oil palm king

For most of our elected representatives be they MPs or DUN members, they do not want to antagonize the Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud because they know the consequences. In fact almost all of them heaping praises on him hoping that their voices can be heard. Once he notices you and becomes his confidant, you are on the way to a millionaire’s club.

Look at the State Assemblyman for Simunjan, YB Haji Mohd Naroden bin Haji Majais, who comes from an average family in Gedong. Since he became YB in the 1991 State election, he not only becomes a confidant of the Chief Minister and is now an assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s department, but also he is locally known as the “king of oil palm” in Simunjan owning among the largest areas of oil palm.

According to the Land and Survey Department’s Laporan Statistic Suku Ketiga Tahun 2005 (Statistic Report for Third quarter 2005) his companies have now owned seven areas in Simunjan consisting of 16,486 hectares (roughly 41,215 acres) of land for the planting of oil palm.

The breakdown is as follows:-
  • Tanjong Midin, Batang Kerang, Simunjan/Serian, Lot 2984 Melikin land district of 4555 hectares approved in 1996 under the Pelita Nirwana Muhibbah Sdn Bhd;
  • Batang Kerang, Simunjan/Serian, Lot 2981 Melikin land district with 3770 hectares approved in 1988 under the Gedong Plantation Sdn Bhd;
  • Batang Kerang, Simunjan/Serian, Lot 2980 Melikin land district with 3480 hectares approved in 1988 under the Gedong Plantation Sdn Bhd;
  • Between Batang Sadong and Sungai Simunjan, Lot 1226 Sedilu Gedong land district with 2182 hectares approved in 2004 under the Hydroflow Sdn Bhd;
  • Between Lubuk Teba and Sungai Sentok, Gedong, Lot 1227 Sedilu Gedong land district with 593 hectares approved in 2004 under the Hydroflow Sdn Bhd;
  • Tanjung Embang, Simunjan, Lot 1228 Sedilu Gedong land district with 189 hectares approved in 2003 under the Indranika Jaya Sdn Bhd;
  • Between Tanjung Sap and Sunhgai Benat B, Simunjan, Lot 1229 with 1717 hectares approved in 2003 under Indranika Sdn Bhd.

This list is only up to the third quarter of 2005, but what about from thereon to this day? Imagine the amount of money his companies have earned all this while when CPO (Crude Palm Oil) was RM3,000 in March this year from the matured oil palms.

We do not envy him, or jealous of him (incase Alfred Jabu says so,) and how can we envy him when we, as voters, also contribute to his wealth. But what we – Malay and Iban voters – ask of him is that he should leave our NCR land alone. - The Broken Shield


Tuesday, December 16

MDC letter to the British Government

Representatives from the Dayak community of Sarawak should have been invited to attend a briefing at the House of Lords regarding the plight of the Malaysian Indians on 8 December 2008. After all, the plights of the Dayaks and Indians are almost the same.

British Conservative Shadow Minister for Education and a Member of the House of Lords, Baroness Verma of Leicester hosted the briefing on the plight of minority Indian rights of Malaysia. The briefing followed a letter written to the British Government by the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) in November last year and later HINDRAF demonstrations to highlight their problems.

Held at the House of Lords on behalf of the friends of minority communities in Malaysia, the purpose of the briefing was for members of the House of Lords and House of Commons to obtain a true picture on the plight of the ethnic minority Indian community in Malaysia.

Giving the briefing were the Director of Public Policy of Hindu American Foundation Ishani Chowdhury, Director of Centre for Public Policy Studies Malaysia Tricia Yeoh, Human Rights Advocate Malaysia P. Waythamoorthy and Editor of Malaysiakini K. Kabilan.

It is sad that Malaysian Dayaks have not been invited to attend the briefing even though we wrote a letter to the British High Commission. In fact the protem secretary general of the yet-to-be registered Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) wrote a letter a month earlier than the HINDRAF, to the British High Commission.

Copies of the letter were sent to Foreign Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, Registrar of Societies and American Embassy regarding the gross injustices and discrimination by the authorities against the Dayaks who were once the British subjects before Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya formed the federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. Our letter was apparently ignored as we did not organise “strikes to highlight our problems” as the Indians did or that we were/are a coward lot; or that we have become irrelevant.

Let me produce excerpts of the letter for all of us to see. (Full details of the letter are published in The Broken Shield – The Dayak Dilemma due to be out soon). The letter dated 18 October 2007 said: -

"We feel that we have the right to bring to the attention of Her Majesty Government, as our former colonial masters regarding our plight, hoping that Her Majesty can advise the Malaysian authorities to accord the Dayak community the privileges and rights as enshrined in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and the Malaysian Agreement.

“Our customary rights over land, with the passing of amendments to the Land Code
have been taken away from the Dayaks and are being given to rich businessmen or
companies under the guise of Provisional Lease for the cultivation of oil palm in big scales. While other communities have progressed by leaps and bounds, the Dayaks have remained mired in the doldrums of poverty, little better, if at all, as they had been under the British tutelage. There is a difference, however, while the British Government guaranteed the rights to land held under customary laws, but in our present situation the opposite seems to operate adversely against the Dayak community.

“As if these discriminations are not enough, the Dayaks are not even allowed to
form a party of their own to articulate their political, educational, cultural, economic and social aspirations. What Dayak-based parties they had in the past were being deregistered one by one – first the authorities deregistered Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and then Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) both on flimsiest reasons. The Dayaks who number about 60% of the State population are encouraged to be members of every political party by the BN leaders. This is a subtle way of ‘divide and rule’ community.

“Following the deregistration of PBDS in October 2004, some ex-PBDS members on 6 May 2005 submitted an application to register Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC).
After more than one year of submission, the application was rejected by the Registrar of Societies on 19 July 2006 under Article 7 (3) of the Societies Act giving reasons that MDC would be a potential threat to national security for its rejection.
“It is in this light that we the protem committee members and the Dayak community who were once Her Majesty’s subjects appeal to Her Majesty Government to put pressure on the Malaysian Government.”

Strange it may seem, the Indians have also taken a similar course of action against the British Government, except that they were more aggressive, more demanding and took their problems to the streets. So on 25 November 2007, they launched what is famously known as the HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) march to the British High Commission handing a note to Her Majesty Government.

Although the Dayaks have missed the first briefing, it is hoped that another briefing may be called specifically to hear the grouses of the Dayaks. Through this blog we appeal to the British High Commission to arrange for the protem committee members to meet any British leader, British MP, or staff of the High Commission so that the committee members can brief any one of them on the plight of the Dayaks. – The Broken Shield

Sunday, December 14

The Layar constituency: The battle of relatives

In the next State election, the Opposition is expected to give the BN component parties a run for their money especially in the 29-Dayak majority constituencies. Of all these, the focus is certainly on constituencies like the Layar constituency of Deputy Chief Minister, Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang who has lately been exchanging spats with the Opposition, Dayak bloggers and leaders of Dayak non-governmental organisations.

They have been questioning the effectiveness of Jabu’s leadership since he became a minister and later deputy chief minister for more than 30 years. These Dayak leaders have been calling for his replacement come the next election. But then it is not going to be easy to dethrone Jabu.

However, the person who is going to challenge him must be someone who is related to Jabu; someone who has an equal number of relatives, because in this constituency it is the number of relatives that counts. It is going to be the battle of relatives.

The constituency has an electorate of 7,415 with 72.2% of them are Ibans, and the majority of them are related to Jabu. Since the 1974 election, Jabu has been challenged by those who were either a political novice with fewer relatives than Jabu’s or with little financial means or those who wanted to “kacau” (disturb) him only.

But the next election that may be called the latest in 2011 is going to be different, as Jabu is expected to face a serious and determined contender, someone who is going to be backed by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and who is related to him. The contender is expected to bank on those voters and his relatives who have not been happy with Jabu as many of his (Jabu’s) promises such as the construction of roads have not been fulfilled.

In the last election, the majority of the Chinese and Malay voters either gave their votes to a SNAP candidate or they absented themselves from voting.

Like the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Jabu is over staying his welcome and no longer has ideas to help the people who want change, the change for the better. But if he is to defend the seat, he is expected to be aggressive in his campaigns, and as in previous campaigns, he often hit his opponents below the belt. But this time around, his opponent is ready to open Jabu’s cupboard where he has allegedly kept many skeletons in the past 30 years. - The Broken Shield

Click here to read comments on the above article by Mr Joe Fernandez @ Fernz.

Saturday, December 13

PRS is worried about PKR influence

It is little doubt that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is making massive political inroads into constituencies held by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Pesaka wing of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), following constant visits made by Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of PKR and other leaders to Sarawak. And starting from this month the frequency of such visits and political talks will be intensified as Sarawak is approaching the next state election.

It seems that only PRS is very worried, while SPDP and Pesaka are just brushing aside PKR influence in their areas, although their seats are also equally vulnerable.

Several PRS leaders have expressed their concerns to Dr. James Masing and have told him that if reports from the ground are any indications, the party may lose as many as eight seats in the coming election. Such reports put PRS in a dilemma so much so that some members even want Masing to bring PRS out of Barisan to “save” the party. And they say there is no point in staying in the BN family when the party has no future and has lost its fighting spirit.

For instance, none of its YBs and leaders dares to speak for Dayaks’ rights such as on NCR land and issues that tend to oppress and suppress the Dayaks, even though it claims to represent the Dayak community.

And those who dare to speak will find themselves in hot water. Beginda Minda, a Masing strong supporter, is a good example. Beginda, who has accused PBB of a big bully and called on Abdul Taib Mahmud and Alfred Jabu to resign, was forced to leave the party.

But up to this day Masing is adamant in remaining with the State Barisan even though his party may lose some of its grassroots leaders and members to PKR. Understandably, Masing has to think of the overall interests of the party, the perks and the comfort that he and other PRS leaders enjoy by remaining in the Barisan.

But that stand of Masing makes some members of the supreme council unhappy and angry. One supreme council member even threatened to resign not only as a supreme council member, but from the party as well.

For SPDP, it is not worried at all about PKR, even though PKR is very active in its constituencies and has been wooing its leaders and supporters. Its deputy president Peter Nyarok described PKR’s plan to conquer Sarawak as “something that can only be achieved in imagination, not in reality”.

Likewise, Pesaka is also not concerned with activities carried out by PKR in its constituencies, because, according to Dr. Stephen Rundi, a Pesaka leader and secretary general of PBB, PKR lacks credibility as well having no capable leaders who can take care of the interests of Sarawakians.

From their statements, it is obvious that SPDP and Pesaka are the least worried and do not believe that the so-called political tsunami that swept five states in West Malaysia into the hands of the Opposition can happen here. SPDP and Pesaka leaders say that Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat are only dreaming.

Before the March elections, complacency was all around in the BN component parties in West Malaysia and when the tsunami did come, they were caught with their pants down and ran helter-skelter. By then it was too late to “save” Selangor, Kedah, Perak, Penang and Kelantan.

Can something like this happen to Sarawak? - The Broken Shield

Friday, December 12

The proposed formation of World Dayak Federation

When the governor of Central Kalimantan province, His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang, who is chairman of Majlis Adat Dayak Nasional (MADN), visited Sarawak and Sabah last week with a delegation of 150 MADN members, he just regarded the visit as an ordinary one. Little did he realize that it marked a new chapter in the relationship between the Dayaks of Kalimantan and the Dayaks of Sabah and Sarawak.

As guests of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and Lembaga Kebudayaan Negeri Sabah (LKNS), they discussed many things of common interests. And out of the discussions came proposals to enhance Dayak cultural heritage, to promote Dayak culture and arts and to form a World Dayak Federation.

It is anticipated that the proposed federation will go along way not only in helping to strengthen the Dayak brotherhood and promote social and cultural interactions among the Dayaks of Kalimantan, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah, but will also help to open a new chapter, a new beginning in providing global linkages and networking.

In today’s borderless world, such a body is more than just networks of Dayaks of Borneo, but one that helps to reach out to those who have similar aspirations in far flung countries of Northern Asia from where Dayaks are believed to have migrated to Borneo and nearby islands some 3,000 years ago.

Other than creating political, cultural and social awareness, it will also provide avenues and opportunities for business cooperation such as in tourism and joint venture projects. With more than 13 million Dayaks all over Borneo, and the development of Dayak human resources and capital, it is certainly a huge market that is waiting to be tapped and harnessed into a source of networking and strength.

Another equally important aspect of the proposed federation that it must look into is the codifying and collating of all customs and laws of the major Dayak tribes in Borneo as such an effort will not only help to preserve our culture and Adat for posterity, but also help to promote them globally.

It is felt therefore that there is an urgency for SDNU, MADN and LKNS to form a committee to look into details, the constitution, objectives and aims of the federation. The sooner this is formed, the better it be for the future well-being of the Dayaks in the Borneo Island.

And with leadership provided by two Dayak icons – Dato Sri Daniel Tajem and Bapak Augustin Teras Narang – the federation is going to play a very important role towards the promotion of understanding, peace and harmony among the Dayaks of Borneo in a world full of conflicts, racial and religious bigotry. Indeed the federation will be the roadmap to stronger ties among the Dayaks.

Knowing the importance of the proposed federation, Bapak Augustin Teras Narang has thrown a challenge to members of MADN, SDNU and LKNS when he says: “Who should do it, if we don’t do it?”

Tuesday, December 9

Fish fry project – a success or a failure?

Each year thousands of fish fry of various species were released into rivers in the State to improve the diet particularly of the rural people. They include Empurau, Semah, Tengadak and both black and red Tilapia.

A native of Africa, the black tilapia not only adapts itself perfectly well to conditions of our rivers, but also upsets the survival of other fish. So plentiful it is in the market that some naughty people name it “Ikan Jabu”. It is so named because Alfred Jabu was the one who released the fry to rivers when he was Minister of Agriculture.

In fact Jabu is proud that the black tilapia has been named after him at least as a way to appreciate his efforts. And when he was questioned at that time as to why he was so much involved in the distribution of fish fry rather than the distribution of bigger projects that would bring greater benefits to the people, he angrily defended his ministry (agriculture) policies to help improve the nutritious foods of the rural people.

Although he is holding the posts of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Ministry of Rural Development now, he still continues to release fish fry to rivers. It is indeed his pre-occupation.

The efforts to release the fish began in earnest in the 1990s at the height of timber operations and extractions. Until today nothing much is heard of other species of fish as there is no study being conducted to determine the percentage of their survival or whether our efforts are a success or a failure?

Timber operations and extractions have caused so much sediment so much so that many “lubok” become “lansar”, and “lansar” become dry, thus literally emptying rivers of fish especially the Empurau and Semah types. This type of fish cannot survive in muddy or murky waters.

Now the State is all out to create a vast empire of oil palm encompassing NCR land belonging to the natives and land owned by the State. Pollutants and chemicals from the operations of these oil palm estates have further damaged our ecological system. Fish population is further affected.

Little wonder, therefore, river fish now, because of its rarity and scarcity, have become very expensive. Because of their good taste and scarcity, Empurau and Semah are the most expensive fish with prices ranging from RM300 to RM450 a kilogram. Even “ikan keli” (local catfish) costs between RM15 and RM18 a kilogram.

With all these fish becoming a rarity and the survival of the fish fry being released into the rivers is unknown, is it not true to say that the efforts to improve the nutritious diet of the rural people have ended disastrously? Secondly, how much money has been spent on this project since the fish fry project was introduced in late 1970s? What are the answers for these two questions?

Monday, December 8

The Jabu condemnation: who will be next?

It is Alfred Jabu’s habit to condemn Dayaks who do not “kow-tow” to him. Since he became YB and minister in 1974, he had been criticising his own people and his choice of words is always similar: anti-establishment, anti-development, instigators, ungrateful, what have you done to help the community, you know how to criticise, etc.

When the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was in the opposition, its leaders - Leo Moggie, Daniel Tajem, Edmund Langgu, Jawi Masing, James Masing, and the late Joseph Samuel, – had also been condemned by Jabu. He had also criticised leaders of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) such as the late Stephen Kalong Ningkan, Dunstan Endawie, Edwin Dundang, Justine Jinggut, Stanley Jugol, etc.

All Dayaks’ non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Sarawak Dayak Graduate Association (SDGA), Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) – have been at the receiving end of his ‘loquacious’ mouth (baka mulut indu).

A couple of days ago, he chided SDNU and SADIA for not praising him and SALCRA for helping the Dayak community. And today, 8 Dec 2008 (according to The Borneo Post), he accused bloggers of discrediting him and SALCRA, instigating the people to go against the government and hampering its efforts by abusing and misusing the internet.

He said: “They blog every day and night but have done nothing for the people. They only talk”.

It is true we have done nothing in term of physical development. But our job is to help change the mindset of the people and help them to know their rights especially their customary rights over land that had been created by their forefathers centuries ago.

As a minister Jabu is in a better position to help the people as he has the federal and state funds at his finger tips. But yet he has failed miserably as many of his projects (kononnya) to help the Dayaks have become white elephants. Perhaps only SALCRA appears to be doing much better than many of his projects. But then he is not the originator of the project.

No doubt some SALCRA participants have received some substantial amount of money from its dividends and bonuses, but the bulk of such money goes to some rich Dayaks and non-Dayaks, while some of the poor Dayak participants receive as little as RM2.70 as dividends. One non-Dayak in Saratok, for example, has received over RM500,000 in dividends last year because some scheme participants have sold their land and shares to the 'Chinaman'. Did Jabu speak about him as a successful SALCRA participant?

On development, it is undeniable that Jabu has brought some development projects to Betong which is under his constituency. But that is Betong only. What about other Dayak areas? In fact some money meant for projects in other divisions have been diverted to Betong.

His political enemies have accused Jabu of only having interests in the development of politics and business for his family and cronies. For example, who is this Gerald Rentap who owns Utahol Sdn Bhd that has been given 6,900 hectares of land, Ulu Medamit, Limbang for the planting of oil palm? And who is this Robert Lawson Chuat who owns Durafarm which was given land totalling 1501.825 hectares at Tanjong Bijat and Skrang Land districts and 3665.1 hectares of land in Betong? And what about Henry Jantum’s Ever Herald Sdn Bhd that was given 2,127 hectares of land of Batang Layar/Batang Lupar land district and another 2,873 hectares of Sablor and Sebelak land districts in Betong?

The way I see it, the more Jabu criticises and condemns people from his community the more he will be isolated and the more people hate him. Now after criticising the Dayak bloggers, who will be his next targets? - The Broken Shield

Response from other blogs:

Sunday, December 7

Dayak Governor visits Tajem

The former President of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Dato Sri Daniel Tajem and his wife, Datin Ivy on Saturday night played hosts to the 150-member delegation of Majlis Adat Dayak Nasional (MADN) led by the Governor of Central Kalimantan (Kalteng), His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang at their residence.

The MADN members were here on a three-day visit to reciprocate the visit made by members of the SDNU early this year.

Also attending the dinner were SDNU president, Mengga Mikui, the president of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Sidi Munan and executive members of the two organisations.

In welcoming the guests, Dato Sri Tajem said that he was greatly honoured to have the opportunity to play host to the most distinguished guest from East Kalimantan, His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang.

“This is the first time that a visitor in the persona of His Excellency the Governor has ever come to visit my humble house since I moved here 22 years ago.

“I hope His Excellency’s visit to this house will bring us luck” said Tajem and added that he might name his grandson who was due to be born in a week’s time after the name of His Excellency.

In his reply, Bapak Augustin said that he and his MADN members had high regard for Tajem as a leader of the Dayak community in Sarawak and hoped that MADN and SDNU members would make every effort to strengthen their cultural ties.

“Although we may be separated by territories, it will not stop us from being together and united in cultural and social fields. After all we are all Dayaks of Borneo.

“The aim of our visit to Sarawak and Sabah is to exchange ideas and experience, to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood, to discuss common problems and to safeguard and promote the Dayak culture of Borneo,” he said.

The Dayaks of Borneo, he stressed, should not be defeated by obstacles in their efforts to promote their culture.

“If we cannot do it today, we will do it tomorrow; and if we don’t do it, who else will do it. It is up to us to do it” he added.

Later there was an exchange of gifts. Tajem presented several copies of The Broken Shield that featured Dayak politics in Sarawak to Bapak Augustin and other guests. - The Broken Shield


Friday, December 5

We have power: why use the power of the spirits and court?

It is a bitter lesson for the people of two longhouses – Rumah Ranggong and Rumah Belili, Sungai Sah, Bintulu Division – to learn for supporting Barisan Nasional candidates in the last parliamentary and state elections. Why a bitter lesson?

It is bitter because, despite their strong support for the Barisan Nasional government, their land of 1,803 hectares are taken away and are given by the BN government under a provisional lease to BLD Resources Sdn Bhd for the planting of oil palm.

At 10.00 a.m. on Thursday morning (4 December) Changgai anak Dali, 84-year old, a third generation resident of the area, was summoned by BLD Resources to appear at the Kuching High Court for “trespassing” into his own land/garden that has been taken over by the company. He claimed he had customary rights over the land which he and his forefathers had farmed for almost a century. The company wanted the Court to stop him from entering the said land.

Changgai was accompanied by 75 others who represented each of the 76 doors of Rumah Ranggong. Their land was also involved. The case was adjourned to 13 January 2009 to allow the company to file an application to include the State government as a party. Harrison Ngau who represented Changgai said several more suits would be filed against the company for trespassing on their NCR land.

Before the start of the case, a miring (ritual) ceremony was held in front of the court. As they could not get help from their elected representatives (MP and State Assemblyman), Changgai and those accompanying him had to seek the assistance of the spirits to help them fight forces bent on taking away their land.

The people of Rumah Ranggong and Rumah Belili were not the only ones who had brought their cases to court, but also people in other parts of Sarawak – from Lawas to Limbang, Bintulu, Miri, Sibu, Sarikei, Kanowit, Simanggang, Simunjan, Serian and Lundu - had also resorted to court to claim back their land.

Whose fault is it? It is your fault, my fault and the fault of the community. We Dayaks can never learn a lesson as election after election we continue to vote BN candidates who have no guts to speak on our behalf.

There is power that is greater than the power of the spirits and power of the court. It is YOUR POWER, the power that can CHANGE the government.


Governor calls for closer ties among the Dayaks of Borneo

The Governor of Central Kalimantan, His Excellency Augustin Teras Narang (pic below) has called on the Dayaks of Borneo to organise more visits between them in order to strengthen their bonds of friendship and promote their culture.

“Let us organise more visits in order to strengthen our ties and promote our culture,” he said at a dinner organised by the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) at the Dewan Suarah Kuching last night.

His Excellency is a leading a 150-strong Dayak delegation from Kalimantan to Sarawak for a three day goodwill visit.

“Through these visits we can also discuss our common interests and develop our human resources and capital,” he said.

Earlier in his welcoming speech, the chairman of the organizing committee, Dr. Dusit Jaul said that the SDNU members in January this year made a goodwill visit to Pontianak where they met their counterparts from the five provinces in Kalimantan.

“Our meeting tonight will open the way for closer rapport among the Dayaks of Borneo and through our efforts our unique Dayak culture can be made known to the world,” he said.

SDNU president, Mengga Mikui also spoke at the function which was also attended by Dayak leaders from the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities.

Wednesday, December 3

SADIA and SDNU accuse Jabu of being childish

Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) hit back at Deputy Chief Minister and chairman of SALCRA (Sarawak Land Consolidation & Rehabilitation Authority), Alfred Jabu anak Numpang after he criticized the two social organisations for not saying thank you to SALCRA’s success in helping the Dayaks.

SDNU spokesman, Dr. John Brian Anthony accused Jabu of trying to politicize SDNU and added: “We do not want to politicize SDNU by supporting this and by not supporting that. We want to concentrate in preserving and promoting Adat Dayak and Culture. That is our priority.”

SADIA secretary general, Nicholas Mujah said that SADIA had never criticized SALCRA; in fact SALCRA being a voluntary member of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) was the “best” authority to solve the plight of natives in respect of NCR land issues.

“SALCRA has that mechanism to solve NCR land issues that have plagued the indigenous people of the State,” he stressed.

On the visit of the fact finding mission to SALCRA that was cancelled on the advice of Jabu, Mujah said that SADIA had recommended to the mission that SALCRA was the most appropriate for them to study the impact of oil palm plantations on the livelihood of the indigenous people since SALCRA was a party to RSPO.

Referring to the so-called politicians in the group, Mujah said they were SADIA members and they were not members of any political party.

Mujah also questioned whether it was right for Jabu to distribute SALCRA participants’ money of RM50,000 to the Resident and District Office, Miri, in order to initiate a Penan Website and another RM50,000 to St. Luke’s Church building fund in Simanggang.

“Did Jabu obtain the consent of the SALCRA participants?’ Mujah asked.

Meanwhile, another leader of SDNU who preferred to remain anonymous blasted at Jabu for criticizing SDNU for not saying thank you to SALCRA.

“What a stupid thing to say?” he asked and questioned Jabu why should SDNU praise SALCRA when it (SALCRA) had not submitted its statements of accounts for decades.

He said: “There must be something wrong with SALCRA when it is not transparent. I do not know if there are P and L (profits and losses) in the accounts. And where has the money been siphoned? And many more questions remain unanswered.”

Tuesday, December 2

PKR Congress: Tajem’s presence causes a stir

Dato Sri Daniel Tajem’s presence at Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s 5th National Congress at the Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam last Saturday not only caught 200 Sarawakian delegates and observers by surprise, but is also expected to generate some reactions from his political foes or friends.

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.”