Sunday, August 16

Iban farmer arrested for defending his NCR land

Matek Anak Geram, an Iban farmer, a member of TAHABAS (Sarawak Native Customary Rights Network) and Committee Member of Jaringan Orang Asli SeMalaysia (JOAS) was arrested by the police on 13 August 2009 for the crime of allegedly restraining the workers of an oil palm plantation.

Unarmed, he was taken into custody by 10- fully-armed police personnel at 8.45 am and detained for two hours at the Mukah Police Station and charged for allegedly wrongfully restraining the workers of an oil palm plantation company, Saradu Plantations Sdn. Bhd. under section 341 of the Penal Code before being released on bail.

For over a year, Matek and his immediate family have been guarding their property against Saradu Plantations who have been encroaching on their native lands.

In individual shifts, they have blocked an access road built on their land.

JOAS questions the heavy use of force and intimidation against one unarmed man and calls for neutrality of the state infrastructure in this legal dispute between the private company and indigenous peoples.

Saradu Plantation Sdn. Bhd. is a Sarawak oil palm company, which has been given 15,000 hectares of land by the state government to develop oil palm in Balingian.

Saradu is also linked to the Sarawak Chief Minister as his brother-in law, Robert Geneid and sister, Raziah Mahmud are majority shareholders of the company.

JAOS said: “Matek Geram’s case is just one of hundreds of land encroachment and conflict cases between indigenous peoples and oil palm plantation companies in Sarawak.

“In light of this, JOAS reiterates its support for the recent call from TAHABAS and other indigenous peoples organisations for a moratorium on plantation development projects.

“JOAS reiterates its position that the State Government-issued provisional leases are encroaching illegally into our constitutionally-recognised customary lands and forests.

“Until the government moves towards a meaningful solution with the full and effective participation and consent of indigenous peoples, incidences like Matek Geram will continue to take place throughout the state, to the detriment of the rights of indigenous Sarawakians, the sustainable development of the Sarawakian population and the image of the state of Sarawak and Malaysia,”
it said.- The Broken Shield


Agom said...

It seems that there will be no end of an incident whereby the owner of the NCR`s land is treated like a criminal when defending his land from being encroached.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said that the intrusion into Native Customary Land by logging and plantation companies in Sarawak has become serious. The problem arises from attitude of officers from government agencies who issued logging and plantation licences without doing detailed studies.The government officers should go down and inspect the areas for themselves and not depend on assumption that some licences were issued only on maps, causing companies to be unaware that they were logging and planting on customary land.

Suhakam also reported that even though the land owners had made many police reports on land encroachment but not only has there been no action taken but those who made the reports were arrested and interrogated like criminals.

The public are hoping that the police are carrying out their duties professionally and impartially, not taking sides and without fear or favour.

Anonymous said...


jumpover said...

enda nemu kah sida leaders kitai dayak ka selalu bejako deka ngari ka kitai. Nama sida nya bc udah deka protes??? Ni jm nya deh??
Election deka datai sokong pr.

chapchai said...

It's a classic example of David and Goliath. However, David did win, and the people of Sarawak can win if they turn up to vote out the government at the next election.

Anonymous said...

Hiyah, you all know very well that the land that you say is NCR land don't belong to you all becos you don't have title. In a civilize world only prove of what is yours can then only you say it's your but sometimes even with prove you still can't say it's yours. This is bolehland.

So what to you do then! Since you all have no more rights to what you say is yours,the only remedy is to change this gov't.You have no choice. What happen today is the direct result of ignorant voters like you all ,who voted this gov't with their ears and eyes closed. For 46 long years they are faitfully been led with the leash.

I won't be surprise all those longhouses will be like what happen to the Indian village in Penang.In the next century,as land becomes more valuable, more foreigners will collaborate with the locals and the confiscation of those NCR land will increase.

The problem today is also these rural people are not educated and they are not inform about what the gov't is doing to other NCR. They don't read blogs or opposition newspapers. So many are just getting the news from their YBs and MPs. They are only been fed with those lies.

I just hope there are some good NGO who will spent some of their time to educate these folks.The oppositions must make an effort to show them DVDs or films about the oppress.

I pray we all will live long enough to see 'Moses' who will lead these poor dayaks out of oppression in these generation.Their fate lies in their hands and Batang Ai is a fine example of how these uneducated dayaks can walk backwards.

Bruno Manser

Apai Semalau said...

Why deafening silence from all the dayak YBs with regard to this incident? The real criminals are the dayak YBs. They are not interested in helping their own race, the dayak! Instead they are more concerned about lining their own pockets with $$$ at the expense of the dayaks!
About time we stand up and say enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Definition of Wrongful Restraint under Section 339 of the Penal Code.

" Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person, so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to retrain that person ".

Exception - The obstruction of a private way over land or water which a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, is not an offence within the meaning of this section.

That being so, if Matek ak. Geram can establish the ownership of the land where he was arrested:-

(i) he was not committing an offence of wrongful restrain under section 341 of the Penal Code, and

(ii) he was arrested illegally.

Banting said...

Mr.Anonymous 17 August 09 5.28PM,


If Matik ak Geram can establish that he is the ownership of the land, then the workers of the plantation company who encroached into his land committed an offence of criminal trespass under section 447 of the Penal Code.