Thursday, August 27

Longhouse chief charged for defending his people’s NCR land

Belaga: Just how many Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) or village chiefs nowadays dare to defend NCR land of their anembiak (followers) and risk being arrested and losing their RM450.00 monthly allowance from the government?

There are, but not many. Most of them are interested to help the government to take away the people’s NCR land, while others become agents (brokers) in selling their followers’ NCR land to big oil palm companies. This happens in Lundu, and I am sure elsewhere.

But for Longhouse head, TK Nyalang Tahe’ from Long Koyan in Belaga he is prepared to be arrested and charged in court in the defence of his people’s land. He is to appear in the Magistrate’s Court, Belaga on 12 October 2009 under Section 379 of the Penal Code for the alleged crime of theft.

He was charged for stealing an excavator belonging to Samling Plantation on 13 May 2009 which he denied. He was under police bond pending the case to be mentioned at the Belaga Magistrate Court.

TK Nyalang Tahe’ is a village leader who is dedicated and concerned with the welfare of his community. This laudable quality led him to defend their village Native Customary Rights (NCR) of Rumah Panjang Long Koyan (Long Koyan longhouse) in Belaga from encroachment by Samling Plantation for the establishment of an oil palm plantation.

The case arose from a police report that was made by a representative from Long Koyan Longhouse on 13 May 2009 about an encroachment taking place in their customary land by Samling Plantation sometime in the beginning of May.

In the report, longhouse representatives, led by TK Nyalang Tahe’ stopped an excavator, from bulldozing their farm lands and gardens in their NCR land. The report also mentioned that they confiscated the excavator keys to stop the workers from further encroachment.

On 21 July 2009, a warrant of arrest was issued to TK Nyalang and he was summoned by the police to surrender himself at the Sungai Asap Police Station. A large number of his longhouse residents went together with TK Nyalang to the police station that day.

According to Abun Sui Anyit, advisor of the Sarawak Native Customary Land Rights Network (TAHABAS), “This is clearly a dispute of rights to land. The police should have carried out a thorough investigation based on the reports lodged by the two parties in dispute.”

“The police should be neutral in handling the case without biased. But this was not so, as the police hastily framed TK Nyalang as a criminal by instituting charges against him,” Abun said.
TK Nyalang was not aware that the company had made another police report complaining that one of their excavators was stolen and he was the prime suspect and a warrant of arrest issued against him.

TK Nyalang and his residents argued with the police that the excavator was not stolen and it is still under the care of the workers of Samling Plantation. The keys are in their possession as it was passed to them by the plantation workers. They said it is even stated in their police report.

TK Nyalang said that they have made numerous police reports against Samling Plantation, but no action was taken. He and his residents wanted to know why the police are so swift to take action when the company makes a police report and why TK Nyalang is being charge for a criminal offence when it is the company that is committing an offence of trespass.

Realising the crowd’s anger, the police decided not to arrest TK Nyalang but he is required to sign a police bond and ordered to appear at the Belaga Magistrate Court on the 21 August to answer to the charges of stealing the company’s excavator. - The Broken Shield



Agom said...

Base on the facts from the article written by The Broken Shield, i.e, the excavator is still under the care of the workers of Sambling Plantation and its key was handed to Tuai Rumah Nyalang by the plantation`s workers, to me there is no element of an offence of theft. However, that was one side of story.

Under section 378 of the Penal Code, theft is defined, " whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person`s consent, moves that property in order to such taking."

Briefly, intention is the gist of the offence.The intention to take dishonestly exists when the taker intends to cause wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person. In this case, if TR Nyalang, acting bona fide in the interest of his people, taking the excavator key for safe keeping in order to stop the plantation company`s workers from bulldozing their lands and gardens on their NCR land, and in his belief pending the investigation by the police into his numerous police reports against the encroachment of the company into their NCR land, in my opinion, TR Nyalang has not committed an offence of theft under section 379 of The Penal Code.

The public is anxious to know, why there has been no action taken by the police in respect of numerous of police reports made by TR Nyalang and his people? As alleged, why the police acted immediately on report made by the plantation company against TR Nyalang?

The public are hoping that the police to carry out the investigation fairly, thoroughly and no bias. Perhaps the police should get the advice from the State Senior Federal Counsel first on TR Nyalang`s case.

Anonymous said...

Ya lah, these days whistle blowers are arrested for giving tips to the authorities.So there is no surprise if you go against the authorities even if you are right.How can you fight Goliath! The only way and the fastest way is to change this gov't and we will all get what is ours.

Robin Hood

Law student said...

Supposing the article is a question in our law examination papers, then I will put my answers as follows:-

1. Whoever encroaches into NCR land with intent to annoy the natives in possession of such land, commits an offence of criminal trespass under section 447 of the penal code and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine of one thousand ringgit, or with both.

2. Whoever bulldozing the garden and the crops, with intent to cause destruction of any property on NCR land, destroys or diminishes its value or utility, commits an offence of mischief under section 427 of the penal code and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

3. `Stolen property` (excavator) upon found should be in the custody of the police who is investigating the case as an exhibit in court. But, whoever dishonestly retains any stolen property, knowing or having reason to believe the same as to be stolen property, commits an offence of dishonestly retains stolen property under section 411 of the Penal Code, and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.

Our law instructor will check if my answers are correct.

PaulRaja said...

This is one of the most common phenomema in the rural areas.But no Dayaks leaders will admit it.
More are coming.

Instead, they will plead for the company saying: "They lose millions of ringgit."

They never say: "the natives are losing their livelihood - their lands and forest".

They have become YBs for the timber companies.

Paul Raja

Anonymous said...

why are the police like that? are they scared of those in power ar are they being bribed?
The Police should act without fear and favour otherwise you are branded as a corrupt organisation. a corrupt organisation should be dismantled and repaired before is going to be a menace to Malaysian sovereignity.
PM sould devised someting to this Organisation.
The vast power of the police should be revised. restrict their power to uphold security and crime but nothing beyond that like summoning traffic offenders or gambling offences just to mention some examples.
PM think about it, dont let the rakyat suffer by the injustice of the corrupt organisation.