Saturday, February 28

Is this not another evidence of cruelty?

Source: Utusan Borneo, 28 Feb 2009

The latest destruction of a number of houses by the Land and Survey Department at Mile 15, Mukah-Selangau Road has been described as yet another evidence of cruelty on the part of the state BN government.

Mensekar Banyau, aged 70, has lodged a report with the Police at Selangau Police Station two days ago accusing the enforcement officers from the Land and Survey department of being “zalim” (cruel) against the occupants of three houses when they came and destroyed the houses and their properties.

“We tried to stop them from destroying our houses and properties, but we were helpless. Their actions made us very angry and we lost about RM60,000 worth of properties," he said to a reporter from Utusan Borneo.

“They should have notified us,” he said and added that they were now staying with their relatives in other longhouses.

According to him, the enforcement officers on 16 October last year destroyed a number of houses in the area.

“Before the case is settled, the enforcement officers on Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 10.30 a.m. destroyed three more houses. At that time only me and my wife were at home; the rest had gone to work. We tried to salvage our properties, but could not do it as they used a bulldozer to destroy the houses,” he said.

Mensekar claimed that they had not been notified by the Land and Survey Department nor informed that their houses were to be demolished.

He admitted, however, that he had partially dismantled his house when they told him that a public road passed through the part of the house. And he was also told by the staff of the department that the other half of the house could still be occupied as it did not obstruct the proposed road.

That was why, he said, that they did not move out.

“They clearly cheated us,” said another villager, Nyunkin Renjau and listed their possessions being destroyed included paddy, fertilizers, motorcycles, antiques, bedding, clothing and cash.

The victims are known to be strong supporters of the MP for Selangau and Deputy Minister Joseph Entulu Belaun who is deputy president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

Why couldn’t Joseph Belaun help them? Or for that matter Joseph Mauh, State Assemblyman for Tamin? After all this is what our elected representatives are supposed to do – help their supporters.

Anyway the latest incident which is one of the many cases where Dayak longhouses have been destroyed should open the eyes of the voters of Batang Ai who will soon witness a by-election. They are given a choice: vote for BN and condone the destruction of longhouses or vote for PKR for your rights, fairness and justice. The Broken Shield


Friday, February 27

BN leaders getting jittery?

The battle cry of the Opposition in the coming by-election for Batang Ai in Lubok Antu following the death of Dublin Unting from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is likely to be “Get back your NCR land, vote out Taib Mahmud”. This has been the message that the de facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has been hammering to the Dayaks whenever he visits Sarawak.

But are the State BN component parties jittery in this by-election? That appears to be so at least among leaders of Parti Rakyat Sarawak.

Although the name of the PRS candidate to represent the Barisan Nasional in the coming by-election is yet to be decided, some PRS leaders are worried that their members and supporters may be influenced by the message.

The message has to certain extent opened the eyes of some people after they have heard from Anwar Ibrahim himself that the State BN government under Abdul Taib Mahmud has indeed taken away NCR lands and has given such lands to his cronies for the planting of oil palm, sago and trees.

They have heard that owners of NCR land in Bintulu, Miri, Mukah, Sibu, Simunjan, Simanggang, Serian and Lundu have been arrested for defending their lands. Their rubber, pepper and orchard gardens and paddy fields have been destroyed. Some of these incidents including protests have been recorded in CDs that have been distributed to longhouses in Lubok Antu and else where.

In fact they, the people of Batang Ai, Lubok Antu, have become victims of State Government’s unjust policies over the construction of Batang Ai Hydro-power.

Now the voters in Batang Ai will have to think carefully: to vote the BN-PRS candidate they appear to condone Abdul Taib Mahmud’s policy on NCR land grabbing and this policy will render in many of Dayaks becoming landless people. For the Dayaks, land is their life, their livelihood and their future.

And voting against the Opposition means they are fighting against PKR, the party that is fighting for their rights, justice and equality and the party that is defending their NCR lands.

About two million hectares of lands, the bulk of which is NCR lands, have been approved for oil palm and sago plantations as well as for tree planting estates. And the State government is targeting another two million hectares of land to be developed in the next five years or so.

“What worries me is that some of our own members may vote for the Opposition or they may absent themselves from voting as they did in last year’s parliamentary election especially in Lubok Antu and Sri Aman constituencies. This is our dilemma,” said a PRS supreme council member, adding: “Although in Batang Ai it is only a by-election, the PKR victory is bad for us and may portend the coming of political tsunami into the shores of Sarawak.”

Certainly for BN, it will make all available resources; State departments, Information Department, Kemas, RTM and local council will be deployed to help in the campaign and in addition, it will renew promises which are yet to be fulfilled and pledge new ones. Like previous elections, money will be distributed through Tuai Rumahs (longhouse headmen). The more nervous the BN is, the more money it will dump into the campaign.

However, the focus will be on Dayak voters who form about 95% of the electorate. But the biggest question is: Can they resist these temptations of financial rewards and development projects? - The Broken Shield


Wednesday, February 25

Batang Ai by-election: more than a litmus test of support

Nicholas Bawin Anggat
(Picture credit The Nut Graph)

Although the date of the by-election for the Batang Ai by-election is yet to be announced by the Election Commission, speculations are rife regarding candidates who will represent the BN-Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

For PKR, its leaders have swung into immediate action, the moment they learnt about the death of the incumbent State assemblyman for Batang Ai, Dublin Unting. In fact they have already identified a number of candidates including Nicholas Bawin a few months back after Unting slipped into coma following a massive stroke in May last year.

As for BN, two candidates have become the talks of the town; one is the district officer, Lubok Antu, Nelson Mujah, who is the brother of the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Douglas Uggah Embas. For the past few months he has been going around the constituency accompanied by the MP for Lubok Antu, William Nyallau Badak and State Assemblyman for Engkilili, Johnichol Rayong. Both Nyallau and Rayong have been discreetly telling the voters of the possibility of the by-election and that Mujah could be the candidate representing the Barisan Nasional.

The other possible candidate is Nelson Naga Alam, the private secretary to the late Dublin Unting. Nelson is a local, while Mujah is from Balingian.

This time around Nicholas Bawin, if selected to represent PKR, is going to give BN a tough fight. In the last election, despite his handicap such as the lack of money and logistical support, Bawin on a SNAP ticket did quite well securing 2,489 votes as against Unting’s 3,298 votes, a majority of 806 votes.

Bawin first contested in 1987 on a BN/SNAP ticket against Mikai Mandau, an independent supported by PBDS. He secured 2,020 votes and lost by 741 votes. So whatever party he is in, Bawin seems to have a following of his own in Batang Ai.

Issues to be capitalized by both BN and PKR in the campaign are aplenty. For BN it will always the issues of development; but for PKR, the issues of NCR land, the lack of development, rural electrification programme and poverty will be the focus of its campaign. The help from PKR leaders like Anwar Ibrahim in the campaign will certainly boost Bawin’s chances.

But the Batang Ai is one of the 29 Dayak majority constituencies and in order to change the State government, PKR must work hard to convince the Dayaks of its sincerity towards helping the community. Even though the PKR leaders have been given thunderous welcome whenever they visit Sarawak, such a welcome cannot be translated into votes yet.

Thus although PKR is “pregnant” with euphoria and hoo-ha-hoo-ha, the question is: can PKR deliver a “baby” in this by-election in this constituency where Dayak Ibans form 94.66 % out of 7,997 voters?

In my mind, it is more than a litmus test of support, but one that determines the future of the party in Sarawak. If it wins, the road to change the State government is clear. – The Broken Shield.


Tuesday, February 24

Unting’s death a big loss to PRS

Dublin Unting Ingot, aged 56, passed away at 1.30 a.m. this morning, leaving behind his wife, Florin and their three children, the youngest of them is 4 years old.

Unting, a young agriculture officer, was brought by Tan Sri Leo Moggie, then president of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) into politics to contest in the 1991 State election against Mikai Mandau of BN-PBB. Unting won with a majority of 83 votes.

Mikai, who was the incumbent, was a PBDS man; he defected from the party to PBB in 1987 soon after winning the seat. His defection opened the way for Unting to contest.

In the 1996 State election, Unting contested the seat on a BN-PBDS ticket and won with a majority of 2,555 votes. In 2001, he won the seat uncontested.

However, he faced a strong challenge from Nicholas Bawin in the 2006 State election. This time around, he contested on a BN-PRS (Parti Rakyat Sarawak) against Bawin, a Malaysian Dayak Congress/SNAP candidate, and won with a reduced majority. He polled 3,295 votes as against 2,489 votes secured by Bawin.

Unting could have lost the seat, if only Bawin had got the money to sustain his campaign and cover the ‘ulu’ and remote parts of the constituency.

Soon after he joined PBDS, Dublin’s quality as a leader was noticed by the party leadership. After the 1997 TDC, he was appointed as Secretary General of the party. When PBDS rejoined the BN State government 1996, he was appointed an Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s office.

Later he was appointed Assistant Minister of Modernization of Agriculture and Assistant Minister of Tourism. In a cabinet reshuffle in July 2004, he was appointed as Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Assistant Minister of Sports. And he retained the post after the 2006 State election.

Dublin played an important role in the 2003 PBDS leadership crisis, helping Dr. James Massing to challenge Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem for the top post of the party. Although Tajem and his men won the leadership of the party, Masing, Unting and Sng Chee Hua disputed it and lodged a complaint to the Registrar of Societies. The protracted leadership crisis led to the deregistration of PBDS in October 2004 and at the same time gave birth to Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

While Masing became PRS president, Unting was elected as vice president of the party. His loss will be greatly felt by PRS leaders and members as well as his supporters of Batang Ai Constituency. His body has been brought to his house at Stutong, BDC. Funeral has been arranged to take place on Thursday, 26 February 2009.The Broken Shield


BREAKING NEWS.....YB Datuk Dublin Unting, state Assemblyman for Batang Ai, passed away at 1.30 a.m. this morning. He has been in coma since May last year.

The Broken Shield Blog would like to express our Deepest Sympathy & Heartfelt Condolence to the family of Late Dublin.

Monday, February 23

SDGA must remain non-political, says Dr. Dusit

Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu’s campaign for Dr. Joseph Jawa Kendawang, the incumbent president and the RM20,000 carrot for the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA), did not influence the delegates to the SDGA annual general meeting last Saturday when they elected a new man, Dr. Dusit Jaul, an INTAN (Institut Tadbiran Awam Negara) senior program coordinator.

Pity on Dr. Jawa; his efforts to bring the association closer to the BN politicians especially Jabu backfired; and a number of projects supposed to be carried out in collaboration with the BN politicians failed to get off the ground due to the lack of support from the members.

Against the members’ wish, Dr. Jawa went to see Jabu alone to invite him to open the association annual general meeting one week before the meeting. That was a big misjudgment on the part of Dr. Jawa.

Perhaps Dr. Jawa might not have been told the whole truth regarding the formation of the association. Right from the start of its formation, Jabu had already clashed with the exco of the association when his suggestion to make him as the adviser and the chief minister as the patron of the association was turned down.

Since then the first SDGA president, Prof. Dr. Dimbab Ngidang had a hell of problems with the State government and Jabu. Even the RM50,000 promised by the State government during the launch of the association was never fulfilled.

After Prof. Dr. Dimbab, Dr. Jawa took over. But why Dr. Jawa was elected? Since Dr. Jawa was close to Jabu and the State government, it was hoped that SDGA could work side by side with Dayak politicians in the Barisan Nasional for the interests of the community.

But Jabu’s continued bashes of SDGA including accusing them of anti-government and disrespecting the Governor’s birthday celebrations killed all efforts at reconciliation. He accused SDGA members of using their “knee-caps” to think rather than using their heads. Worse, he was also alleged to have been involved in the formation of Bidayuh Graduates Association (BGA) in order to undermine SDGA’s unity and strength.

Now with Dr. Dusit helming the association supported by a corps of professionals with various educational qualifications, SDGA should become the “vanguard” of the Dayaks moving into the 21st century.

Every effort must therefore be made by SDGA to recruit more graduates to join so that SDGA must be felt by the Dayaks, relevant to the Dayaks and do something for the Dayaks, said Dr. Dusit, adding: “Above all else, I want to reiterate here that, SDGA must be a non-political organisation”.

He said: “In our endeavour to serve, we are mindful of the golden rule of leadership which had been overlooked by many leaders, Dayak leaders no exception. The golden rule of leadership is this: ‘Under promise, Over deliver”.

“Within this framework, I and my team are crystal clear on what we plan to do for SDGA. This is stated clearly in our vision, mission and slogan,” he said.

The following are the newly elected SDGA office-bearers:-

President: Dr. Dusit Jaul;
Deputy President: Dr. Elli Luhat;
Secretary General: Stanley Lingoh Gara;
Deputy Secretary General: Jona Kerani;
Treasurer: Johnny Jalin;
Deputy Treasurer: William Howell;
Exco members: Dajai Mancha, Edwin R. Tawie, Utap Sebau, Dr. Thomas Buan, Winston Bale, Diana Ningkan, Albert Julin, Edmund Dagin, Elli Lawai, Dr. Alex Sayok and Eli Luntai.
- The Broken Shield

Saturday, February 21

Why can’t we accept Jabu as our leader?

Dr Dusit Jaul....newly Elected President of SDGA 2009

Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu’s speech at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) this morning (21 Feb 2009) was more a smack of self-glorification and superciliousness rather than anything else.

If you were not present at the meeting, you would have thought that he was talking to a group of longhouse chiefs, where he could bluff his way. But to address the “cream of the Dayak society”, his speech appeared more like his curriculum vitae (CV) applying for a job.

Let me quote some parts of speech without editing it:-

# My experience when I started 42 years ago working as Divisional Agriculture Officer, then Staff Officer in-charge of Regrouping and Resettlement during the emergency due to communist insurgency in RASCOM areas in Sibu, having to brave the communists threat in Kanowit, Song, Kapit, Mukah, Balingian, Meradong and Sarikei areas, then followed by 35 years of active political life with Barisan Nasional government tell me that there are plenty of good things which the government has done to protect the people and to benefit our people.

# When I introduced Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) in 1976 to develop Native Customary Right Land as a conscious program on the part of Barisan Nasional Government to fight poverty some quarters including the Opposition from our own community opposed SALCRA.

# About 25 years ago I started with a small group of our Iban education officers, thereby gaining more support from our community and supported by YAB Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud, the chief minister of Sarawak and the Federal government especially with the help of YB Datuk Douglas Uggah who works in Kuala Lumpur after several years I eventually managed to get our Iban Language recognized by the Federal government as Pupils Own language to be taught as Second Language in schools in Sarawak.

# When unity and cooperation amongst the Dayaks were ruined as a result of native politicking in 1987 historically known as Ming Court political fiasco, working together with few Dayak leaders in Barisan Nasional I took a bold step to organise the Dayaks through the Gawai Dayak as an institution of Segulai Sejalai which is still actively being adhered by the Dayak community.

# I also initiated the Dayak Technical Committee which then systematically developed to the formation of Dayak Cultural Foundation in 1972 where I was appointed as the Founding chairman until now.

# Since 30 years ago I introduced the seeding of Rivers and Lakes with millions of fish fries to repopulate and replenish the depleting fish stock. This programme of fish fries release gained momentum throughout Sarawak and benefited our rural population as increased source of protein to fight poverty/malnutrition and source of income to the rural people.

# I was responsible for the breakthrough in ikan terubok research and development as a result of my visit to commonwealth scientific and industrial research organisation in Australia.

# Another scientific research success was the Ikan empurau and ikan semah which I started through our inland fishery research and development station at Nanga Adang Ulu Limbang.

# I also helped to design ponds in Tarat to accommodate broodstock of Ikan empurau and ikan semah collected from Katibas, Kapit, Baram, etc.

While Jabu tried to project what he had done to the Dayak community, he had, however, failed to mention that he is the chairman of the recruitment and promotion bureau of the state civil service which determines the promotion of Dayak civil servants as well as approving of the appointment of community leaders such as Temenggong, Pemanca, Penghulu and Tuai Rumahs by virtue of the fact that he is the Minister of Rural Development.

Can we know how many Dayaks have been promoted to hold senior posts in the state civil service? Or how many have been recruited into the State civil service?

Meanwhile during the election of office-bearers, Jabu’s “manok sabong”, Dr. Joseph Jawa Kendawang, the incumbent president was trounced by his challenger, Dr. Dusit Jaul with a majority of 61 votes. Jawa polled 29 votes as compared to 90 votes by Jaul out of a total of 119 delegates.

Jabu’s backing for Jawa and his speech at the meeting was believed to have caused the defeat of Jawa. Despite his efforts to project himself as a Dayak leader, his leadership is not accepted. So one may ask: What’s wrong with Jabu that even the Dayak intellectuals do not like him? - The Broken Shield


Thursday, February 19

Catfish business: the new craze in town!

For the past few months, we have been reading in papers about thousands of fish in Baleh and Belaga rivers dying mysteriously. Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) controller Dr. Penguang Manggil says that the fish died of suffocation as their gills were clogged with mud.

However, Dr. Elie Luhat, a researcher, believes the fish died due to changed environment and in our ecological system as a result of human activities and the clearing of land for oil palm plantations.

Pollutants and chemicals coming from these oil palm plantations contribute to changes in our ecological system; thus fish, water plants and algae become victims of our development. In no time all our rivers are slowly and certainly being emptied of their contents. Birds and animals have long time ago left the scene.

Now the next victims are human beings especially those who live in the rural areas and along the river banks; their health are bound to be affected as fish and animals no longer can provide proteins for their diets; their social and cultural aspects and the education of their children will also be adversely affected. In other words, the future of rural dwellers is at stake.

As these are the result of “politics of development”, nothing we can do about the change in environment, about the depletion of the fish and the scarcity of animals and birds. Absolutely nothing we can do!

Nevertheless, in order to improve our proteins we can adopt the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s “Buku Hijau” (Green Book) concept through which assistance can be provided to participants of the scheme.

Rearing of catfish (ikan keli) in the compound of our house is perhaps one way to enhance the supply of protein to our family and at the same time to help generate incomes for the family.

Catfish either the local breed, or from Thailand and South African is in great demand now, because catfish has been found to contain a larger amount of substance known as omega-3 fatty acids than found in salmon, tuna and other marine life such as algae. These acids are essential to human health, but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from food such as catfish.

As I said that research has found out that our catfish has the finest omega-3 fatty acids which play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. Those suffering from deficiency of these fatty acids have symptoms of extreme tiredness, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, depression and poor blood circulation.

A friend of mine, Gilbert Libu and 25 others have seriously involved themselves in catfish rearing. Their current stock which should be ready for sale in three months time is close to one million tails.

Libu himself has about 15,000 fish fry (tails) of catfish in one canvas pond. One fish fry costs between 10 cents and 15 cents. After the fish reach certain size, they will then be transferred to another canvas pond and a new stock of fish fry will be introduced to the first pond.

Within three months of purchasing the fry, they are expected to grow about 200 grams and 250 grams and are ready for sale at about RM5.00 a kilogram.

Libu and his group have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a certain company to sell their catfish to West Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore. Their average monthly harvest is expected to be around 50 tons worth about RM50,000.

According to Libu, a German company has expressed interest to set-up a company in Malaysia to turn the fleshy part of catfish into capsules, while the skins and bones will be manufactured into cosmetics.

Libu, however, warned that anyone having interest in catfish business must first undergo training and his group can provide such training together with the staff of the Department of Agriculture (DOE). For those residing in cities and towns, catfish rearers can use canvasses as their ponds.

Since he started the catfish business, many people from the rural areas have visited his ponds. He can be contacted at 012-8864659. The Broken Shield


Monday, February 16

The Legend of ‘Nabau’ (a giant snake)

According to Iban legend, Nabau is a giant snake comparable to the size of a drum and is more than 100 feet in length. The recent sighting of Nabau cruising along the Baleh River in Kapit has some resemblance to the ‘Loch Ness’ monster known as Nessie in Scotland. Judging by the photographs taken of Nabau, could the two animals of a similar breed?

Before going into the Nabau story, let me give the readers some information on the Loch Ness monster. It was first sighted by St. Columba in 565AD when he and his followers crossed the loch (lake) and since then it has been sighted now and then. The last sighting was reported on 17 June 1998. Many have described it just like a log, then up-turned boat or a large object with long tail.

On 30 November 1989, George Edwards discovered what looked like the hiding place of the monster in a depth of 812 feet of the loch. So many people including scientists have conducted a search for the elusive monster. One American, Robert Rines, now aged 85, has spent 37 years searching for the animal.

Now back to our Nabau, a member of the disaster relief committee, Sibu on 31 January 2009 was monitoring the flood situation in Ulu Rajang in a helicopter when he saw a monster that looked like a big snake cruising along the river. He took photographs of the monster at 5.30 pm at one of the Sungai Baleh tributaries from the helicopter.

According to Chuat Radin, the monster was Nabau, a python-type of snake, a much bigger in size and much longer in length. Among the Iban folk tales, super Nabau is like a “petara” (god) which has super natural powers. Seeing it alone will bring luck to the man. Its scales used by Iban as “pangkor” which give super strength, someone like the incredible Hulk.

Nabau has also been seen at Stambak Ulu and Ili in Betong and else where in Sarawak. In Africa and Sri Lanka this type of snake is known as ‘anaconda’.

There were tales among the Ibans in Kapit that when Temenggong Koh, Datuk Kenneth Kanyan’s father passed away in 1950s, he became a Nabau and used to appear in dreams. Koh was one of the pioneering Ibans who migrated to Entawau during the Brooke regime. As he was knowledgeable in Iban Adat and had the respect of the Brooke regime, he was made a Temenggong, the paramount chief of the Ibans.

But does Nabau really exist in Sarawak? And is the one seen at Sungai Baleh a Nabau or not?

Thus search and research should be conducted now by individuals or by those in authority such as the Sarawak Museum and the Ministry of Tourism to determine the existence of this huge creature.

Like in Scotland, where once a year Nessie festival is being organised, the authority in Kapit perhaps can organise such a festival. For what you know, the Nabau story can now become the star attraction as well as bringing more luck to Kapit such as in the form of development and road construction which the people have been asking for in the past 45 years. - The Broken Shield


Sunday, February 15

Issues that should have been discussed with Najib!

While Najib’s meeting with the Dayak Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) leaders was held in total secrecy, it created some sort of history for the deputy prime minister to meet Dayak leaders in the 45 years of the existence of the federation of Malaysia.

It was obvious that the 60-minute meeting had got something to do with the grumblings and grouses of the Dayak people who feel that they have been marginalized, oppressed and suppressed by both the federal and state authorities.

As it was an historic occasion, the DCCI is not wholly representative of the Dayak community; it represents only its members and the Dayak business community. Apart from the lack of business opportunities and government contracts given to Dayak businessmen, there are also equally important questions of development, recruitment to the civil service, education and scholarships as well as problems of NCR land grabbing by companies. All these need answers and this was an opportunity afforded to us to discuss these issues with the DPM.

It was a great pity that other Dayak organisations such as the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and the Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) were not included in the meeting to voice out their problems, concerns and aspirations. At least the Dayaks, despite in the minority, could have presented a united front.

For the Bidayuh community, they were a bit lucky; the programme was arranged in such a way as if to seemingly give the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), the Dayak Bidayuh Graduates Association and Bidayuh leaders a special treatment in terms of length of time of meeting the DPM as well as the financial assistance given.

Was the "special treatment" given to the Bidayuhs because they are BN-friendly? Or was it an attempt by the State authorities to spite the other Dayak communities? Or to further divide DBNA, SDNU, SADIA and OUNA? These are some of the questions the Dayaks are asking themselves?

But I see the public relations gesture by the BN government as part of the effort to pacify the angry Bidayuhs, firstly over the absence of representation in the federal cabinet and over the construction of the Bengoh dam. They have protested over the construction of the dam where four ‘kampongs’ are to be removed and resettled in an area to be named as Medan Tun Razak. Their anger was directed at their YBs who are too eager doing the apple polishing duties.

Although they are seemingly BN-friendly, the BN government is worried that the Bidayuhs, like the Ibans, Penans and other ethnic groups, have started to “wake up” from their deep political slumber and are demanding for their rights. Adding to BN government’s worry is the fact that their protests have been exploited by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). Now a substantial number of Bidayuhs especially the younger and intellectual ones have now become PKR members. Their target is to contest in the six Bidayuh majority seats.

The absence of Dayak leaders like Alfred Jabu of the State government in the meeting was something not quite right; it is obvious in the eyes and minds of Najib as well as the public particularly the Dayaks that Jabu is anti-DCCI. But on the other hand it was also good that Jabu was absent otherwise he would claim later on that it was his efforts.

But if Jabu was absent, why was George Chan present at the meeting? After all, the meeting was between the DPM and DCCI regarding federal projects and contracts. Was Chan sent by his 'boss' to monitor what was being said or offered to DCCI?

Chan’s remarks at the meeting were hurtful, but it was the truth when he said that federal government contracts and the major portion of business opportunities given through the State machinery first went to the Malays, and then to the Chinese and third to Dayaks. Najib, who was seemingly stunned to hear such remarks, turned to Leo whether it was true. Leo carefully chose his words by saying the Dayaks started late in business.

Actually what was said by Chan seemed to confirm that Dayaks have been sidelined in practically all fields of endeavour all this while.

One silver lining is that Najib has promised to look into the Dayaks’ grouses and will include them in the mini-budget to be presented on 10 March 2009. - The Broken Shield


Saturday, February 14

Double-frogged politicians: Who were the first?

When Bota assemblyman Nasarudin Hashim defected to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and 10 days later rejoined UMNO, some people claimed that he was the first double-frogged politician.

That is not true. I believe the first double-frogged politician was “born” in Sarawak. It was in Sarawak where this culture of double-frogging began when Ulu Rajang MP Justine Jinggut elected unopposed on a SNAP ticket in the 1982 parliamentary election defected to Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) in 1983. In 1986, he contested on a PBDS ticket and won with a big majority. He leap-frogged back to SNAP before 1987. In 1990 he stood again on a SNAP ticket and was soundly defeated by Billy Abit Joo of PBDS.

Before the State election in April 1987, 28 State assemblymen resigned from their parties to defect to PBDS and Persatuan Rakyat Malaysia Sarawak (Permas).*

Those from Sarawak National Party (SNAP) joined Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and they were SNAP deputy president Edward Jeli, SNAP secretary general Joseph Balan Seling, SNAP vice president Michael Ben Anak Panggi and SNAP CEC member Geman Anak Itam. Their defections prompted Sarawak’s Chief Minster Abdul Taib Mahmud to call for a fresh election which was held on 15 and 16 April 1987.

PBDS won 15 seats, while Permas won only five seats. Edward Jeli, Geman Anak Itam, Balan Seling and Michael Ben won with big majorities in their respective constituencies. On 14 July 1987, Edward Jeli and Geman leap-frogged back to SNAP, while Balan and Michael Ben hopped to PBB. Sora Anak Rosah defected from PBDS to PBB.

PBDS seats were further reduced to seven when months later Gramong Juna, Mikai Mandau and Bolhassan Kambar defected to PBB.

Sarawak has seen many political frogs since independence, the majority of them were Dayak politicians; and among the first were Nelson Kundai Ngarieng and Stephen Ngelambong from SNAP to PBB, Simon Dembab Maja and Penghulu Abok Anak Jalin from Pesaka to PBB in 1970. Years later Serian MP Richard Riot resigned from PBDS and defected to SUPP.

After partyless for some time, Jawah Gerang joined Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and after only a few months he hopped to Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

As for Johnichal Rayong who contested on a SNAP ticket in the Engkilili state seat secretly joined SPDP, and following the objection of other BN parties, he wanted to leap-frog to SUPP and his acceptance in SUPP should be announced before June 2008. Until today his application to be a political frog is put on hold. Nevertheless, he behaves like one of them.

The ugly culture of political frogs will not only promote the evil of corruption, but it is also the betrayal of the worst kind to those people who voted for them. Unless the government does something such as introducing the anti-hopping law, political frogs will breed more political frogs, and we as Dayaks should support this law as the majority of political frogs come from our community.

But the question is: Why are Dayak politicians so easily succumbed to temptation to become political frogs and to forsake their honour (if they have any way), the honour of their family and their generation to come? - The Broken Shield

* Reference: The Broken Shield – The Birth of Dayakism

Tuesday, February 10

Najib to meet Dayak Leaders

Issues affecting the Dayak Community, including equity participation, development and business opportunities are likely to be discussed when Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak meets leaders of Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) this Friday, 13 February 2009 in Kuching. He will also meet Bidayuh leaders.

Najib who will become Prime Minister of Malaysia next month must have heard the grumblings and the grouses of the Dayaks that nothing is for them under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP)despite the pleading and the proposals submitted by the DCCI.

One Dayak Member of Parliament was so angry when he read that there was no proposal for a road construction included in the Plan for his Division that he threw away the book containing all the proposals to the floor. The MP and his predecessors had been fighting for the road construction for the past 45 years. His anger is therefore understandable.

Since he took over as Finance Minister, Najib has introduced RM7 billion for development purposes in order to cushion the Malaysian economy from deepening global credit crisis. He is considering the second stimulus package of about RM10 billion in order to help support domestic demand growth and eventually cushion the impact.

Some of this money will be channeled to Sarawak. But the bulk of this money is expected to be used to develop coastal areas under the Sarawak Corridor Renewal Energy (SCORE) and Betong. Such infusion of massive amount of money into the State will not benefit the Dayaks and this is where the DCCI must tell Najib.

Tan Sri Leo Moggie, DCCI chairman, who is expected to lead the delegation which includes DCCI advisers Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah and Datuk Sri Celestine Ujang should have heart to heart talks with Najib and they must speak up their minds and tell the truth of Dayak problems including NCR land issues.

It will be better if Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister and Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Minister and senior Dayak minister are to be present in the meeting so that they will know how the Dayaks feel about Taib’s “politics of development”.

On SCORE, Moggie must also tell Najib how Dayaks can fit into the proposed mega projects to be implemented in the heartland of the Dayak people. According to memorandums of understanding, SCORE projects are given to companies connected to Taib’s cronies and family members. It is our hope that Dayaks should play bigger roles than mere coolies.

On 11 February 2008, 12 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and one agreement were signed at Bintulu Promenade, Sarawak involving 25 companies with a gross value of RM107.1 billion. The following are the companies:

· Agreement signed between Acacacia Cellulose International Sdn Bhd (Acacell) and Sarawak Planted Forest Sdn Bhd (SPF) for SPF to deliver approximately 4 million metric tones per annum of pulpwood to Acacell worth RM0.3328 billion.

· MOU1 signed between Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) to establish the commitment, understanding between TNB and SEB and provide the structure and basis for collaboration. RM50 billion.

· MOU2 signed between SEB and Sime Darby Bhd to undertake the implementation of the 2400MW Bakun Hydroelectric Power Plant and the construction of the transmission lines including the dual submarine transmission cables to link the project to Peninsular Malaysia. RM22 billion.

· MOU3 signed between SEB and consortium: RHB Islamic Bank, UnicornInt. Islamic Bank M’sia Bhd and Kuwait Finance House M’sia Bhd to further develop the generation and transmission of energy in Sarawak. RM20 billion.

· MOU4 signed between SEB and Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS)/Rio Tinto Aluminium Ltd (RTA) for SEB to supply power (900MW to 1200MW) to the proposed Aluminium smelter plant in Similajau. RM5.25 billion.

· MOU5 signed between Similajau Industries Sdn Bhd and GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd & Pan Kingdom Investment Co. to develop a fully integrated Steel Cluster including palletizing plant, direct reduction plant, melt shop, slab/bloom/billet casters and rolling mill. RM4.8 billion.

· MOU6 signed between SEB and Press Metal Berhad (PMB) for SEB to supply additional 510 MW to PMB proposed Aluminium Smelting Plant in Mukah by July 2010. RM2.5 billion.

· MOU7 signed between Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) and Zincox Resources PLC, England to establish understanding between Zincox and BDA to set up Zinc Electro-Refinery Plant in Bintulu. RM1.12 billion.

· MOU8 signed between Carbon Capital Corporation Sdn Bhd and Japan Carbon Mercantile Co. Ltd. to invest and develop Biodiesel Plant, Feedstock Plantation & Associated Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. RM0.96 billion.

· MOU9 signed between Konsortium Galdasar Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and Yuh Yow Fishery Co. Ltd (Kaohsiung Tawan R.O.C) to set up Integrated Aquaculture project (800ha) at Tanjong Manis, setting up of hatchery, production centre, R&D centre, processing of aquaculture produce & marketing. RM0.1 billion.

· MOU10 signed between Konsortium Galdasar Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and She Chui Oceanic Enterprise Co. Ltd (Kaohsiung Taiwan R.O.C) for shipbuilding project at Tanjung Manis, manufacturing of tuna & deep sea fishing vessels, repair & maintenance of fishing vessels. RM0.04 billion.

· MOU11 signed between Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) & Rio Tinto Aluminium Limited (RTA) and ICATS/PPKS for ICATS/PPKS to provide training for Sarawak Aluminium Company (SALCO) technical staff. Amount not specified.

· MOU12 signed between Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) & Rio Tinto Aluminium Limited (RTA) and Aluminium Pechiney for Aluminium Pechiney to supply technology to Sarawak Aluminium Company (SALCO). Amount not specified.

Can Dayak companies score in SCORE? – The Broken Shield

Saturday, February 7

Is Jabu stepping down?

Tedewin Ngumbang aka Borneo Warrior

Rumours are being spread in Kuching especially in BDC coffee-shops that Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, deputy chief minister and deputy president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) may not offer himself as a candidate in the next election.

Introduced into politics by Abdul Rahman Yakub, Jabu was elected as an Engkilili-Skrang state assemblyman in a by-election in early 1974 and later that year he contested and won the state seat of Layar and has been its representative since then. He was once time elected as a MP for Betong.

After over 34 years, the voters especially the younger ones want some change; and many of these young people have associated themselves with the rising tide of “Keadilanism” as they see in Jabu burdened with so many unfinished projects and failed promises can no longer be an effective leader; and they want a new person who has plenty of ideas to develop the constituency.

But the question is: Who shall succeed Jabu both as the State Assemblyman for Layar and as Deputy Chief Minister?

According to Betong sources, Jabu may put up Umang Nangku, one of her daughters to contest the seat in order to continue his legacy and perpetuate the Jabu dynasty.

Speculation is also rife that Datuk Douglas Uggah, federal Minister of Natural Resources and Environment may contest the State seat of Bukit Saban. If he wins, he is likely to be made a State minister or even as Deputy Chief Minister taking over from Jabu. But then he must give up his MP seat and his ministerial post. There should therefore be a by-election and the prospect of Jabu’s wife, Senator Empiang Jabu contesting the parliamentary seat of Betong is brighter.

Two persons, both ex-police officers, have indicated their keenness to contest against Jabu assuming that he is still interested to represent the Layar seat. One is Stanney Embat, who has retired about two years ago from the Police Force. Before being active in politics, he worked for a while in a company linked to Jabu’s family.

After quitting the company, Stanney became very active in politics and has been seen in almost every function organised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). He has been telling friends and relatives that he is eyeing Jabu’s seat. Some of his friends hardly believe that he is really serious in contesting against the doyen of Betong’s politician.

Meanwhile, reports from Betong say that Stanney was today (7 Feb 09) elected to be the chairman of PKR Layar branch.

With the formation of the branch, PKR is set to contest the constituency of Layar as well as the nearby constituency of Bukit Saban.

The other ex-police officer is Tedewin Ngumbang who has been visiting Betong for the past few months; he has been talking to Chinese, Malay and Iban voters in the constituency to find out how they feel about Jabu.

Unlike previous challengers, Tedewin is a serious and tough contender; and being Jabu’s relative and a former police officer, he knows Jabu’s weaknesses and failures as well as his strong points.

Tedewin is well-prepared for the contest and has set up his own operations room fully equipped with maps, a list of voters, potential election workers, drivers, campaigners and advisers; he even has identified old and young voters who are crying for change.

But if Tedewin is to contest, he must resign as a supreme council member of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), a component member of Barisan Nasional, and as a director of a government-linked company (GLC) and may lose government contracts and businesses. So influential is Tedewin in PRS that if he resigns from PRS, a number of PRS supreme council members may follow him.

Following the deregistration of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), Tedewin has always been with Masing through thick and thin. In PRS, he is Dr. James Masing’s right hand man, and had played a major role towards the victories of the party in constituencies it contested in 2006. Again he played a similar role in last year’s parliamentary election in the State.

Is Tedewin really serious in contesting against Jabu? And who is behind him? Many of his friends ask these questions. A number of Betong voters have come down to Kuching to see Tedewin just to find out whether he is joining PKR. For the time being, he smiles at them and laughs. “Ngirup kopi dulu kitai ngagai Kedai 98”, he says.

But one thing the writer has found out: Tedewin has the backing of a number of VIPs, politicians and businessmen. In fact he has contacts with the highest level of PKR leadership. – The Broken Shield

Friday, February 6

Neutrality of Police questioned

Are the police siding timber or oil palm companies in any dispute between the companies and the poor rural people?

This was the question that was posed during the first Dayak symposium held on 31 January 2009 in Sibu where some 200 Dayak professionals, intellectuals, pensioners, NGO leaders and community leaders were present.

In a paper presented to the symposium, Paul Raja, a leading NCR land lawyer, said that in the event of conflicts between the natives and timber companies, the natives could not do much because the companies had the entire government machinery to support them.

“The natives are only watching helplessly the timber companies plundering their timber wealth found in their native customary rights lands. They can’t do much.

“The police are always siding with the companies in the event of conflicts. The natives who lodge reports of abuse and trespass on their lands are either turned away from the police stations or no action at all is taken by the police,” Paul said.

On the other hand, when the companies made police reports, most of the time, false reports of purported criminal intimidation, the police sprung into action instantaneously and arrested anyone mentioned in the reports.

“This is a common tactic used by timber and oil palm companies to subdue any resistance from the natives. This has become so common that the natives are reluctant to lodge police reports against companies encroaching into their lands because they are well aware that lodging police reports do not make any difference at all. In short the people do not trust the police and the government authorities,” he said.

Paul also said that the Forest department and the Land and Survey Department were equally unhelpful to the natives who viewed the relevant government departments as “only serving the companies and the government but not the people”.

He went on to say that to compound the natives’ miseries, most of the time, the people who were being used as front men to subdue and subjugate the natives in collusion with the government departments were shadowy figures from the underworld.

The climax of this modus operandi was at Batu Niah resulting in a murder incident, he said, alleging that it was also normal for a government department to be used by a private company to enforce a civil claim in the event of disputes with the natives.

The Police, Land and Survey Department and the Forest Department were the usual enforcement agents used to enforce claims over NCR lands. The shooting of the villagers by the Police at Tinjar oil palm estate was an example of many such cases.

Paul suggested that “all forest and timber found on native customary rights lands shall belong to the land owners who shall be authorized to cut, sell and trade in the forest produce or timber in accordance to the regulations established by the Native Land Council.

In addition to that permit from the Forest Department may be required for the purpose of facilitating the transaction with no restriction. There shall only be minimal administrative fees.” - The Broken Shield

(Note: This is the last article on the Dayak Symposium)

Wednesday, February 4

Form Native Land Commission, symposium suggests

The Dayak symposium held in Sibu over the weekend (31 Jan 2009) has suggested the set-up of a Native Land Commission for the purpose of investigating all complaints, any abuse and malpractices by the government under the Barisan Nasional and its partners in issuing land titles, provisional leases, timber licence, licence to plant forests involving or affecting Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands whether communal or otherwise.

Upon establishment of proof of complaint, the Commission shall be duly empowered to excise out the Native Customary Rights land out and to issue either a perimeter title or individual as the case may be.

All lands acquired by the State government for dam purposes but are not used or affected or inundated shall be returned to the land owners for their own purposes and they are free to occupy it as they may wish, the symposium agreed.

The suggestion was made based on a paper presented by a lawyer at the symposium where some 200 Dayak professionals, intellectuals, community leaders, leaders of non-government organisations and politicians were present.

The one-day symposium, which was aimed at triggering and provoking thoughts among the Dayak community was to find remedies to solve the NCR land problems. Some of these issues which are to be compiled will be used as campaign materials for the next State election.

On the untitled NCR lands, the symposium was told that previously titles to native lands were issued pursuant to a settlement exercise which was normally carried out when an area was declared as Native Area Land. Titles to native lands were issued within this area under Section 18 of the Land Code.

The paper said: “However, the present government policy that there shall NO more settlement exercise because that would mean there will be no land remaining for oil palm and tree planting schemes. So the government has stopped issuing out land titles to native lands.

“As the majority of native lands are untitled, the native lands have no market value and significance; they can not be valued for any form of investments and cannot be used in any commercial dealings.

“Not only the natives are deprived of opportunities to develop their lands through joint-ventures or partnerships, they are also unable to fully develop their lands themselves. This is because without any land titles and in the absence of the much needed capital, they are unable to raise the needed funds to develop their lands. This is seen as a hindrance to the native lands to be developed.

“One main reason used by political leaders for not issuing land titles to Dayaks is the risk of the Dayaks selling away their land to non-Dayaks and therefore losing out their lands. But this is mere front to the sinister motive of keeping the Dayaks poor. It does not matter whether they sell their lands, as who does not sell their lands for economic reasons? Everyone does.

“Nevertheless the owner will still benefit because the income derived from the sale of the land will go to improve his well-being. He may need to sell some of his lands to raise capital to start business. This is normal economic practice.”

The paper alleged that the main reason for not issuing land titles to native lands was to ‘keep the natives within the poverty cycle’ so that they remained dependent on the government handouts and therefore loyal voters for the ruling party.

“The hidden fear of the ruling party if Dayak voters break out of the poverty cycle is that they no longer depend on the ruling party and therefore under no obligation to vote for them come election times.

“This is a major grievance of the Dayak community. The other communities will always get their titles due to them. But when it comes to Dayak lands, all sorts of excuses are being used to avoid giving him titles to his native lands,”
the paper stressed.
– The Broken Shield.


Monday, February 2

Dayak Symposium Resolutions: State Government unjust and unfair!

Picture credit:

Dayak professionals, political leaders, retired senior civil servants, businessmen and members of Dayak Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu communities have come up with a united voice saying that the actions of the BN government have forced the Native customary land owners into confrontation with plantation companies and with the police and have in many instances created adverse public order situations and the blame for the emergence of such situations lies with the BN government.

This was one of the resolutions adopted at the Dayak Symposium held on Saturday, 31 January 2009 in Sibu where issues pertaining to NCR land had become the focal point of discussions.

The symposium agreed “That as a long term and wholesome solution to the injustices and unfairness and the undesirable public order situations the symposium is urging the people of Sarawak of all races to strike at the root cause by effecting a change in the leadership in government, that is, to remove the State BN government from power through the democratic process at the next general election.”

Other resolutions include:-

# That the Sarawak BN government under the leadership of the present Chief Minister has formulated and implemented polices relating to land that are unjust and that are burdening land owners;

# That the Sarawak BN government policy of freezing the survey of NCR land and freezing the issuance of native titles and its amendment of Land Code placing the burden of proving native customary rights on the land owners are unfair and unjust and, by design or otherwise, will result in Dayaks gradually and eventually to be dispossessed of their NCR lands;

# That the extinguishment of NCR lands without adequate and proper notice is resented as being unfair and unjust;

# That the Sarawak BN government does not pay due recognition and respect to Dayak customs and traditions relating to land rights and land use and does not recognize “Pemakai Menoa” and “Pulau Galau”;

# Grant of state leases which are now on the increase involving large tracts of State land and NCR lands to relatives, nominees and cronies of or companies belonging to BN leaders without due regards to customary rights over these lands and without regards to the consequences to the NCR land owners is unjust, abuse of power, irresponsible, a breach of fiduciary duty as a government and tantamount to corruption;

# That the word “Dayak” to be reinstated in the definition of “Natives”.

# That the Dayaks be identified and called according to their respective ethnic groups instead of being classified as “Lain-Lain” in various government official forms and documents;

# That the Dayaks being a minority Bumiputra group ought to be allocated special quotas in the award of scholarships and study loans, in placements and colleges, in appointment and promotions in the civil service, Police and Army;

# That in the delineation of the State electoral constituencies, the number of Dayak majority constituencies is to be proportionate and commensurate with the Dayak population in Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, PKR vice president and Sabah’s deputy PKR chief, when closing the symposium, reminded the Dayak professionals and leaders that changing the State government was not good enough.

“We must strive hard to change the Federal Government too. It is not good enough to change the State Government. We must learn a lesson from Sabah.”

Dr. Jeffrey was referring to the change of government from BN-Berjaya to Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in the 1990s.

“The Federal Government sent ACA and ISA to undermine the PBS government. They created a Federal department through which federal money was to be channeled; they deprived the State of financial assistance and they even bought over PBS elected representatives to defect so that PBS government would collapse,” he said.

He stressed that the Dayaks together with Sabahans and Pakatan Rakyat must change the Federal government.

The symposium was opened by Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem, a prominent Dayak leader and former Deputy Chief Minister.

Some 200 professionals and Dayak leaders attended the symposium. The next symposium is likely to be held in Kuching. - The Broken Shield