Saturday, November 28

Native laws need to be reviewed

KUCHING - The Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Richard Melanjun suggested that the current set of native laws should be reviewed in order to keep up with the time and modernisation.

He said that the native courts of Sabah and Sarawak are still active, but the laws need to be relevant in modern society.

“The native laws are good for the rural folks so that they do not have to go to town to acquire justice,” he said at the launch of a ‘Business Law’ textbook and stressed that the native laws must be maintained to preserve native cultural heritage in Sabah and Sarawak.

Native laws have been around for quite awhile, but they have not been taken care of, he lamented.

“We need to refurbish the native laws, keep the good ones and put aside others. If they are not reviewed or updated, people may not use them anymore one day,” he said.

The native courts in Sarawak were divided into Headman’s Court, the Chief’s Court, the Chief’s Superior Court and the Native District Court.

(a) A Headman’s Court may be constituted by a Tuai Rumah sitting with two assessors. It may impose fines not exceeding RM300 (three hundred ringgit).

(b) A Chief’s Court may be constituted by a Penghulu sitting with two Tuai Rumahs to assist him. It has power to impose imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months and a fine not exceeding (RM2,000) two thousand ringgit.

(c) A Chief’s Superior Court may be constituted by a Temenggong or a Pemanca, or both Temenggong and Pemanca sitting in either case with two assessors. It has power to impose imprisonment not exceeding one (1) year and a fine not exceeding RM3,000 (three thousand ringgit).

(d) A District Native Court shall consist of a magistrate and two assessors. It has power to impose imprisonment not exceeding two (2) years and a fine not exceeding RM5,000 (five thousand ringgit).

Jetty’s comment: We agree that the Native laws need to be updated and the Native courts to be given proper respect. I have bitter experiences with a Chief’s Court in Simunjan way back in 1996/1997. A Penghulu, who presided the case and assisted by two Tuai Rumahs, did not know his law. He told me “alah nuan” (you lost the case). No reasons were given why I lost the case. “Nuan enda puas ati, nuan tau ngapil” (If you are not satisfied, you can appeal).

Later I found out three things why I lost the case regarding our land, which was claimed by someone else. One, he was a PBB man as he was appointed by PBB to be a Penghulu and as a PBB man he would rule against those who were in the Opposition; two, he was given some money by my opponent and three, he was not conversant with native laws.

I lodged a complaint with the District Officer, Simunjan and his Penghuluship was terminated. Luckily he was not charged in court for corruption. My case was then heard by the Chief’s Superior Court. Of course I won, because the land is really ours.

In another case in the Chief’s Court, a friend of mine lost the case simply because the Penghulu did not dare to make a decision, so the case was neither win nor loss (sama-sama menang tauka sama sama kalah). The case happened in 1998. My friend appealed to the higher court that is the Chief’s Superior Court. He paid the deposit. Until today, more than 10 years nothing is heard of the appeal.

I have heard there are literary several hundreds of cases pending appeal in Simunjan alone. I am sure there are also unsolved cases in other districts.

Is this justice? How can we have respect for the Native Courts when those presiding such cases do not understand the native laws? No wonder the Chief Justice wants review to be carried out in the Native Courts and the native system of laws. – The Broken Shield


Tuesday, November 24

Dayaks have benefited very little

KUCHING - Dayaks have benefited very little from the special rights and privileges that have been enacted in the Federal Constitution, says Sarawak National Party Secretary general, Edmund Stanley Jugol.

Prior to the formation of Malaysia, he said Dayak leaders requested for various safeguards and constitutional framework to protect the interest of the Dayak communities who were lagging behind the various communities in Malaya.

“Among their worries were the rights over Native Customary Lands and a request for a special rights and privileges to entitle them to preferential treatment especially in socio-economy, education and employment in the civil service.

“The special rights and privileges were agreed to and therefore enacted in the Federal Constitution.

“However, until today not much of that special rights and privileges has been invoked to benefit the Dayak communities since independence,” Jugol said, pointing out that this has been the sore point that caused much dissatisfaction among the Dayak communities including Dayak members of SNAP and others at large.

He said: “They have always wanted us to bring up and highlight this issue for the attention of the government with the hope that a more affirmative action will be taken to address this matter.

“The recent case of Marina Undau is just a tip of the iceberg,” Jugol said when he expressed support for DAP State Assemblyman for Batu Lintang Voon Lee Shan who has become the target of complaints and a Police report lodged by BN State assemblymen.

The BN State Assemblymen led by Abdul Karim Hamzah (PBB-Asajaya) wanted the Police to investigate Voon for his remarks believed to be seditious when he (Voon) spoke on the interests and rights of the Dayaks under the constitution.

Jugol said: “There is nothing wrong in highlighting this issue as it is a social contract, guaranteed and enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Since SNAP has no elected representative or YBs and other Dayak YBs are reluctant to bring up this matter publicly, the Dayak members in our party agreed to ask YB Voon Lee Shan to bring it up in the recent DUN sitting.

“We specially asked YB Voon because of his deep understanding of Iban culture and the fervour for the socio-economic plight of the Dayak communities. He has many Dayak relatives and Malay friends and speaks Iban fluently.

“Dayak members in SNAP are thankful to YB Voon for bringing up this matter in the DUN and hope that the government will address the plight of the Dayak communities instead of condemning him,” Jugol stressed. – The Broken Shield.

Friday, November 20

Penan rape cases, who else to be blamed?

KUCHING – During the debate on the Supply (2010) Bill last Friday, Violent Yong (DAP-Pending) said that Alfred Jabu should be stripped off his position as minister-in-charge of Penan Affairs, charging that the minister has shown no compassion for victims of rapes and sexual abuse, but instead exhibited prejudice and insensitivity.

“The people want an answer. Who is the Barisan Nasional (BN) government protecting? Is the BN government trying to protect the logging companies who hired these rapists?

“Instead of spearheading the investigation when the rapes on the Penan girls and women were brought up, there was an outcry of denial from all quarters as rapists roamed the jungles free. Instead, the NGOs that broke the story ended up being the guilty one,”
Yong said.

She also claimed the government was trying to sweep the issue under the carpet with accusations that the reports were lies, calling the Penans good storytellers and asking newspapers to check their facts, and branding certain NGOs as liars and trouble makers.

In his winding speech on Tuesday, Jabu hit back, saying that the opposition has stepped on dangerous waters when politicizing the Penan issue by manufacturing lies and twisting facts.

“I know they manufactured lies and twisted the facts. They based them on hearsay. They do not know anything about the Penans, let alone where they live. They do not speak Penan,” he said.

Comment: Jetty fully agrees with Jabu that the Opposition members know very little about the Penans and their way of life. They started to know about the Penans after stories of blockades and rapes and sexual abuse were published. Of course nobody from the Opposition can beat Jabu.

Jabu is one of those who fully understand the Penans, their culture and their way of life. Jabu’s knowledge of the Penans started way back in 1960s when he was appointed Divisional Agriculture Officer, Limbang and later Divisional Agriculture Officer, Miri.

From Miri he went to Sibu where he was appointed Regrouping and Resettlement Officer with RASCOM (Rajang Security Command) during the height of communist activities in the State, before he resigned in 1974 to contest in a by-election.

During his tenure as Agriculture Officer, Jabu visited every nook and corner of Limbang, Miri and Belaga where he met Kayans, Kenyahs, Ibans, Berawans, Kelabits, Lun Bawang and including Penans.

In those days (and even today) many government officers (including Tuan Resident, Tuan DO, and Tuan Kunsil) took advantage of the innocent native girls and some continued to have affairs with them, resulting in some women giving birth to fatherless children.

As a young reporter with the Information Department (from 1965 to 1975), Jetty used to follow Ministers and these officers to the remote areas of Sarawak and saw with his own eyes what happened there. Some officers even abused their positions by doing things that were not official such as hunting wild boars, fishing semah and empurau and shooting punai (wild pigeons).

It looks like those perpetrators of rape and sexual abuse do not confine to timber workers only. Who else to be blamed? - The Broken Shield


Thursday, November 19

SADIA asks for help

KUCHING – The Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) wants the manipulation and violation of the native rights in Sarawak to be brought to the attention of a United Nation Convention to be held next month in Copenhagen.

“SADIA is not invited to the convention, but please help us to highlight the manipulation and violation of our native rights by timber and plantation companies in Sarawak,” said SADIA President Sidi Munan.

He made the appeal after briefing a high powered delegation from Bangladesh on problems affecting the indigenous people of Sarawak at the SADIA headquarters on Wednesday afternoon (11 Nov 2009).

As guests of the association, the 11-member delegation was in Kuching to study problems faced by the indigenous people in the State.

Led by State Minister Dipankar Talukdar, the delegation which included Members of Parliament, a judge and an UNDP representative had met native leaders in Sabah and Orang Asli in the peninsula for a similar fact finding mission. They will proceed to Jakarta and West Kalimantan on Friday.

Sidi said: “Since your country is going to attend the convention, please help us to highlight problems, the violation, manipulation and exploitation of our native rights which have become very acute in the last five years by plantation and timber companies.

“Not only our catchment areas and our rivers have been polluted, our NCR lands have also been encroached into. Many of our natives have been arrested and jailed for defending their land and their rights,” he added.

He said: “In the meantime, the natives have taken their cases to court, but for their cases to be solved, it would take one year to 10 years. And by that time, there is nothing left of native rights. Thus, the only way open for them is to put up blockades against these companies.”

Sidi said SADIA has been trying to help by highlighting and bringing to the attention of international bodies regarding the problems faced by the natives.

Speaking on behalf of delegation, Dipankar Talukdar said that not much was known about the natives of Sarawak but after they had been briefed and seen a documentary film on the plight of the natives they were now enriching their knowledge.

“Exploitation of natives is a world-wide phenomenon and nobody pays any attention to them,” he said, adding that his country did not have such a problem now as the present government’s policy to help the indigenous people was supported by the majority of the non-indigenous people.

“But let us all, the indigenous people of the world be united in order to ensure a better future,” he said.

After the briefing, they left for a longhouse, Kampung Temiang in Simunjan, where they stayed for the night.

(Note: The story was first published by The Malaysian Mirror and it is reproduced here for the readers of The Broken Shield)

Saturday, November 14

Taib challenges NGOs to form political parties

KUCHING – Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has challenged NGOs to form their own political parties in order to confront him over land and environmental issues.

Launching Sarawak Forestry Corporation’s Orangutan Adoption programme over dinner on Friday night (13 Nov '09), Taib said he was unhappy with some agencies and NGOs which had constantly raised issues pertaining to wildlife and environment in the State.

Taib particularly singled out Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) which is supposed to fight for human rights, has a lot of issues on land, which later jumped into orangutan talks.

“Why don’t they just form a political party rather than fighting in disguise?” he asked.

What the Malays say: "Cakap tidak serupa bikin". This expression is aptly applied to Taib. When a group of Dayaks wanted to form a political party way back in 2005, Taib, according to the Registrar of Societies was among Sarawak leaders who strongly objected to the registration of Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC). Here he wants NGOs to form a political party.

His Deputy Alfred Jabu, who had earlier on welcomed any one to form “a political party, or any party or even a tea party ka” labeled MDC as “mai Dayak charut”. Apparently because of Jabu’s remarks, the Federal authorities refused to register MDC on grounds of security that it (MDC) would bring chaos to the country. What stupid reasons for the authorities not to register MDC!

The question we want to ask is: Does Taib really mean what he says and supports the registration of any political party in the State in the near future either by any of NGOs or a group of people? - The Broken Shield


Thursday, November 12

Jabu returns to his old ministry

Kuching - Glancing through the list of the Cabinet reshuffle announced by Abdul Taib Mahmud on Sunday, we notice that Alfred Jabu (pic above) has been returned to his old Ministry, the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture (MOMA), albeit the name is slightly changed. Previously it was known as the Ministry of Agriculture and Community Development. That was decades ago.

Hopefully this time Jabu, the most senior leader of Dayaks in the Cabinet, should really make use of his “power” in the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture as well as his “power” in the Ministry of Rural Development to modernise and transform the rural areas into high-tech farming land, where there should be in-situ development such as clinics, schools, and other amenities.

However to do this, Jabu must make friends with our graduates and invite some Dayak experts, especially those who are soil scientists, agriculturists, botanists, economists and so on for discussions and make them as members of his “Think Tank” and to formulate a development/agriculture master plan for the rural areas covering not only area in Betong, but also throughout Sarawak.

So when Jabu leaves the political stage he will leave a legacy, perhaps as the “Father of Rural Development” (Apai Pemansang Menua Pesisir).

The rural people have high expectation of Jabu. Hopefully he will not betray their confidence, as he did when he was the Minister of Agriculture. At that time he had fanciful ideas such as urging the people to plant “Kepayang”, releasing fish fry into rivers and distributing “anak manuk” (chicks), and “igi utai” (vegetable seeds). These are petty things that can be distributed even by a Tuai Rumah (longhouse headman) or a councillor. Why should a Dayak minister or even an elected representative be involved in such small things? As I said they should be involved in the planning and thinking to develop their constituencies as well as other areas in the interior.

Jabu should not also “pilih mata tauka pilih kasih” when carrying out his duties. It has known to us that Jabu would ask whether so and so was a PBB member, or a PBDS member or Opposition member. If he was a PBDS or Opposition member, agricultural subsidies would not be given. Many PBDS members had suffered because of this policy.

Now that Jabu has returned to his old ministry, we hope that he has learnt a lesson or two and hopefully he has now become a “better” man, especially when age is catching up with him. – The Broken Shield


Monday, November 9

Bumiputra Status in Inter-Racial Marriage??

Tabi Tuai,
Aku arap ke nuan ulih nulung aku ‘higlight’ ba blog nuan pasal utai ti nyadi ba batang tubuh aku empu.
Nyadi tengahari tu tadi (9 Nov 09) aku bisi bejaku ngau bala sida di Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) Miri lemai tu tadi.
Ari ‘clerk’ biasa di ‘pass’ ngagai Timbalan Pengarah,di ‘pass’ ngagai Pengarah. Bendar ga aku majuh sida tadi. Jutanam soalan di tanya aku.

Adakah patut ‘clerk’ ngau Timbalan Pengarah nya enda tesaut ke aku? 'Last-last' bejaku ngau Pengarah iya empu. Nasib iya ‘explain’ enggau manah ngagai aku, enti enda sigi udah nurun ke upis nya alu beperak aku ngau sida.

Kelalu belik ngereja pengawa. Kati ke sida tauk madah ke diri enda nemu? Enti ‘clerk’ biasa nadai ga ngawa. Tu Timbalan Pengarah? Nyadi kes enggi aku tu jauh ‘complicated’ ari sida nya, tang aku arap ke aku mujur meh ngadu ke utai tu ila.
1. Aku Iban
2. Bini aku Cina-Iban
- 'Technically’ berbangsa Cina, even dalam IC
3. Entua Indu ku Cina Iban
- tang apai iya udah nukar status ngagai Bumiputra baru berapa taun ke udah laban ke sida diau ba rumah panjai ari mit alu sigi idup nitih ke pendiau kitai iban
- tang Entua Indu aku tu tadi bedau nukar status. Agi Bangsa Cina ba IC ngau Surat Beranak
4. Entua Laki ku Cina-Iban
- laban indai iya Iban alu Apai iya Cina ari Perak
- Entua laki aku tu endang status iya diatu Bangsa Cina lah
5. Nyadi anak aku diatu nemu kita nama bangsa?????? BANGSA CINA
- alasan iya laban ‘late registration’ alu terpaksa nitih ke bangsa indai iya
Nyadi maia ku nanya ngagai Pengarah JPN nya tadi, sida madah ke mesti ke kedua-dua apai ngau indai iya Bumiputra baru iya ulih ngena status Bumiputra nya.

Taja pan bangsa iya Iban ba IC tang enda semesti iya Bumiputra laban mesti ka kedua2 apai ngau indai iya Bumiputra.
Udah nya aku nanya iya, ulih enda aku nukar bangsa anak aku nya ila, iya madah ke endang sigi enda ulih. Belama-lama iya meh status iya akan ‘remain’ Bangsa Cina.
Udah nya aku nanya iya, bisi enda kini cara kena aku nukar bangsa nya ngagai Iban alu ‘of course’ lah Bumiputra, nya iya madah. Aku enda ulih nukar Bangsa anak aku nya alu nukar status iya ngagai Bumiputra.
Semina aku ulih ngagai ‘Native Court’ alu 'apply' ngagai sida din madah ke diri ka nukar status anak aku ngagai Bumiputra tang nya bepanggai ba sida di ‘Native Court’ nya.
Enti sema kitai bisi ‘strong case’ tauka ‘basis’ kena kita apply ke status Bumiputra nya, ‘then it should be no problem’ lah.
Semina ke ngaga Surat Akuan Bersumpah ngagai Tuan DO tauka Residen lah udah tembu ba ‘Native Court’ nya.
Tang udah tembu semua nya, anak aku nya ila agi ‘remain’ berbangsa Cina, alu ukai Bumiputra. Semina iya "Berhak mendapat Hak-hak Keistimewaan sebagai Bumiputra". Status Bumiputra nya semina automatik enti kedua-dua apai ngau indai iya Bumiputra.
Nyadi senentang kitai Sarawak nya, Pengarah nya madah ke iya setuju ngau penemu ari bala sida ba ‘Pejabat Peguam Negeri’ ti ‘suggest’ ke Article nya enti ulih di tambah ke siti agi ‘Clause’ ti nerang ke ngau lebih pansik ngau lebih silik pasal ‘pengiktirafan’ Status Bumiputra nya laban ‘Article’ ke diatu nya agi bisi ‘loopholes’ tauka ‘Grey Area’ ti ngasuh utai bakatu nyadi.
Nyadi reti ko iya nya tadi, ‘Article’ nya mesti ka di ‘ammended’ lah ngambik ke utai nya terang agi. Iya ti ngasuh aku alit endar ati, kati ke kitai enda kala ninga tauka sedar ke utai bakatu suba neh?

Ukai nya tak baru keterubah iya ‘Inter-Racial Marriage’ tu? Baru-baru iya tu meh kitai ninga, sedar alu nemu pasal utai tu.
Tang iya bisi madah, bidang kuasa sida JPN semina ba senentang bangsa. Enti semina Apai iya Iban, indai iya cina, anak nya berbangsa Iban laban nitih ke apai iya. Iya pan bisi ‘explain further’ ngagai aku, dalam ‘Inter-Racial Mariage’ baka tu, kelebih agi enti Apai iya Iban tang indai iya nya Cina, anak nya endang sigi Iban tang ukai automatik berstatus Bumiputra.
Laban status Bumiputra nya semina automatik enti sema kedua-dua apai ngau indai iya nya Iban tauka Bumiputra bukai lah.Iya bisi mega madah ngagai aku, sida JPN semina berkuasa ba senentang bangsa aja, enti baka kes ‘Inter-Racial Marriage’ tu, enti ka ‘apply’ ke status Bumiputra, ‘Native Court’ lah ti bisi kuasa nentu ke iya...ukai JPN.
Nya di ‘luar bidang kuasa’ sida iya. Nyadi ngelamatu kitai semua nyangka enti bangsa iya Iban tauka Bumiputra bukai, anak nya automatik lah Bumiputra taja pan indai iya Cina.
Aku empat kali maca ‘news’ nya tadi baru paham endar pasal ‘Article’ nya. Ba penemu aku utai tu semina ulih di ‘settle’ enti ‘Article’ nya di ‘ammend'. Nadai jalai bukai.

Engka nya kini kebuah Sijil Lahir anak aku sampai saritu alu bedau tembu. Udah 7 bulan lebih masuk ke bulan tu.’Plan’ aku udah tu aku ka nguji nanya ngagai aya aku Empeni Lang ti kala gawa nyadi ‘Chief Registrar’ ba Majlis Adat Isitiadat Iban di Kuching.
Ka nanya ke penemu ngagai iya bakani ka ngatur ke utai tu alu nanya ke ngau lebih silik, lebih pansik pasal tu lah. Laban munyi ko Pengarah JPN Miri nya tadi, pasal ‘Native Court’ nya nda nemu iya ka madah apa, laban sigi di luar bidang kuasa sida.
Udah aku bulih ‘feedback’ tu, ila aku bekunsi ngau kita ditu..Amat tak keketap asai ati maia ku maca ‘news’ nya pagi tadi. Parai anak ku ila dikumbai anak Cina sedangkan apai iya tu endang naka-naka ka iya Iban!!
P/S: Pagi tadi aku bisi ngagai ‘Native Court’ di Miri. Tu aja respons ke di ulih aku ari sida iya:-

1. They don’t know about the Article 161a of the Federal Constitution;

2. They had never handled Inter-Racial Marriage like me;

3. They just say that we don’t know how to comment about this issue;

4. They don’t know that State Constitution cant surpassed Federal Constitution;

5. I had to brief them on the issues lately; and

6. I’m the first one who came forward and made enquiries them about this issue. Note: I came back with nothing that can make me feel better or relieve....kumbai ku datai din alu sida ulih nerang ke aku pasal isu tu.
Nya aja. Terima kasih.

Leslley Kalom

Sunday, November 8

Taib’s New Cabinet line-up

KUCHING – Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud today announced the long over due cabinet reshuffle that is involved switching of cabinet posts between certain ministers.

Deputy Chief Alfred Jabu has been given his old Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture (MOMA) as well as retaining his Ministry of Rural Development. Jabu’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Communication has been given to Michael Manyin who was then the Minister of Urban Development and Tourism.

Deputy Chief Minister George Chan is now the Minister of Tourism and Heritage as well as the post of Minister of Industrial Development. Abang Zohari is now the Minister of Housing and Urban Development.

Six news faces have been appointed as Assistant Ministers and they are Abdul Wahab Aziz, Dr. Stephen Rundi and Talip Zulpilip (all from PBB), Mong Dagang and John Sikie (PRS) and Peter Nansen (SPDP). None from SUPP has been appointed Assistant Ministers, although a number seats for SUPP are still vacant.

The reshuffle will take effect from 1 December 2009 and the following is the full list of the State Cabinet:

Abdul Taib Mahmud
- Chief Minister
- Minister of Finance
- Minister of Planning and Resource Management

George Chan
- Deputy Chief Minister (1)
- Minister of Tourism and Heritage
- Minister of Industrial Development

Alfred Jabu
- Deputy Chief Minister (II)
- Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture
- Minister of Rural Development

Michael Manyin
- Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication

James Masing
- Minister of Land Development

William Mawan
- Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation

Abang Haji Zohari
- Minister of Housing and Urban Development

Wong Soon Koh
- Minister of Environment and Public Health
- Second Minister of Finance

Awang Tengah
- Minister of Public Utilities
- Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management

Assistant Ministers:

Larry Sng
- Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Office
- Assistant Minister for Industrial Development (Planning)
- Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and training of Youth

Daud Abdul Rahman
- Assistant Minister for Islamic Affairs
- Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development

Fatimah Abdullah
- Assistant Minister for Human Resources and Training
- Assistant Minister for Agriculture (Home Economics and Training)
- Assistant Minister for Women Development

John Sikie Tayai
- Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office
- Assistant Minister for Rural District Council

Naroden Haji Majais
- Assistant Minister for Entrepreneur Development
- Assistant Minister for Planning and Resource Management

Mong Dagang
- Assistant Minister for Tourism
- Assistant Minister for Agriculture (Research and Coordination)

Talib Zulpilip
- Assistant Minister for Tourism

David Teng
- Assistant Minister for Food Industries

Peter Nyarok
- Assistant Minister for Agriculture (Farmers Organisation and Cooperatives)

Abang Abdul Rauf
- Assistant Minister for Industrial Development Promotion and Development of Industrial Estates

Lee Kim Shin
- Assistant Minister for Communication
- Assistant Minister for Sports

Abdul Wahab Aziz
- Assistant Minister for Rural Development
- Assistant Minister of Housing and Urban Development

Gramong Juna
- Assistant Minister for Rural Development

Francis Harden
- Assistant Minister for Land Development

Sylvester Enteri
- Assistant Minister for Land Development
- Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Water Supply)

Soon Choon Teck
- Assistant Minister of Housing and Urban Development

Peter Nansian
- Assistant Minister for Environment

Stephen Rundi
- Assistant Minister for Public Health
- Assistant Minister for Public Utilities

Three Assistant Ministers were dropped and they are Ambrose Blikau (Katibas), Bohhassan Di (Beting Maro) and Hamden Ahmad (Belawai).

PBB has five Ministers and eight Assistant Ministers; SUPP has two ministers and four Assistant Ministers; PRS has one Minister and two Assistant Ministers; SPDP with one Minister and three Assistant Ministers and Partyless one assistant minister. – The Broken Shield


Thursday, November 5

Let us discuss Dayak Dilemma

KUCHING – Former president of Sarawak Dayak National Union Datuk Daniel Tajem has called all Dayak non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA), Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) to organise a seminar on the Marina issue as well as on Articles 161a of the Federal Constitution.

“Let us discuss these issues and submit resolutions to the government especially on the clear definitions of Dayak, Iban, Bidayuh and Lun Bawang in the Federal and State Constitutions as well as in the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance,” said Tajem, who is a lawyer of some standing.

“We must come together and discuss these issues which are very important to our survival and the privileges and rights that should be accorded to us under the Constitutions.

“Otherwise we will be further marginalized, suppressed and oppressed in the country of our birth,”
he added and called on the Dayak NGOs to accept the challenge posed by him.

Marina Undau is not alone. Tens of thousands of other natives in Sarawak who come from mixed marriages cannot be classified as natives (bumiputra) even though their fathers are Dayaks, if the Article 161a (6) (a) Federal Constitution is to be imposed.

161a(6) says that in this Article ‘native’ means (a) in relation to Sarawak, a person who is a citizen and either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the State or is of mixed blood deriving exclusively from those races; and (b) in relation to Sabah, a person is a citizen, is the child or grandchild of a person of a race indigenous to Sabah, and was born (whether on or after Malaysia Day or not) either in Sabah or to a father domiciled in Sabah at the time of the birth.

(7) The races to be treated for the purpose of the definition of ‘native’ in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabit, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups, and Sipengs), Kajangs, (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and Kanowit), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanaus, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.

Since Marina’s story was highlighted by a local newspaper on 29 October that she was not a native (bumiputra) even though she was born to an Iban father and a Chinese mother, thousands of the off-springs from these mixed marriages are worried as they will not (from now onward) be entitled to privileges as spelt out in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. Their investments in ASB, their privileges of scholarships, applications to study in UiTM, special rates to buy houses, special consideration in business and contracts, native customary rights over land, and etc may not apply to them.

Debates and discussions on the issue in coffee-shops, in offices, in newspapers and internets, in some cases bordering sedition, have sprung up from various quarters including Chinese, Malay and Dayak leaders. While some have put the blame on the Ministry of Education, others put the blame on our political leaders. There are those who also blame the pioneers of the Malaysian Agreement.

Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Joseph Salang, described as “narrow-minded” the officers who rejected Marina’s application to enter a matriculation programme by citing the provision in the constitution.

Salang, who is Publicity Officer of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), said that Malaysia could do without these officers who were creating tension and disunity in the country.

“Whoever cited the provision does not understand it well. These officers need further education,” he told a local paper.

The MP for Serian, Richard Riot, used equally strong words to describe the rejection of Marina’s application as a “sick policy stuck in a time warp”, viewing the case as “very serious, because if the policy is allowed to remain in place it not only will make a big joke of the 1Malaysia concept, but many children of such mixed marriages are going to lose their Bumiputra status, despite the facts that they are Dayaks and live the life of Dayaks.”

“This is one unhealthy development that I see is a step backward, while the nation seeks to unite Malaysians through all kinds of means like creating the National Unity and Integration Department, celebrating open houses, encouraging Malaysians to mix and mingle and lauding the many mixed marriages among Malaysians.

“The Federal Constitution needs to be amended. Bidayuh people like me, who are proud of our race and are strong supporters of Barisan Nasional, will go extinct if this is allowed to continue,” he said.

PRS president James Masing, who is Land Development Minister said that it was shameful that admission into local universities is still based on race rather than merit.

“Such methods do not sit well with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s concept of 1Malaysia,” he said.

Peter Minos, chairman of Bun Bratak Heritage Association, on the other hand believes that Marina is an Iban and Bumiputra, saying “this is universally the case, law or law or if the law is silent. Someone in the Ministry of Education is very wrong.”

Marina is a Dayak Iban, Minos said, and she should be given access to the best education. She is able and willing, like all the struggling Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu from the rural areas, to further her education.

“It is scandalous to deny a poor Dayak kid a good life through education,” he said.

The newly appointed Chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak and a lawyer, Baru Bian said that all Sarawakian children should be given free education up to university level irrespective of their racial background.

“It is a shame for Sarawak with its wealth and abundant natural resources that children of low income earning families are deprived of education due to financial constraints,” he said, accusing the Barisan Nasional’s racist policies they profess are causes of increasing racial division in the country.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that huge political and social-economic ramifications if the Bumiputra status of children in Sarawak, who are born to Bumiputra fathers and non-Bumiputra mothers, are not ratified.

These privileges included land purchases, holding Bumiputra shares in Amanh Saham Bumiputra (ASB) besides education, he said.

But Erang Ngang, Sarawak National Kenyah Association Vice chairman said: “Do not blame the Education Ministry’s officers for rejecting Marina’s application for university matriculation. It is the fault of the Federal Constitution.”

Erang who is married to a Chinese and his son who scored 8A1 and 1B in SPM 2003 was denied a scholarship for reasons which he suspected, is the same as Marina’s.

“The education officer who handled Marina’s application did nothing wrong as the definition of Bumiputra in Sarawak is very clear in the constitution. If this definition is not amended, children of mixed parentage will continue to suffer discrimination in terms of business, government jobs, promotions and other privileges reserved for Bumiputras alone,” he said.

Commenting on the Marina issue, former State Attorney General JC Fong highlighted three points: Firstly, that the Federal Laws are supreme and prevail over state laws. Secondly, the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance defines the term ‘native’ the way as the Federal Constitution. And his third point, he said that it is possible to change both constitutions through proper procedure.

What are the solutions?

Many talk about amending both the Federal and the State Constitutions as the way to ensure that children born from Dayak fathers and non-native mothers be considered as natives or Bumiputra. This should be easy if there is a political will as both BN and Pakatan Rakyat will certainly support the move. Parliament needs a two-third majority to amend that part of the Constitution.

Salang said that he had written to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to recommend Article 161a of the Federal Constitution be amended, otherwise it may cause social and economic complications in the future.

“The time has come to amend Article 161a of the constitution. As society progressed and strived towards achieving the 1Malaysia concept, the issue of ‘Bumiputra’ and ‘non-Bumiputra’ should no longer arise in the future particularly in matters concerning educational opportunities and welfare assistance,” said Deputy Chief Minister George Chan.

Chan, who is also President of the Sarawak United People’s Party, said that if the country keeps on having these sorts of different directions, then our country cannot progress. As Malaysian citizens we must think like 1Malaysia.”

In Sarawak as revealed by Dr. Masing there exists a Cabinet Committee for endorsing Bumiputra status, and the committee which meets once a year and chaired by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has so far approved hundreds of applications with the only criterion that one of the parents must be a native.

The committee gives final endorsement to the applications of those who applied to be natives. But the question is whether what the committee has done so far is in violation of the laws.

Another solution is through Native Court declaration. “We have done it before and many of my relatives who are coming from these mixed marriages have now become natives,” said Tajem.

“You apply to the Court to be declared a native,” he added.

He said: “Our problems today were the result of not properly looking into the contents of the Federal and State Constitutions by the British authorities when we first joined Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia.

“Our Attorney General at that time was a British and he should have seen that our rights are properly protected and
the word Dayak should be properly defined,” he said, pointing out that they could not blame Sarawak’s founding fathers for these “faults”.

“There is no clear definition as to who are Dayaks in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution. There are only words ‘Sea Dayak’ and ‘Land Dayak’. So whether Dayak part can be called Dayak and whether all natives can be defined as Dayaks?’ he asked.

“Dayak is a Bidayuh word means people, and so is the word Iban, a Kayan word, also meaning people,” he said.

The word ‘Iban’ was adopted in place of Sea Dayak during the 1957 Penghulu Conference.

Tajem said that the Federal and State Constitutions as well as the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance need to be amended together, he said. – The Broken Shield


Sunday, November 1

Awang Tengah criticised

KUCHING – Sarawak Opposition leaders and activists today criticised Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management for asking the Auditor General to amend its Annual Report for 2008 as the report cited Sarawak along with Kelantan, Pahang and Johor to have poor forest management that led to river pollution, erosion, landslides and destruction of flora and fauna.

The report which also mentioned illegal logging, logging in forest reserves or national parks and poor enforcement as some of the factors responsible has made the minister unhappy and demanded that the report be corrected.

A DAP leader Voon Lee Shan, who is the Batu Lintang State assemblyman said that Police and MACC reports should be made against the minister for trying to influence the Auditor General to change the report.

“This is an abuse of power and intimidation against the Auditor General. Police reports as well reports to MACC should be made,” he said, pointing out that the AG made the report based on the principle of authority and accountability.

The AG, he said, should be firm and should not be influenced by any quarter.

A PKR Sarawak leader and State Assemblyman for Padungan Dominique Ng accused Awang Tengah of trying to fiddle with the report. The AG, he said, has certain procedures and guidelines to follow in making their reports

“Unless the Sarawak Government is saying that the reports are without any basis and are wrong, then the minister is questioning the credibility of the AG.

“The Sarawak Government should spend time and effort to find out the truth instead in a denial mode. Didn’t they also deny the Penan rape cases?

“They are only trying to cover up atrocities now being committed in our lands,” Ng stressed.

Harrison Ngau, chairman of Sarawak Indigenous Lawyers Alliance (SILA), said that Awang Tengah should not attempt to question let alone dictate how the AG which is an independent body carries out his works or functions.

“If Awang Tengah wants the AG to change or amend its reports on the subject of forest management in Sarawak, other parties such as the native communities who live within or around the logging areas would also want their views to be included in the AG reports.

“I would also want to suggest to the AG to look into the reasons why environmental impact assessment study on loggings in Sarawak as required under the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance was never carried out by the logging companies in the State?

“I wish also to challenge Awang Tengah to furnish to the AG copies of all the areas in Sarawak which have been licensed out for logging since 1981 and to reveal the names of the companies granted the licences.

“He should disclose all these to the AG to enable him to also study and annex the maps and the names of the companies in the AG reports so that the public can also make their assessment and give their views to the AG concerning the management of our forest in Sarawak.

“If Awang Tengah is so confident that AG was wrong in concluding that the management of our forests is poor, he should therefore have the courage to disclose all these,”
Harrison said.

The Secretary General of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Nicholas Mujah called on MACC to investigate Awang Tengah as there seems to be fishy elements on his call on the AG to amend his report.

“MACC must look into Awang Tengah’s call,” he said.

Meanwhile, Awang Tengah who is the most powerful minister after Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, demanded the Auditor General to make correction with regards to its reports on Sarawak’s sustainable forest management as it was misleading and incorrect.
“The Auditor General has to make the correction for fear that outsiders may use the report to tarnish the image of the state,” he said, adding that the final report was based on their (AG’s) own interpretation and not based on the reports, findings and comments from the Forest Department.

“If they want the interest and image of the State not to be affected internationally, they should make the necessary correction,”
he said.

He said that the National Audit Department had actually requested for comments from the various departments before the AG made the final report.

“But in the final report they simply set aside whatever comments that we have gathered. The Forest Department was even not consulted when the final report was published.

“We do not question their competency on financial management such as how projects are implemented as that is their expertise. But to comment on certain things like sustainable forest management, I don’t think they have the expertise. They cannot come to the conclusion based on their own observation. For instance just because the water is muddy they blame it on illegal logging and pollution. You can’t make that kind of conclusion,” said Awang Tengah angrily.

“If they have the expertise to make the comment, it is okay, but I believe they don’t have it,” he said, pointing out that Sarawak had been practising sustainable forest management since the formation of the Forest Department and had been credited by international organisations, ITTO, and the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has announced the setting up of a high powered task force to study the 2008 Auditor General report and initiate appropriate actions against those responsible for financial irregularities and abuse of power mentioned in the report.

“The committee will not only look at the abuse of power and initiate action against those found involved in financial irregularities but also take administrative actions against those found guilty but could not charged in court fro various reasons,” he said.

The task forced to be headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Sidek Hassan would also include the Finance Secretary General Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, Public Services Department Director General Ismail Adam and the Auditor General Ambrin Buang himself.

They would have the power to rope in Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail and the Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission (MACC) if the need arose, he said.

Following Awang Tengah’s complaints against the AG, don’t you think Awang Tengah or someone from the Forestry Corporation to be interviewed by the task force for possibly abuse of power? - The Broken Shield