Thursday, December 30

Who will look after the Dayaks?

According to The Borneo Post dated 30 December 2010, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) is setting up a special unit at its headquarters in Kuching in a move to help get more non-Bumiputra, especially Chinese, into the public sector.

Deputy Chief Minister George Chan, who is also SUPP President, said it was the party’s hope that a racial balance in both the state and federal civil services would be attained with the setting up of the unit.

He said it was time that members of the Chinese change their perceptions that they could not good returns and incentives in the public sector.

“This may be the case in the early days but now as the country is getting more advanced, the civil service including in Sarawak, is changing very fast where people with skills and experienced are much sought after and the salary scale has also improved compared with those days,” he said.

He said that this was indeed the correct approach the government should take to attract talented people to join the civil service.

“To me this is the correct way to go because if we want to engage the best people we must be able to give them good remuneration,” he said.

He said this was the model that Singapore had been using and it had enabled the country to manage both its public and private sectors very efficiently and effectively.

“Based on statistics previously, for whatever reasons, very few Chinese applied for jobs in the public sector.

“We don’t know if there was any racial discrimination involved because no specific study was ever carried our prior to this and probably once we start the unit, we may be able to establish exactly what is happening.

“With the setting up of the unit, we hope more jobseekers will come forward and register with us. We are not doing the recruitment but we will assist them in every way possible how they should go about with their applications.

“At the initial stage this unit will be set up at our headquarters and if the response is good we will also bring it to other divisions,”
Chan said.

The unit here would start operation this Sunday (9.00 am to 12.00 noon) and would be open during office hours on week days, he said.

Now The Broken Shield asks: Who will speak on behalf of the unemployed Dayaks? The Dayaks especially the Ibans are also interested to work in the civil service. But their applications have been rejected for unknown reasons.

I remember what Bernard Dumpok from Sabah said a few years ago that out of 186,000 applications made by Ibans for jobs in the civil service, only 24 were shortlisted. We do not know how many were finally accepted into the civil service.

What is most regrettable was none of the present Dayak ministers and YBs said something about it.

No wonder you hardly find any Iban working in the civil service in any government department nowadays. Who are to be blamed?

Saturday, December 25


To all readers and followers of The Broken Shield

Merry Xmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. May 2011 bring better luck, joy and happiness to all of you and families.

From Jetty and the administrators of the blog.

Friday, December 24

Penans sue Samling, state government

The Penan community of Ba Jawi in Sarawak's Upper Baram region is suing a giant timber company, Samling and the state government over 15,000 hectares of primary rainforest in order to protect their livelihood from being destroyed by logging.

The case was filed on Tuesday morning (21 Dec 2010) by lead plaintiff Lija Agan, headman of the tiny village of Ba Jawi, and three others who are claiming that the Ba Jawi forests have been used since time immemorial by their ancestors and urgently need to be protected against logging.

The case was filed in Miri High Court by Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors.

In their statement of claim, they say that about 200 years ago, their ancestors were living in and around Ba Jawi, exercising native customary rights over the land in Ba Jawi and its vicinity.

"They hunted and gathered food from the forests and lived on sago (uvut) as their staple food. The plaintiffs are presently exercising these rights over that same land," the statement says.

The Penans are claiming that a logging licence held by Samling Plywood, a subsidiary of the Malaysian Samling group of companies, should be rescinded, since it was issued by the Sarawak government in an "unlawful, improper, unconstitutional and therefore null and void" manner.

The new case is the fifth native customary rights case lodged by Eastern Penan communities from Upper Baram since 1998. It has been prepared with assistance from the Bruno Manser Fund.

The area covered by the Ba Jawi claim is a key region of the Penan Peace Park, a self-administered conservation region in the Heart of Borneo, which was proclaimed a nature reserve by 17 Penan communities in November 2009 and covers twice the size of Singapore.

In February 2007, the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei signed the tripartite "Heart of Borneo Declaration" in which they committed themselves to protecting the rainforests of central Borneo.

However, the declaration has not been followed by much action on the ground. In December 2009, Sarawak's director of forests, Len Talif Salleh, even condemned the Penan Peace Park as an "illegal" project that "tainted Sarawak's image".

Monday, December 20

Barisan Nasional’s secret weapon

It is reported in The Borneo Post dated 19 December that Deputy President of PBB and Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu anak Numpang has been quoted as saying that village and longhouse headmen can be relieved of their positions if they do not do their job responsibly.

They should therefore be efficient and active, and knowledgeable about their village and longhouse dwellers such as their education level, economic status, jobs and number of families.

“The district office or resident’s office has the right to sack leaders whom people feel failed to carry out their responsibilities,” he said when launching the ‘State Community Leaders Development and Leadership Seminar 2010’ at Sri Aman Civic Centre on Thursday.

A total of 498 community leaders attended the seminar.

Jabu told the community leaders not to entertain opposition members during the coming state election.


For the past three months or so, more than 5,000 Tuai Rumah and other community leaders have been ‘indoctrinated’ with the Barisan Nasional’s politics, the latest one held in Sri Aman. Kuching, Mukah, Miri dan Sibu have organised the seminar. Tuai Rumah from other divisions and district will attend the seminar for the next two months.

We are given to understand that what the community leaders were told was to hate the Opposition politicians, to bar them from going into their longhouses and to keep watch over their followers so that they would not support the Opposition.

Those found to be supportive of the opposition, the Tuai Rumah has the power to ‘sack’ them from the longhouse and has also the power not to give them ‘shares’ in development projects or in ‘corruption money’. This had been effectively used in previous elections and it is certain such dirty tactics will be used again in the coming election.

The effects are many: one is that not all the people in a longhouse support the BN and the Tuai Rumah and this may lead up to deeper disunity and hatred against the BN and the Tuai Rumah. Some may break away from the longhouse.

Regrettably, there are ex-senior civil servants, ex-Police officers and retired teachers who have been appointed Tuai Rumah. During their days as civil servants and teachers, they know that this BN government has taken away their fathers’ NCR land and given to crony companies; they know that their own children were deprived of scholarships, places in universities and refused to entry to the civil service or deprived of promotions. Many of their children find their ways to Johor, Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and overseas. Why? No job opportunities.

And yet because of the initials ‘TR’ and the RM450 allowance per month, they are willingly accepted their appointment. Where is their conscience, if there is any left?

Now, they have not only betrayed their forefathers, parents, brothers, sisters and their own children and their children’s children, they have also now become the secret weapon of the Barisan Nasional to further suppress and oppress the already down-trodden Dayaks – Dayak Ibans, Dayak Bidayuhs, Dayak Kayans, Dayak Kenyahs and the Dayak Penans, and etc. – The Broken Shield.

Saturday, December 11

“Ignorant” Minister draws flak over NCR land

By Joseph Tawie

(The story was first published by Free Malaysia Today)

KUCHING: Sarawak’s Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Michael Manyin has come under fire for saying that community leaders do not have the authority to endorse native customary right (NCR) lands.

Sarawak PKR leaders Baru Bian and Nicholas Bawin accused him of being “ignorant” of the Land Code.

Bian (photo), who is chairman of Sarawak PKR, said that community leaders had an important role to play in confirming whether the land was NCR land or not.

“It will be a serious abdication of responsibility for headmen to shy away or be prevented by certain political powers or individuals from discharging their important duties. It is irresponsible of them not to exercise their rights. I smell something fishy,” he said.

Manyin had reminded community leaders not to assume that they had the authority to validate the rightful owner of a NCR land.

“Only the Land and Survey Department has the authority to do that,” he said, adding that he came across cases of community leaders, especially in Bidayuh areas, certifying individuals as the rightful owner of a piece of land in their village.

“I would like to remind them that they have no power to do so. Even the chief minister who is also the planning and resource management minster can only endorse the land as NCR upon the advice of the department,” he said.

Government is worried

Speaking to FMT, Bian said: “I think this is political. It is the pressure from the political masters. The natives are getting more educated and aware of their rights and willing to make a stand.”

“The government is worried. Because at the end of the day who do you expect to confirm our rights over land? Certainly you don’t expect (Chief Minister) Abdul Taib Mahmud and non-natives to come forward to decide for our rights.

“It is we who should decide our right on our land. If it is left to the government to decide it, then it will be dangerous,” he warned.

Bian, a well-known NCR land lawyer, said that it would appear that native leaders were succumbing to a third force which was higher than them.

“Our Tuai Rumah (village chiefs) should be elected by the people and not appointed by the government as many of them are not qualified on the customs and adat of the Dayaks,” he said.

Bian said that under the Barisan Nasional government the Dayaks had no future, pointing out that under Pakatan Rakyat, the people would get a better deal.

'If I was him, I'll shut up'

Meanwhile, PKR election bureau director Bawin blasted Manyin for his ignorance with regards to the customs and adat of Dayaks.

“Under the adat, the Tuai Rumah, Penghulu, Pemancha and Temenggong are custodians of the adat. They are appointed because they have substantial knowledge of the land," he said.

Bawin, a former deputy president of the Council of Native Customary Laws, said land was an integral and important part of the native community.

"Land means so much to the natives. It is where the people do their farming, planting fruit trees and foraging for food.

"If I was Manyin, I will shut my mouth. By reminding them of their role, you are actually threatening them. Later on they may not want to stand for the rights of the people under their jurisdiction.

“The community leaders are in the best position to know the rights of their people. It cannot be anybody else from outside,” he said, adding that community leaders’ land were also taken away.

Courts recognise NCR

Accusing the minister of lying that the government did not take away people’s land, he said: “The fact there are about 250 land cases brought by landowners is evidence to say that the government has been grabbing people’s land.”

“Even though the state government does not recognise our native customary rights over land, we are happy that the court recognises the ‘pemakai menua’ (territorial rights) of the community which has existed before any legislation on this land,” he added.

To the question that only the Land and Survey Department and the minister of planning and resources management had the prerogative of endorsing NCR land, Bawin said: “My fear and worry about this statement is that how far have they done the survey work. We know the attitude of the people in the Land and Survey Department. They do not want to go to the ground.”

“We have been independent for 47 years and it appears nothing much has been done regarding the surveying of the land. NCR land should have been given titles over 47 years ago,” he said.

Bawin called on the Land and Survey Department to respect the adat and rights of the people over land.

He said the deparment must work hand-in-hand with the landowners to get their views and not only seek the views of one party.

He said native landowners had no problem with their land when Sarawak was under the Brooke regime, the colonial government and even during the Japanese occupation.

“The problem only occurred when the BN state government took over the administration of the state and has since seized lands owned by the natives and leased them to their cronies under the concept of politics of development,” he said.

Tuesday, December 7

Senseless Arrests Reign in Sarawak

258, Jalan Air Itam, 10460 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: (6) 04 - 2286930 Fax: (6) 04 – 2286932
3rd Dec 2010

Senseless Arrests Reign in Sarawak

Sahabat Alam Malaysia is gravely concerned over the recent arrest, four-day remand and the subsequent charge under Section 307(1) of the Penal Code of an Iban Mr. Liam Rengga from Rumah Kilat in Sungai Senga, Pandan-Sebauh, Bintulu on Nov 23, 2010. We indeed have cause for serious concern over this latest arrest of a Sarawak indigenous community activist, as Section 307(1) carries the very serious charge of attempted murder. It carries a sentence of between 10 and 20 years jail, and a fine.

The arrest of Mr. Liam, 41, took place during the late afternoon of Nov 17, 2010 at his farm hut in Ulu Sungai Seplai which also saw his traditional parang, or the 'Duku Latuk', used for work on his farm, seized by the police. His arrest is believed to be connected to a police report made against him by a personnel of an oil palm plantation company, whose operations are said to have encroached into Mr. Liam’s traditional village territory.

In his police report lodged after his release on Nov 23, 2010, Mr. Liam alleged that a day prior to his arrest, he had bumped into two men whom he believed were agents of an oil palm company whilst putting up a no-entry signboard to outsiders on his land. Mr. Liam claimed to have spoken to the men on the communal hunting prohibition in the area upon catching sight of a shotgun in the men’s vehicles before being told off by the latter to not cause a ruckus (“lu jangan buat hal”).

According to Mr. Liam, the initiative to put up the signboard was primarily meant to deter outsiders from hunting in his village territory as well as for security reasons.

Mr. Liam has been fighting for the village native customary land that was encroached by the plantation company without the people’s consent. As a matter of fact, he and others are in the process of filing a legal suit against the company. Led by him, the Rumah Kilat community has set up a residents association last year, the Sungai Senga Residents’ Association (SSRA) in order to better protect their collective interests in this regard.

Since the association was registered on July 20, 2010, regular campaign work to defend their native land rights has been carried out. They include informing the company and government authorities in an official letter dated Aug 31, 2010 of the environmental pollution and health of his village and villagers, respectively, being affected by water pollution from the plantation. SSRA also issued a warning letter to the company on Oct 24, 2010, urging its workers to refrain from using the private road that runs through his village native customary land.
On Sept 15, 2010 letters on SSRA’s objectives and functions were sent to the plantation company and several government departments in Bintulu including the District Office, Department of Land and Survey, Health Department, Forestry Department and the Police. The letter also included a copy of their SSRA registration with the Registrar of Societies, and Sungai Senga’s boundary map.

Mr. Liam’s plight brings to mind the spate of criminal charges and detention of an almost similar nature that over the years have befallen other indigenous persons in Sarawak engaged in land rights defence of their traditional territories against logging or plantation corporations in the state.

One such case is the charge against Penan villagers from Long Lunyim, Mr. Semali Sait and his father Mr. Sait Kiling, who were detained for alleged criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the Penal Code on Sept 4, 2003. A year later following numerous court adjournments, the charge against them was withdrawn but the experience proved to be a highly intimidating one for the two villagers.

Given the existence of such a trend, we fear that Mr. Liam may experience a similar injustice like that of Mr. Semali Sait and Mr. Sait Kiling, where credible evidence failed to be adduced by the state during the trial, leading to the eventual withdrawal of the charges.

In mid-October this year, seven community leaders in Sebuyau, Simunjan including NGO Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) secretary-general Mr Nicholas Mujah were arrested based on allegations of arson to a timber camp. Although they were eventually released on Oct 25, 2010, the allegations were unjust particularly where evidence was unsubstantiated. These arrests similar to most detentions of indigenous people speak of harassment and intimidation on NCR landowners to halt the campaign to protect their rights to life and land.

Therefore, we are indeed very concerned that the arrest and charge may possibly be undertaken in order to intimidate and silence Mr. Liam. He is due to appear in court on Jan 6, 2011 and is currently out on bail. He has been asked to report himself to the Bintulu Police Station every first week of the month.

Mr. Liam categorically denied that he and his people had ever engaged in criminal behaviour in their fight to defend their traditional territories. He finds the charge of attempted murder extremely outrageous, illogical and way out of line – it certainly has the effect of tarnishing his good name, although he vows not to let his current predicament affect the community land rights struggle.

“I will continue championing our rights. If anything, I am more spirited now than I was before and will fight till the end,” he said. He added that he was prepared for an assault because of the hostility between his villagers and the company workers resulting from the dissatisfaction over the plantation licence and its occupation over their land.

Taking into account all of the above, we therefore strongly urge that the charge against Mr. Liam, who is the sole breadwinner of his family, be dropped if the state is unable to gather concrete and comprehensive evidence.

We also call the Sarawak State Government to affirm the native customary rights of the Rumah Kilat community and to positively engage them by providing meaningful responses to their grievances, as communicated in the letters mentioned above.

Finally, we strongly urge the authorities to stop the intimidation and persecution of native leaders who are fighting for their lawful rights.

S.M. Mohamed Idris

Sunday, December 5

Biggest dividend payout by SALCRA

The Star reported on 1 December 2010 that Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) which manages 18 oil palm plantations in the State’s southern region, is to reward its participating landowners with the biggest ever dividend payout of RM74.3 million.

Chairman Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the dividend this year was more than doubled last year and would be paid to some 20,000 landowners in two phases – the first 50% between January and February and the second by July 2011.

The dividend that the landowners will receive will be based on the performance of the plantations and their maturity status.

SALCRA is the first to develop the vast native customary right (NCR) land, which covers an estimated 1.5 million ha statewide.

Under a new development model, the Sarawak government is getting major plantation companies to team up with the landowners via joint ventures to open up the idle or under-utilized NCR land on a big scale.

SALCRA’s earnings have been boosted by the soaring prices of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) and crude palm oil (CPO).

The FFBs now fetch nearly RM600 per tonne while the average CPO price this year is around RM2,550 per tonne compared with RM2,196 last year.

Jabu, also Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, said that as at September, SALCRA had nearly 48,000 ha oil palm plantations, of which 41,000ha are matured.
The Broken Shield: On paper, the dividend appears to be big. In fact, according to SALCRA, it is the biggest dividend payout – RM74.3 million to some 20,000 landowners.

Let us look into it mathematically: RM74, 300,000 divide by 20,000 landowners equals to RM3, 715 per participant per year. RM3, 715 divide by 12 months equals to RM309.50 per participant per month. Again we divide RM309.50 by 30 days, the result will be RM10.31 per landowner per day.

As Jabu said, 50% will be paid between January and February, the amount each land owner receives will be around RM5.16 per landowner per day. Assume, the average family is four, and then each person is entitled to RM1.29 per day. It is just enough to buy a cup of coffee.

It appears that the SALCRA landowners belong to the hardcore poor in the state earning an income of RM309.50 per month, if we take the RM750 as the poverty line.

I would have thought that some Dayak women selling “paku-tubu” would earn a profit of RM50.00 a day. In a month, the smart ones could earn between RM1,000 and RM1,200 a month.

So to me, the SALCRA’s dividend is pleasant to the ears and for the ears of rural voters. You know the State election is coming. But it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signify nothing.