Friday, April 27

RFS ‘poisoning mentality’ of rural Dayaks

Barisan Nasional leaders in rural Sarawak want the government to clamp down on Radio Free Sarawak broadcast.

KUCHING: Barisan Nasional grassroots leaders, increasingly disconcerted by the reach of Radio FreeSarawak (RFS) in the interior of Sarawak, are claiming that the news aired by the Internet broadcasting network is “poisoning” the “mentality” of the native Dayaks.

“The radio is rubbish and it may destroy the mentality of the Ibans and the Dayak community as a whole,” said a local pro-government leaderpemanca (chief), Wilson Siang Lim.

He said before RFS does more damage, the government must clamp down on the widely popular broadcasts.

“Before RFS spreads more ill-will, the government must take action,” he said.

RFS broadcasts daily from London from 6pm to 8pm on SW 15420 KHz to Sarawak, especially the rural areas.

Since its first launch in 2010, RFS has gone on to become a “leader” in alternative radio-news broadcast with call-ins from locals highlighting BN’s lies, broken promises, rampant corruption, and abuse of power.

Locals have also called in to register their protests against the government’s contentious hydro-electric dam projects and land grabs by the state government, ignoring their native customary rights (NCR) status.

Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat has called on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to restrict the frequency of RFS.

Lamat, who apparently has been listening to RFS, said the news clips were discrediting the government.

‘Refute RFS stories’

He said the radio channel broadcasted in the Iban language was introduced by the opposition party to condemn the government ahead of the 13th general election.

“We urge related agencies to take immediate action to stop RFS from spreading lies by restricting its radio frequency,” Lamat said recently.

He said the opposition was using RFS to fish for votes.

“RFS was spreading false information with elements of sedition and defamation to rural voters. This is part of their strategy to fish for votes,” he said .

He urged inhabitants in longhouses in Sarawak to bar opposition members who promote the radio channel.
But unknown to Lamat, RFS is where the rural people phone in their complaints and pour out their grievances.

Chastising Lamat for his “advice” to natives, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said: “This is indeed a very destructive and uncalled-for advice.

“Firstly, it is an affront to the longhouse culture of welcoming any person notwithstanding backgrounds, race, religion and political affiliation.

“Secondly, such statement is going to cause ill-feelings among residents of longhouses, which should not be the case as anybody is free to give support to any political party.

“Supporting political ideologies is legal in Malaysia.

“Thirdly, if RFS is not telling the truth, refute it. BN has all the means to refute any purported lies, but don’t plant seeds of discord by destroying our culture.

“Perhaps, the truth hurts,” said Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.

Tuesday, April 24

MACC Report on Mong completed

According to The Borneo Post, Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission (Sarawak branch) has confirmed that it had long completed its investigation into the alleged abuse of power by an assistant minister which was reported here recently.

Its state director Bahri Mohamad Zin said it took them only two weeks to complete the probe into the case from the day the complaint was received.

“Yes, investigation had been carried out and was completed two weeks after it was reported.

“However, I cannot reveal our findings. All I can say is that the investigation paper has been forwarded to Deputy Public Prosecutor for further actions. On our part, we cannot reveal anything more,” he told reporters during their annual invitational shooting competition at Semenggo Army Camp near here yesterday.

To another question, he said the state MACC was still waiting for directives from its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur about preparation for the coming general election.

“Whatever the directives are, we will, as usual, work closely with the Election Commission (EC) throughout the election period,” he said.

He said the most common cases during elections were attempts by certain people to give bribes in order to gain votes.

He said as far as the MACC was concerned they would take any complaints but whether they merit further investigation or otherwise, it was for a special committee to decide.

“Usually in the evening, the committee will sit down and go through all the reports received during the day. The committee will then decide which ones have the elements of corruption and require investigation.

“If the committee feels that there are elements of corruption and should be probed then investigation papers will be opened. If the committee feels that certain complaints fall under the jurisdiction of other agencies, then they will be forwarded to the agencies concerned,” he said.

He stressed that MACC would receive all complaints but not all would be investigated especially those that were not substantiated and incomplete.

NOTE:  The Borneo Post did not identify who was the Assistant Minister. However, everyone knows that he is Mong Dagang. The MACC was investigating him for abuse of power for ordering the withdrawal of subsidies and welfare payment to an OKU person Frusis Lebi just because he supported an opposition candidate. The investigation was made following report made by PKR Youth.

Would it not an abuse of power if YBs order the sacking of community leaders like Tuai Rumah and Tua kampung? We have heard of several community leaders being sacked on such ground.

It may be an interesting to know whether MACC would investigate if we lodge a report with the anti- corruption commission.

Wednesday, April 18

Dangerous thinking, says Pro Andrew Aeria

KUCHING: James Masing’s concept of democracy ‘jangan lawan tauke’ (don’t fight your boss) is not only flawed, but a very dangerous kind of thinking, said Associate Professor Andrew Aeria of the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).

“What do you mean ‘jangan lawan tauke’? Are you talking about the businessman ‘tauke’?

“Suddenly it became clearer the ‘tauke’ is the politician. Politicians are the ones who are in charge and the people are in charge on voting day. Basically it means from 8.00 am when polling opens to 5.00 pm when polling closes.

“About nine hours after which the politicians become ‘tauke’. This is a very dangerous kind of thinking, because politicians say the majority rules,” said Professor Aeria at the ‘Who is the Boss’ forum on Sunday.

The forum was organised by Sarawak PKR after Masing, who is the President of Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Land Development Minister told a disabled man Frusis Lebi ‘jangan lawan tauke’.

Masing when making the remark was defending Mong Dagang, PRS youth leader and Assistant Minister of Agriculture (Research and Marketing) who ordered that welfare allowance to Frusis be stopped immediately on ground that he supported the Opposition.

Mong also ordered that agricultural subsidies to him also be withdrawn.

Professor Aeria said: “I was surprised that the disabled man was discriminated against just because of his political belief. And I was even more surprised to read that Masing in defending Mong blamed Frusis and told him ‘jangan lawan tauke’.

“By denying him the welfare assistance because of his political belief, you are in violation of the Malaysian Constitution, in violation of the International United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and in violation on the convention of disabled people.

“You are in violation not only of domestic laws, but also international laws,” he said.

“Masing thinks that might is right, and if you take the argument to its logical conclusion, you are going back to the dark days of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when he used legal instruments, used Queen’s powers, you used draconian laws or undemocratic laws to involve your ideas and your form of government upon the people,” he said, pointing out that no Malaysians would like to go to those dark days.

“And if you take the argument even further to its logical conclusion, then you end up in the company of people like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler where you can cancel parliament, get rid of your legal institutions and just imposed government by might and by the rule of Secret Police.

“And this is usually within the democratic discourse, a very dangerous way of thinking,” he stressed, pointing out that politicians in the state have reduced the whole meaning of democracy to one small component – the majority rules.

He said that democracy is a combination of several factors and it is a very complex system. It is a demanding system. It does not confine to majority rule only.

“There is no such thing as the divine right of King in a democracy any more, but we do have the sovereign right of the people in democracy to define their form of government.

“Malaysia is in the midst of transition from a state that is not democratic or may be semi-democratic to a state moving towards democracy. That is why we have thinking articulated by Masing that ‘jangan lawan tauke’ as the politician is the boss.

“This is rather disturbing to me as someone teaches first year politics in the university - Politics 101 is the core materials for any social sciences students.

“When we find that our discussion going on and then we realise the discussion only centred on one small component (of democracy) - majority rule.

“If Masing is in my first year political science in 101 courses, the answer that parliamentary democracy equals to majority rule, I will give him 10 marks. It means he fails, because his answer is under researched and under informed view.

“It is unfortunate that Masing had PhD he should know better,” Aeria added.

The professor was also disturbed to read a recent article quoting Dr. Jerip Susil, an assistant minister who said that since the government had limited funds, it only provided funds to BN supporters.

“This kind of thinking comes from the kind of mentality that politicians are the ‘tauke’. Taxes are paid by everybody. The government is for everybody and not for BN members only.

“If you take Jerip’s argument to its logical conclusion, then what it means is that the government funds come from the Barisan Nasional fund and in that case all those who did not vote for Barisan Nasional please don’t pay your taxes.

“Then you have every right to go to tax revolt – don’t pay taxes. This is the logical conclusion. This is a flawed argument and within the university this argument will not stand.

“Within an enlightened society, civilised and democratic society this kind of argument will not stand,” he stressed, calling on more people to stand up and say ‘we are sovereign’.

He said that he was gland that such a forum was organised to clarify issues on that and expressed the hope Malaysians could look to the future.

“There is no need to look back as a lot of Malaysian politicians are doing. Let us grow into a civilised society that practises democracy.

“If you look backward, you only see dinosaurs in Jurassic parks,” he said.

Monday, April 16

Simunjan OCPD Sued

KUCHING: Two activists, Numpang Anak Suntai and Nicholas Mujah Anak Ason have jointly filed a RM280,000 legal suit at the Kuching High Court against DSP Choo Yin Kok and Sgt. A. Ramlee OKK Hj. Binsin, both of Simunjan Police station for false imprisonment.

Numpang is also suing the police officers for malicious prosecution.

The Government of Malaysia is also named as the third defendant in the suit.

Apart from the RM280,000.00 claim, the plaintiffs also claim  general damages, exemplary damages and or aggravated damages to be assessed by the Court and interest thereon at the rate of 8% from October 22, 2010 to the date of judgment and thereafter at the of 8% per annum to date of full payment and realisation.

They also claim damages, costs and such further or other relief as the Court deems just.

Numpang who hails from Kpg. Bajong Ili is a retiree, while Mujah who comes from Kpg. Ensika, Sebangan is the Secretary General of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA).

On or about October 20, 2010, Numpang was called by Corporal Hadi from the Simunjan Police Station to be present at the Police Station for a discussion.

As he was having medical treatment in Kuching at that time, Numpang agreed to go to the Simunjan Police station on October 22, 2010.

When he arrived at the Police Station at about 2.20 pm, he was informed that he was arrested for suspicion of ‘mischief by fire’ in connection with the fire that occurred at a logging camp owned a timber companies.

He was detained and was ordered to be put in the Police lock-up.

The following day (October 23) Numpang was taken before the district officer of Simunjan for a further remand and again sent to the Police lock-up and he remained imprisoned until he was released on Monday, October 25, 2010 at about 10.20 am.

He was released without making any plea or any charge proffered against him. Nor was he ordered to appear before the magistrate.

Numpang claimed that his arrest and detention was without reasonable or probable cause and therefore unlawful and illegal.

He alleged that his arrest and detention was tainted with malice.

Numpang was never charged for ‘mischief by fire’ as was informed by the DSP Choo.

DSP Choo or his officers did not have any discussion with the plaintiff or failed to interview him. Instead he was put in the Police lock-up without any valid reasons or grounds or reasonable or probable cause.

The plaintiff had suffered shame and or damages as a result of the illegal arrest and detention or false imprisonment and or the action of the first defendant and was traumatised by his experience.

On malicious prosecution against him, Numpang was asked to appear before a magistrate Court in Serian on December 15, 2010 and was charged by the Public Prosecutor for ‘criminal intimidation’ for words that he allegedly uttered to the representatives of the said companies (Quality Concrete Sdn Bhd and Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd) on October 18, 2010 at the logging camp in Rantau, Sebangan.

The case was heard before the Magistrate court in Simunjan on February 16, 2011, and on March 10, 2011 the Magistrate delivered his ruling that the Public Prosecutor had failed to establish any prima facie case against him.

Numpang was discharged amounting to an acquittal.

The Public Prosecutor appealed and after a number of postpones, the Public Prosecutor withdrew the case.

On Mujah’s case, he was at Pulau Bruit, Mukah on October 22, 2010 when he received a call from Corporal Hadi asking him to be present at the Simunjan Police Station.

Mujah presented himself at the Police Station on October 23, 2010 and was arrested at 2.20 pm for suspicion of ‘mischief by fire’ in connection with the fire that occurred at the logging camp of the two companies at Selabyu, Sebangan.

He was detained and was ordered to be put in the Police lock-up until he was not released at about 10.20 am on October 25, 2010 without any charge proffered against him nor was he ordered to appear before the Magistrate.

Without prejudice to the above, there was no reasonable ground for remanding him.

Mujah had suffered shame and or damages as a result of the illegal arrest and detention or false imprisonment and or the action of the Police officers who are under the employment of the Malaysian Government, the third defendant.

He claimed he was traumatised by his experiences.

Tuesday, April 10

Dayak union rejects Masing, Jabu

The 100,000-strong Dayak union has justified its decision to elect SPDP president William Mawan as its new president.

KUCHING: Fed up with Senior Minister James Masing’s disinterest in their affairs, the 100,000- strong members of Sarawak Dayak National Union recently rejected his presidency and elected instead his arch political rival William Mawan.

According to the union’s deputy president John Anthony Brian, Masing, who is also State Land Development Minister, had never responded to the union’s invitation to be its patron of its functions nor has he contributed to SDNU’s coffers.

“We often invited him, but he failed to respond to our invitation to be a patron of a Gawai Dayak function, not to mention donating funds to SDNU.

“He just refused to respond to the union’s functions. So how could the union members want him to be their president?” asked Brian, adding that members themselves were clueless as to what Masing was thinking.

Brian was responding to Masing’s statement that a full-time politician should not be elected as SDNU president.

This, however, did not stop members from voting in Mawan, who is Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president.

Mawan was elected unopposed as president of the 66-year-old union, which is one of the most influential Dayak NGOs in the state. Kapit MP, Alexander Nanta Linggi, was elected deputy president.

Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, is rumoured to be miffed by the turn of events. But the union feels that Mawan’s election is justified.

‘Interfering wife of a leader’

Mawan is not only committed to the cause of the Dayaks, but has never failed to attend its functions, Brian said, adding that he even donated some funds to the union.

“We had a discussion among our members and decided to approach Mawan to be our president, and he accepted our invitation.

“We have willingly accepted a new leader to take over the union, especially someone like Mawan. We believe Mawan can help solve some of the problems like restarting the stalled the Rumah Dayak project as well as some other projects which the union has proposed to build on its own land.

“Our projects had also been cancelled even after agreements were signed just because a wife of a senior Dayak minister had complained to the State Planning Authority not to entertain our proposals,” Brian said.

Although he did not name the person, it was learnt that the “wife” is Empiang Jabu. Empiang is the wife of Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang. She is also the president of Sarawak Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS).

On why SDNU had not approached Jabu to helm the union, Brian said that Jabu had always been critical of the union since the time it was headed by Daniel Tajem, former president of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak in the early 1980s.

“Jabu is not the right person. He has been criticising nearly all Dayak non-governmental organisations.

“So instead of uniting the Dayaks, especially the Ibans, Jabu keeps them away from the union,” said Brian.

‘Dayak unity elusive’

Meanwhile, Masing said that it was not wise for active politicians to head the union because their inherent enemies would tend to follow them wherever they went.

“Because of this, unity is an elusive dream,” he said.

He said that he had been approached to head the union, but had to reject it.

However, Masing gave an assurance that he would assist the union behind the scene if needed.

In his acceptance speech, Mawan called on members to cast aside past problems and political affiliations so that the union could move forward.

“Unity must prevail and past issues should never be allowed to become distractions. Now is the time to uphold the spirit of working together and moving forward,” he said.

Wednesday, April 4

Residents want 42-year-old road pledge fulfilled

Tun Abdul Razak first promised a road from Kapit to Kanowit 42 years ago. His son repeated the pledge during the last state election.

KAPIT: The calls for the construction of 71km Kapit-Song-Kanowit road are now getting louder and louder as the more than 120,000 Kapit people are waiting for the federal government to fulfil its promise made more than 40 years ago.

It was the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak who made the promise to build the road in the presence of the Federal Minister of Sarawak Affairs (Tun) Temenggong Jugah Anak Barieng and the people of Kapit when he visited the town about 42 years ago.

Since then several promises had been made by federal leaders.

The latest promise came from Razak’s son and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the campaign for the last state election.

When announcing an allocation of RM90 million to construct phase two of the road, Najib said: “I want to help Kapit people. I just consulted the Finance Minister.

“I am the Finance Minister, so I must approve it. It’s not an empty promise. I will fulfil it,” Najib was quoted as saying.

“My father (Tun Razak) was in Kapit 42 years ago,” he said.

Kapit is the only town in the country that is not linked to any town in Sarawak. It depends on the mighty Rajang River as its main mode of transport where scores of high-powered express boats are plying from Sibu to Kapit, passing through towns such as Kanowit and Song and hundreds of longhouses.

After Najib had made the promise, more and more people came forward to demand for the speedy construction of the road.

Lack of development

Jugah’s grandson and the incumbent MP for Kapit Alex Nanta Linggi said in Parliament that “Kapit is one of the remote areas without road linking it to other towns in Sarawak”.

“I don’t want to paint a glowing picture of Kapit, because development is not there.

“All the development promises like the construction of a trunk road are yet to be implemented,” Nanta said, and warned that the Barisan Nasional might lose its rural constituencies which the BN regarded as its “fixed deposit” to the opposition.

State Land Development Minister and president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak James Masing also bemoaned the lack of road development in Kapit.

“We are far behind as we are not connected by road. Our aim now is for Kapit to be connected to the rest of the state by road,” he told businessmen in Kapit.

Indeed the construction of the Kapit-Song-Kanowit road has been the talk of the town following the promise made by Najib.

In fact, it is everybody’s dream to see a road connecting Kapit, Song and Kanowit being constructed, especially now when travelling along the Rajang River by express boats is no longer reliable due to the impoundment of Bakun Dam, which makes certain parts of the once mighty Rajang River shallow and are not passable by express boats.

“The government has been promising the people for the last 40 years to build the road,” said 76-year old Kapit resident Neo Eng Siew.

“I am already old. I just hope one day before I pass away Song will be connected to both Kapit and Kanowit.

Prioritise the road project

The latest to voice the people’s demand is Kapit Chinese Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) which wanted the government to prioritise the road project.

Its chairman Yong Hua Sying said: “Now or never. Strike while the iron is hot. During the walkabout by the prime minister on April 14 he announced RM90 million for the road project between Kapit and Song.

“KCCC welcomed the effort of the government to construct the road to link Kapit-Song-Kanowit and thereon to the rest of the state.

“The first phase of the tender was awarded to construct slightly less than 1.9km of road between Kapit and Sungai Yong. The tender for the second phase to construct 12km has also been called.

“Our stand is for the government to prioritise the road project so that 44km stretch between Kapit and Song could be done quickly,” Yong said.

He was concerned that the road project, if not done quickly, would affect voters who had been urged to remain loyal to the BN candidate.

The current MP for Kapit (Alexander Nanta Linggi) won the seat twice uncontested as the rakyat believed the government would do its best to fulfill their needs.

“We don’t ask for extra. Sarawak gained its independence about 50 years ago.

“On the day of independence, we have dreamt to have the road,” Yong said.

Added Neo: “How long more can the people of Kapit and Song wait?”

Source: Free Malaysia Today