Thursday, June 28

Was Naroden cheating?

KUCHING: Angry Ibans of Kampung Lebor about 20 minutes drive from Serian have another round of victory when they are allowed to collect oil palm fruits from their 3,000 acres of the native customary rights land which have been planted with oil palm.

In February this year, the 70 families of the village have won their civil suit against Tabung Haji when a High Court judge ordered that the 3,000 acres of the land be returned to the land owners as they have proved that the lands were their native customary rights land.

In spite of their victory, the Ibans are, however, not only disallowed to enter their own land, but were also prevented from harvesting the oil palm fruits.

They gave Tabung Haji until June 25, 2012 to hand over the land to them, failing which they would mount a blockade.

Starting on June 24, 2012 the natives mounted the blockade and would continue to do so until a decision was made.

On Tuesday afternoon, both parties were summoned to the Serian Police station accompanied by their respective lawyers.

During the discussions, both parties agreed that each party should be allowed to collect oil palm fruits from their own respective areas.

The Ibans can collect the fruits from the 3,000 acres which the Court had ordered to be returned to them.

According to lawyer See Chee How, who represented the natives, the two parties agreed to allow each other enter their own respective areas.

The Ibans are allowed to enter their own 3,000 acres and harvest the oil palm fruits, while Tabung Haji is allowed to harvest the oil palm fruits from their own areas.

As a result of this agreement, the Ibans agreed to dismantle the blockade.

See said that this is another victory for the Ibans.

Tracing the history of the case, Sigan anak Degon said that when their land was taken by Nirwana Muhibbah, a company owned by Assistant Minister Naroden Majais, the natives filed a civil suit against the company in 1998.

The case was heard in 2003, and the decision of the High Court was made on 23 Feb 2012. According to See, Tabung Haji is rather an innocent party as the original suit was against Nirwana Muhibbah, a company owned by Assistant Minister of Bumiputera Entrepreneur Naroden Majais.

When the suit was filed in 1997 against his company, Naroden was alleged to have sold the area to DD plantation. The DD plantation on realizing the problem with the natives sold the area to Tabung Haji.

According to the 2005 reports of the Land and Survey Department, Naroden has some 16,488 hectares of land, the bulk of these lands are native customary rights land.

These lands have been given to his companies namely Pelita Nirwana Muhibbah, Gedong Plantation, Hydroflow and Indranika Jaya.

Like in Gedong, Naroden’s companies in Simunjan are being sued by the Ibans for ‘stealing’ their NCR land.

Tuesday, June 26

More people from Baram voiced opposition to the proposed Baram Dam

Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers)
Jaringan Selamatkan Sungai-Sungai Sarawak
Secretariat Office:
Lot 1046, 2nd Floor, Shang Garden Shoplots,
Jalan Bulan Sabit, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 085-423044 / Fax: 085-438580

25 June 2012


More people from Baram voiced opposition to the proposed Baram Dam

MIRI – More than 200 people from Baram District as well as supporters from outside the district thronged into Telang Usan Hotel, Miri yesterday afternoon to participate in an open dialogue opposing the proposed Baram Hydro-electric Project.

The dialogue, which was jointly organised by Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) and the Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC), is by far the biggest gathering of people from Baram who are living in and around Miri either for employment or studying.

“We did not expect the crowd to be this big, and I am truly flattered by the overwhelming support the participants of the dialogue gave us.” said Peter Kallang, Chairman of SAVE Rivers.

Equally grateful and encouraged by the support given by the participants, Philip Jau, Chairman of BPAC said, “BPAC together with SAVE Rivers and other NGOs and concerned individuals will work harder to get the government to scrap the Baram Dam project.”

During the dialogue, the participants were clearly upset about the Sarawak State Government and Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) plans to go forward with building the dam and trying to silence the majority of the people who are against it.

In a written statement addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SEB, Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the participants of the dialogue had stated unanimously that they disagree with these plans and strongly oppose the construction of the dam.

They also disagreed with the statements made by their community leaders headed by Temenggong Pahang Ding, their elected representatives i.e., YB Jacob Dungau Sagan, YB Dennis Ngau and Senator YB Lihan Jok and the President of the Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia (FORUM), Mr. Gerawat Gala, saying which the Orang Ulu community in Baram have agree to the said project.

They were also not pleased with the announcement made by Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu that the resettlement site for the communities affected by the said project has been identified to be between Murum and Bakun, in the Usun Apau region, whereas the said project is still in the proposal stage and no decision had been made on its approval.

The participants refuted the statement made by SEB’s CEO which was published in a local daily last Wednesday which said that only a small number of activists are making ‘noise’ opposing the said project and that the Orang Ulu community are ignorant. However, the participants are claiming that the CEO himself is being ignorant to the concerns and pleas of the people of Baram who are going to be affected by the said project.

They reminded the CEO that a 3 day meeting with the Orang Ulu communities at Long Na’ah village during the dialogue and ‘Mayau Daleh’ ceremony organised SEB and the State Government last April is not the right gauge to say that all the people of Baram have agreed to the said project, as not all the people of Baram were present at that time.

The participants are demanding that the Sarawak State Government and SEB scrap the controversial project with immediate effect and halt all works at the proposed project site immediately and warned SEB and the State Government that they will not hesitate to take the necessary actions if their objections are not heeded.

- END -

Press Statement issued by:
Mark Bujang
SAVE Rivers

Police also liable

LIMBANG:  On Friday June 22, 2012 two Police officers who abused their positions of trust were ordered by the High Court In Limbang to pay as damages RM10,000 to each of two school boys and a member of the public.

They were also ordered to pay RM5,000 to the second plaintiff for causing injuries.

They were fined for assault and false imprisonment.

Lawyer Baru Bian, who represented them said: “We are thankful that justice has prevailed for the plaintiffs in this case, who were innocent (and young, in the case of two) victims made to suffer at the hands of the very people paid by taxpayers to protect them.” 

Giving a full account of the incident, he said that three plaintiffs, two of them students, succeeded in a suit against the Police and the government of Malaysia for assault and false imprisonment.

“The case arose from a futsal match between the Police team and the Bada Buda Team from a local school, during which a disagreement occurred. The second defendant, L/P Jamel Fernandez Mohamad ran onto the field and assaulted one of the players.

“The first plaintiff, Umar Selutan, stopped the assault and the game was aborted. The following day, Umar was called to the Lawas police station to explain the incident, but was accused of starting the fight and put in lock-up without being told of the reasons for his detention.

“He was released after 55 hours in detention without any charge being proffered against him,” said Bian.

The second and third plaintiffs (Awangku and Steven) and another player were picked up from their school by police officers the day after the match and taken to the police station, where they were accused of assaulting the police team.

L/P Jamel and the first defendant Inspector Khairul Anuar bin Omar then assaulted Awangku in the office of another officer.

The two schoolboys were put in lock-up and were released 28.5 hours later without any charges being proffered against them, said Bian.

Awangku only received medical treatment for the injuries sustained from the assault after he was released from lock-up.

Bian said: “All three plaintiffs were not given the opportunity to consult a lawyer at any time. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants had violated their duty to uphold the peace but instead had assaulted Awangku.
“They further claimed that they had been humiliated and treated like criminals, and as a result, suffered trauma and shame and/or damage and/or injuries as a result of their illegal arrest and false imprisonment.

“The High Court in Limbang allowed the claims of the plaintiffs for damages and costs against Inspector Khairul, L/P Jamel and the Government of Malaysia. The defendants were ordered to pay RM10,000 as damages to each plaintiff and RM5,000 as costs for causing injuries to the second plaintiff  while in police detention,” he said.

Disciplinary action by their department is likely to be taken them.

“We hope that today’s ruling will serve to remind those in authority not to abuse their positions of trust,” said Bian, who is Sarawak PKR Chief, said.

Meanwhile, a number of cases are pending against Police Officers who have allegedly abused their power for false imprisonment of native land owners who have defended their rights against encroaching in to their NCR land.

Instead of the culprits who should be arrested for destroying their NCR land and their fruit trees, the landowners who lodged the reports have been arrested.

Unhappy with the Police action, the detained NCR landowners sue the Police.

Thursday, June 21

Broken promises, displaced natives, cheating BN

Thirty years on, native victims of the Batang Ai and Bakun dams are still waiting for compensations and lands promised to them in return for their relocation.

KUCHING: Unresolved issues as a result of broken promises made to natives displaced by the Batang Ai and Bakun hydro-electric dams should serve as a “warning” to settlers who are yet to be affected by the construction of dams in Baram and other places in Sarawak.

Despite 30 long years, as in the case of Batang Ai, and 14 years in Bakun’s case, the problems with the settlers have not been resolved.

Said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian: “I would like to urge our people, especially those who are yet to be affected by the construction of the dams, to bear in mind what have happened to the people who have been displaced by the Batang Ai and Bakun dams.

“As long as they are the same [Barisan Nasional] people at the top, their promises will never be fulfilled.”

Bian was commenting on a news report highlighting unresolved issues and unfilled promises made 14 years ago by the Taib Mahmud government to native settlers in return for their relocating from their ancestral homes. The exercise was to enable the construction of the Bakun Dam.

More than 9,000 people from the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan communities who are now resettled at Sungai Asap are still clamouring for the fulfilment of the promises made in exchange for their submerged longhouses and land.

Five longhouses belonging to the Ukit community are still left stranded in the Ulu Balui. They too have claimed that they have not been compensated for the loss of their longhouses and land.

Their leader, Ngajang Midin, said the government owned him more than RM100,000.

Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan Assemblyman, said: “The recent events unfolding at Bakun, Bengoh and Baram areas tell a sorry tale about the tragedy brought about by the government’s reckless disregard of the people in its haste to satisfy the greed of certain powerful parties.

“The people of Sungai Asap are still waiting for the promises of the government to be fulfilled 14 years after they were relocated to make way for the Bakun Dam.

“Initially they were promised 15 acres per family, but they were eventually given only three acres.

“They also claim to have been shortchanged on other promises of cash compensation, housing materials and scholarship from the Bakun Trust Fund.

“In the Bengoh area, timber licences were issued for land that was allocated to the people for resettlement, creating great distress and anger to those who had already suffered the trauma of the loss of their land and livelihood,” he said.

‘Lying BN government’

Bian said that as for the Baram dam, although BN politicians had tried to convince the public that the people in the area support the building of the dam, this is far from the truth.

“There have been protests by the people determined not to suffer the same fate as those whose lives were destroyed by the Batang Ai, Bakun and Bengoh dams,” he said, adding that two police reports had been lodged against contractors Sarawak Energy Bhd for trespassing on native customary rights (NCR) land to start works on the Baram dam.

“In my visits to the area, I was told by 40 longhouse representatives that 95% of the people oppose the building of the dam,” he said.

Bian also said the BN government has made numerous other promises which have yet to see the light of day, including hospitals in Limbang and Petra Jaya, which have yet to be built.

“I saw billboards mushrooming everywhere proclaiming ‘janji ditepati’ and these are but another attempt to mislead the people.

“In the face of broken promises and mistreatment of the people by this government, the BN politicians have no qualms about accusing the opposition of being liars and making empty promises to win the hearts of the rakyat.

“I have been told to stay out of Limbang by the incumbent MP as the people would not fall for the opposition’s lies. For me, that’s not for the political leaders like us to decide but the rakyat’s prerogatives.

“Whether we are telling lies or not is for the rakyat to judge. Never underestimate the wisdom of the rakyat,” he said.--- Free Malaysia Today

Money should be spent on long term benefits

Chong Chieng Jen, MP for Bandar Kuching, said that the BN government is more concerned in buying votes in order to stay in power rather than in saving lives lost through road accidents.

He was commenting on the lack of funds to build a double carriageway of the Borneo Highway right from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu especially in certain parts which are accident-prone, but prefer to give away ‘BR1M’  amounting to RM3 billion.

Chong who is also the Kota Sentosa Assemblyman said that Prime Minister Najib is prepared to spend more than RM3 billion in ‘Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia’. Each family whose income does not exceed RM3000 has received RM500.

“Now, Najib may announce another BR1M before the general election. It means another RM3 billion is to be spent. He is prepared to spend such money to buy votes in order to stay in power rather than to build safe roads and hospitals to save lives.

“My question to Najib is: Is it so important to Najib than the lives of Sarawakians? The upgrading of the Borneo Highway can be postponed sine die, but buying votes for him is so important,” he said.

Chong said that giving BR1M of RM500 only brings short term benefits to the recipients. 

Thursday, June 14


The lamentation by Peter Minos viz: (quote) “with so many parties and leaders, many of my KL friends are saying that the Dayak are asking for trouble and heading for self-destruction”  is a display of archaic mentality, one trying to portray nothing more and nothing less he is supporting UMNO.

To “his UMNO mates were of the opinion that the Dayaks would bemoan and complain about everything” Peter Minos and those thinking like him should better realize it that indeed the Dayaks are complaining, and rightly so.

Yes, complain we must. Given the fact that Malaysia, after almost 50 years of formation, has not brought about better changes to the people of Sarawak, and let alone to the Dayaks, there is nothing wrong in complaining and bemoaning.

The people want the promises of Malaysia which, for the majority of them, are yet unrealized, unfullfilled.

The rights under article 153, benefits to the bumiputras, which term should include Dayaks, in term of ranking appointments in civil service, GLCs, and other Government Agencies, Army and Police, in foreign service, and contracts, licences, quotas, timber concession, land, scholarships,  and many more have not been accorded us.  In the civil service, army and police the Dayaks are mostly of junior rank.

Peter Minos asking of the Dayak community to emulate the Melanau that “had fully utilized political unity” and “making a success in their social and economic development” is very pathetic while unrealistic.

The reality in its proper prospective is the fact that the State of Sarawak has been led, after Kalong Ningkan was toppled and after a short stint of Tawi Sli, by two (2) successive Chief Ministers, Tun Rahman Yakub followed by Pehin Sri Taib, for the better part of almost five (5) decades since Independence.

Both are Melanau although they would probably prefer to be called “Malay”.  From these facts the Melanau Community can be better appreciated in term of “their social and economic development”. The all-powerful office of the Chief Minister has been seeing to it how Sarawak is developed over the years.

The fact that (or if) Dayaks are in so many political parties is not necessary a bad thing. In fact Pehin Sri Taib referring to Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) he said “the more the merrier”. 

And when he was asked if he considered it an act of betrayal for Larry Sng, who is special advisor (Youth Matters) to lead an opposition party, he replied that was not the case because the country practiced democracy and “everyone has the right to form a party”. 

And when “Barisan Club” was formed by the defected former members of SPDP, Pehin Sri Taib was reported to have said that “they are still supporting Barisan by being in Barisan Club” and “that is what matters”. 

So who is Peter Minos who all the years has expressed full complete loyal support to Pehin Sri Taib as Chief Minister of Sarawak to question the “Group of 5” that started the Barisan Club.

Peter Minos’s call for the Dayak community to be under one party and under one leader is ‘utopian’.  It cannot be achieved. Rather more political parties will see Dayaks becoming their members will be on the card, moving forward. Nothing is wrong in that. 

Like Pehin Sri Taib was reported to have said in referring to SWP that “the people will make their choice”. And one thing is true the Dayaks will keep on asking for more. Sarawak has contributed a lot to the Federal Revenue.

Example: our oil and gas and our tax revenue. And returned each year to us is very small amount. And all of that goes to SCORE and to the other of Chief Minister’s pet projects.   And despite Dayaks are well represented in Barisan, the larger of the community is not served well. Our NCR lands remain untitled, unsurveyed, and unalienated, and otherwise state land.

When these lands are resumed by State Government “for public purposes” the compensated values are very small compared to that of a mixed zone land in a same locality which normally could fetch very high and current market prices.  Their participation in land development schemes through SALCRA and Pelita has brought very marginal returns.

Otherwise in truth our community has been fending for themselves.  Maybe as apparent in the state of things, due to the blind loyal support given to Barisan Nasional all these years what the Dayaks get are no more than in the form of minor rural projects, which mostly would come during the period preceding election times only.

Another thing is also true: that is despite the diversity of parties and the Dayaks are found in almost all of them, the Dayaks are still united. In particular in their quest for better representation in government, better share of the bite of the economic cake, and for the right to be heard of their quests as such.

Like they did not weep when Peter Minos was defeated when he tried to bring PBB to Bau and was defeated by Patau Rubis of SNAP in 1983 general election, the Dayak community including those in Bau and Lundu will survive the coming GE13.

STAR will offer itself likewise other parties and including maybe a member of the “Gang of 5”, and or maybe DAP and PKR as well.  Rest assured, like Pehin Sri Taib has said it “the people will make their choice”.

And Peter Minos is better advised to not to be in haste to praise everything of “UMNO”. And certainly it is not for him to call upon the Dayaks to support or emulate of those Malays in Malaya that support UMNO. This time is not opportune. UMNO has nothing to offer to the Dayaks because in Sarawak the Chief Minister is from PBB. And UMNO will not contest in Sarawak as well.

Patrick Anek Uren
Vice-President STAR

Tuesday, June 12

Devoid of logic?

I have returned from Gawai Dayak celebrations during which I met a lot of relatives and friends. Besides enjoying ourselves during the Gawai, our focus of discussion was on native customary rights (NCR) land, the majority of which has now been ‘sold’ by the government through their agents like Temenggong, Penghulu and Tuai Rumah to big oil palm companies like Tabung Haji.

According to them, the affected landowners have filed their legal action against Tabung Haji, Temenggong and Tuai Rumah as well as against the Land and survey Department and the government.

All the NCR land even up to their ‘kaki tangga’ (door step) have been taken away leaving nothing for the Ibans to plant paddy, vegetables, pepper, cocoa and rubber.

Some of the Ibans have now been given rubber clones, pepper and oil palm to plant together with subsidies. This scheme is under the Ministry of Agriculture.

What is strange is that the majority of the Ibans, if not all, have no land left to plant all these crops as their land have been taken by Pelita-Tabung Haji Company.

What shall they do with the rubber clones and young oil palm trees and fertiliser?

Sell them for a short term benefit?

But that is not the point: The point is why giving them when you know they have no land to plant those crops.

Are these parts of the ‘election goodies’? Or are those from the Ministry of Agriculture plain stupid?

Monday, June 4

‘Durian runtoh’ for native landowners

SIMUNJAN:  More than 120 native landowners from Kpg. Keniong, Kpg. Tebun, Kpg. Temiang and Kpg Sungai Raya in Simunjan District have every reason to celebrate Gawai Dayak. Just before Gawai a cheque for RM11,000 was paid to each family.
A few weeks earlier, each family had been paid RM16,000. The money was part of the RM12 million paid by a company as compensation for their fruit trees, cash crops, farm land, pulau galau and pemakai menua destroyed by the company.

Each family is expected to receive between RM50,000 and RM100,000 depending on the size of their NCR land.

When the company was given licence to extract timber form their "pulau galau" and "pemakai menua" which are part of their NCR land more than six years ago, the natives initiated a legal suit against the company. Recently they won the case.

On the other hand, more than 200 other landowners from the four kampungs willingly surrendered their land to the same company and each family was paid RM150.

In the morning they received the amount and later in the evening most of the landowners spent all the RM150. Not only that, they lost their land also. 

For these landowners who prefer quick money  will not only regret for the rest of their life, but will be condemned by their children’s children.

This should serve as a lesson to all landowners.