Showing posts with label Daniel Tajem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel Tajem. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29

Can PRS be able to replace PBDS?

KUCHING: While Sarawak United People’s Party and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party are embroiled in leadership tussles, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is positioning itself to become the second largest party in the state Barisan Nasional after Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu.

Despite it is a comparatively new party, PRS is slowly gaining its strength among the Dayak community, and in its seven years of existence it has now more than 45,000 members about 99.9% percent of them are rural Dayaks.

It has six members of parliament and eight state assemblymen, while SPDP has four MPs and six assemblymen and SUPP has five MPs and six assemblymen.

PBB has 14 MPs and 35 assemblymen. DAP has two MPs and 13 assemblymen, PKR has two assemblymen and one independent assemblyman.

Its six MPs are Joseph Salang (MP for Julau), who is also deputy minister of information, communications and Culture; Joseph Entulu (Selangau), who is also minister of rural and regional development; Billy Abit Joo (Ulu Rajang), Aaron Dagang (Kanowit), Masir Kujat (Sri Aman) and William Nyallau (Lubok Antu), and its eight state assemblymen are James Masing, Land Development Minister (Baleh), Alexander Vincent (Ngemah), Joseph Mauh (Tamin), John Sikie (Kakus), Mong Dagang (Bukit Bangunan), Snowdan Lawan (Balai Ringin), Liwan Lagang (Belaga) and Malcolm Mussen (Batang Ai).

In his speech at the 7th anniversary dinner on October 21, PRS President James Masing was very blunt warning party members that they must adapt to the changing political landscape if they want to see that the party not only remains strong, but also relevant.

“We are facing very organised, focussed and determined political foes who have gained public acceptance,” he said to more than 2,000 members at the dinner.

To his BN partners, he cautioned them that they cannot take for granted any more the support from the rural people although they may be BN’s ‘fixed deposit’ before.

“BN must tackle each segment of the society differently and with great care. It would be a mistake if we assume that all Malaysians want the same thing.

“We cannot lump rural and urban needs under one request, nor can we bluff and frighten our people to support us by denying them minor rural projects (MRP) funds if they refuse to heed to our requests.

“The political landscape has gone beyond MRP. Many candidates and political parties have fallen on the wayside because they failed to move and change with times and demands of their constituents,” said Masing, predicting that more will fall in the years to come if we do not change and adjust to the new political development.

Masing who is Land Development Minister also spoke of the many obstacles and challenges that the party had faced and overcome in its seven years of existence.

Masing was referring to a leadership crisis that had almost led the party to deregistration. It was only saved from such fate with the help of the then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009.

Indeed it has a very turbulent history.

PRS was formed following a leadership crisis in Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) as a result of Masing teaming with Sng Chee Hua trying to challenge Daniel Tajem and Joseph Salang for the party’s two tops in the 2003 party election.

The determination by both sides to win the party leadership had created a deep division within the party so much so that each had its own ‘headquarters’ with its own ‘president’ and its own ‘supreme council’.

Both camps accused each other of cheating and submitting false annual returns to the Registrar of Societies, and as they did not trust each other, the two camps organised their separate ‘triennial delegates conferences’.

The two camps brought their complaints to the Registrar of Societies. As they were unable to see eye to eye on how to solve the crisis, PBDS was deregistered on December 5, 2003.

Tajem and Salang met with the then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to appeal for reinstatement of PBDS, and they were given another chance to organise another TGA.

When both sides still could not agree to the terms and conditions of holding the proposed TGA, PBDS was deregistered for the second time on October 21, 2004, the day when Masing’s men registered Parti Rakyat Sarawak.

Tajem and Salang refused to bring the matter to court.

Meanwhile, Masing’s party applied to join the Barisan Nasional and was readily accepted. Initially PRS had difficulty in getting ex-PBDS members to join the party, but after some time some leaders in the Tajem camp including elected representatives joined the party.

However, PRS was not that lucky. As it tried to regroup itself, the party was hit by another crisis when its deputy president Sng Chee Hua tried to replace Masing as the president of the party allegedly over some business opportunities.

The Sng group alleged that Masing did not share with them some of the lucrative projects and tenders given to the party.

As if history repeats itself. What happened to PBDS between 2003 and 2004 happened to PRS in 2006 organising their separate assemblies, and in the process the two camps elected their own ‘presidents’, with two ‘headquarters’ and two ‘supreme councils’.

Masing was ‘elected’ president of his camp, while Larry Sng who took over from his father was ‘elected’ president in his group. Larry Sng ‘sacked’ from his party, Likewise, Masing ‘sacked’ Larry Sng and all those who supported him from his party.

The two leaders, however, brought their case to be settled by the Registrar of Societies as to which one of the group was legally elected.

It was only in April 2009 when the Registrar recognised Masing and his supreme council were legally elected.

Now as the party celebrates its 7th anniversary, many Dayaks especially the former members of the defunct PBDS who have remained partyless are still harbouring suspicions on Masing’s motive and are unconvinced of his efforts to fight for the interest of the Dayaks.

They still can remember what he had done to PBDS which had then become the household word among the Dayak community.

Lately, however, Masing seemed to project himself as the spokesman of the Dayak community when Alfred Jabu, PBB Deputy President and Deputy Chief Minister and William Mawan Ikom, SPDP President and Social Development Minister appeared to be quiet on issues that concerned the Dayaks.

Masing is very vocal on issues such as the lack of Dayaks in the state civil service and the number of Dayaks holding high and important posts in government and government-linked companies, the perimeter survey of NCR land, the definition of NCR land, dams and the resettlement of displaced natives, and oil palm plantations in native lands, excessive timber operations and logjam.

On some of the more sensitive issues he privately told BN leaders of his concern and fear that they might be exploited by the Opposition.

It is understood that his party does not agree with the state definition of NCR land which comprises only temuda land (farming land), but agrees with the Court definition that NCR includes pulau galau (communal forest), pemakai menua (territorial domain), grave ground, tembawai (land where the old longhouses had been built), farming land, gardens, and etc.

In a recent seminar on NCR land, he has come up with a new strategy to develop the NCR land such as urging the natives to go for small holding under government supervision.

“Masing’s biggest problem is to convince the Dayaks especially the young and educated ones to support him in order to make PRS as the platform to fight for their interest within the Barisan Nasional.

“And if he is able to convince them, then Masing is not only able to get a listening ear from Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, but he can also able to make PRS to play role of the defunct PBDS.

“Otherwise, Masing’s efforts are mere rhetoric for the consumption of the general public particularly the Dayaks,” said a former PBDS Member of Parliament.

As the Iban saying said: “ikak lelengak ikan enda ngaban, kudi muri hari enda ujan”.

Friday, March 4

The High Court rejects stay of execution

KUCHING: The Kuching High Court today (2 March 2011) rejected an appeal for stay of execution by the four defendants (Land Custody Development Authority, Pelita Holdings Sdn. Bhd, Tetangga Arkab and the state government of Sarawak) against the decision of the High court.

However, they will appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Kuching High Court on 20 February 2011 ruled that any joint venture agreement between a non-native and native in oil palm plantation is in contravention of Section 8 of the Land Code.

The decision of the court has wide implications on joint venture agreement between non-natives and natives in the oil palm plantations.

There are more than 20 JV companies with natives may be affected by this ruling.

The Pantu natives have sued LCDA, Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, Tetangga Arkab and the state government of Sarawak as first, second, third, and fourth defendants respectively on behalf of themselves and 90 others.

The plaintiffs who are ethnic Ibans, natives of Sarawak, claim to be entitled to native customary rights over land in an area described as ‘the disputed are land’ in the Pantu Land district.

High Court Judge Linton Albert who delivered the judgment said that their joint venture agreement was in contravention of Section 8 of the Land Code because neither Tetangga Arkab Sdn nor TETANGGA was subsequently declared a native because it is a principle of antiquity that things invalid from the beginning cannot be valid by a subsequent act.

He said: “Section 8 (a) of the Land Code provides that ‘a person who is not a native of Sarawak may not acquire any rights or privileges whatever over native customary right".

The Court declared and ordered the plaintiffs are entitled to their claim to land under native customary rights in the Sg. Tenggang NCR Development area at Pantu.

It also declared the destruction of the plaintiffs’ respective native customary rights land by the first (LCDA) second (Pelita Holding Sdn Bhd) and third (Tetangga Arkab Pelita) defendants was unlawful and damages to be assessed by the Deputy Registrar to be paid by the first, second and third defendants with interest at 4% per annum from the date hereof until settlement.

It ordered that the first, second and third defendants forthwith give vacant possession of the plaintiffs’ native customary rights land.

Fourthly, the first, second and third defendants and their servants, agents, assignees and successors are restrained from entering, occupying, clearing, harvesting or in any way howsoever carrying out works in rhea plantiffs’ native customary rights land; and costs to the plantiffs to be paid by the first, second and third defendants to be taxed unless agreed.

The plaintiffs were represented by Dominique Ng and assisted by Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem.

Saturday, February 26

The High Court decision has wide implications

By Joseph Tawie

KUCHING: The Kuching High Court is again made another land mark decision when it rules out on 20 February 2011 that any joint venture agreement between a non-native and native in oil palm plantation is in contravention of Section 8 of the Land Code.

The decision of the court has wide implications on joint venture agreement between non-natives and natives in the oil palm plantations.

There are more than 20 JV companies with natives may be affected by this ruling.

The Pantu natives have sued LCDA, Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, Tetangga Arkab and the state government of Sarawak as first, second, third, and fourth defendants respectively on behalf of themselves and 90 others.

The plaintiffs who are ethnic Ibans, natives of Sarawak, claim to be entitled to native customary rights over land in an area described as ‘the disputed are land’ in the Pantu Land district.

High Court Judge Linton Albert who delivered the judgment said that their joint venture agreement was in contravention of Section 8 of the Land Code because neither Tetangga Arkab Sdn nor TETANGGA was subsequently declared a native because it is a principle of antiquity that things invalid from the beginning cannot be valid by a subsequent act.

He said: “Section 8 (a) of the Land Code provides that ‘a person who is not a native of Sarawak may not acquire any rights or privileges whatever over native customary right.

“The parasitic role of Pelita Holding Sdn Bhd, which had nothing to begin with has relegated the landowners into absolute obscurity under the Principal Deed and as the landowners are total strangers to the joint venture agreement, the defendants cannot be heard to say that Tetangga Arkab and TETAGGA had nor acquired rights and privileges in the native customary rights land that they have undertaken to develop into an oil palm plantation.

“How else defendant witnesses whose sole interest was to do business, be attracted unless TASB and TETANGGA had rights and privileges over native customary rights land which the latter would in turn into an oil palm plantation under the joint venture agreement,” he said.

Earlier the judge said that irrespective of the cleverly devised legal mechanism and legalistic language which constituted the Principal Deed and the joint venture agreement, they are mere fig leaves too scanty to conceal their violations of Articles 5 and 13 of the Constitution because the sum total of the rights of the landowners, to put it crudely, and for want of a better word, is zero.

The natives, he said, have been deprived of their native customary rights land which is a source of their livelihood and lost the rights to their property which are violations of Articles 5 and 13 of the constitution.

“This is patently demonstrated by following aspects of the Principal Deed which is briefly set out for emphasis and at the risk of repetition. They are these. Firstly Pelita Holding Sdn Bhd was to receive and collect the benefits of the development of the native customary rights land into an oil palm plantation, not the owners;

“Secondly, the commercial development of the native customary rights land into an oil palm plantation was to be carried out by a joint venture company formed by Pelita Holding and Tetangga Arkab Sdn Bhd, a company exclusively chosen by Pelita Holding under a joint venture agreement in respect of which the land owners are not even a party to.

“Thirdly, the native customary rights lands are immediately amalgamated and title is to be issued in the name of the joint venture company and the landowners would have no beneficial, legal, equitable or caveable interest in the land to be issued with title,” he said.

Albert said: “And one can go on and on to illustrate how the terms of the Principal Deed have stripped the landowners of their rights in every conceivable way and reduced those rights into nothingness.

“The fact that the landowners were not parties to the agreement between Pelita Holding and the company chosen by Pelita Holding, Tetangga Arkab under which it was agreed for the commercial development of the natives rights land by TETANGGA meant that the landowners’ rights in and over the oil palm plantation was also definitely zero.

“The joint venture agreement was also in contravention of Section 8 of the Land Code,”
he added.

The judge said that the illegality was so patently clear as to afford no justification for disregarding it.

“A wrong no matter how artfully disguised as the Principal Deed and the joint venture agreement are, cannot overwhelm the fact that thyey are in violation of Articles 5 and 13 of the constitution and Section 8 (a) of the Land Code.

“It matters not that the landowners have been paid some dubious money of RM120.00 per hectare a miserly sum considering the fact that oil palm planted on their land had been harvested for more than three years. Or that the landowners, particularly the government certified Tuai Rumah, led the Penghulu continue to bury their heads in the sand and remain impervious to the truth, steadfastly clinging to their delusion that oil palm plantation would be manna from heaven even though many acres of their native customary rights land had been planted with rubber trees which they had gainfully tapped for latex before they were cleared without compensation to make way for the oil palm plantation,” he said.

The 4th defendant’s plea (State government) that the plaintiffs’ claims to native customary rights were not in accordance with Section 5 (2) of the Land Code or in accordance with any law applicable to the creation of such rights was a non-starter because it was the defendants’ case that the oil palm plantation was created over 7,000 hectares under the Sungai Tenggang NCR Development and the plan tiffs’ claims were confined to land within that area.

The Principal Deed of which the 4th defendant was a party also stated that to be so. The 4th defendant’s contention that all the natives in the area had consented to the development of the native customary rights land flies in the face of the incontrovertible evidence adduced by the plaintiffs to the effect that they had not agreed to the destruction of their native customary rights land by TETANGGA.

Finally apart from the fact that it was not pleaded, the 4th defendant’s reliance on the Land Code and Development Authority (SG. Tenggang NCR Development Area) Order 2006 issued under the LCDA Ordinance was ill-founded because the Principal Deed and the joint venture agreement had been established to be invalid from their inception and cannot, therefore, be validated by the subsequent act.

“This is but one example of the overzealousness of the state functionaries which led to the total disregard for the legal aspects of implementation of oil palm plantation.

“The various justifications relied on by the defendants for the initial implementation of the development of the NCR land have been demolished and the whole substratum upon which they depend for their continued role in the oil palm plantation does not exist by reason of illegality.

“There is no legal basis for LCDA, Pelita Holding and TETANGGA to remain on the native customary rights land which hs been acquired by the plaintiffs from which they must inevitably leave,” he said.

In the circumstances and for the reasons aforesaid the Court declared and ordered the plaintiffs are entitled to their claim to land under native customary rights in the Sg. Tenggang NCR Development area at Pantu.

It also declared the destruction of the plaintiffs’ respective native customary rights land by the first (LCDA) second (Pelita Holding Sdn Bhd) and third (Tetangga Arkab Pelita) defendants was unlawful and damages to be assessed by the Deputy Registrar to be paid by the first, second and third defendants with interest at 4% per annum from the date hereof until settlement.

It ordered that the first, second and third defendants forthwith give vacant possession of the plaintiffs’ native customary rights land.

Fourthly, the first, second and third defendants and their servants, agents, assignees and successors are restrained from entering, occupying, clearing, harvesting or in any way howsoever carrying out works in rhea plantiffs’ native customary rights land; and costs to the plantiffs to be paid by the first, second and third defendants to be taxed unless agreed.

The plaintiffs were represented by Dominique Ng and assisted by Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem.

Wednesday, February 23

SNAP donates to fire victims

Sri Aman, Monday: Sarawak National Party (SNAP) today handed a cash donation of RM5,000 to the victims of Rh. Anek Anak Tawi, Bayai, 17 km from Sri Aman.

The 9-door longhouse was completely gutted by fire at 5.00 p.m. on 9th February 2011. It has a total of 41 residents who could not save anything because of the speed and intensity of the fire.

The donation was handed over to Tuai Rumah Anek by SNAP Advisor, Dato’ Sri Daniel Tajem in the presence of Secretary-General, Stanley Jugol and Youth Chief Dayrell Walter Entrie together with some residents of the ill fated longhouse.

In handing over the donation, Dato Sri Daniel Tajem called on all communities to donate generously to the unfortunate victims of the fire.

Tuesday, January 18

Join SNAP, Dayaks urged

SIBU: Former President of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Daniel Tajem called on all Dayaks especially the ex-PBDS members in the State to join Sarawak National Party which is now undergoing a process of rebranding.

“The policy, principle and the objective of SNAP are similar to those of the defunct PBDS,” he said at the SNAP symposium in Sibu.

“What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for all our native customary rights land to be taken away to be made as estates of certain Barisan Nasional leaders and their cronies and family members with little pittance given to the land owners?

“Do you wait until your individual rights whittle down to nothingness?”
he asked.

Tajem, who was also former deputy chief minister, said that SNAP is the right avenue for the people to support.

He said: “We want to play an important part of a machine of politics that will churn the wheel and I can see that with the death of PBDS, we have no alternative but to support SNAP.”

Earlier in his opening g remarks, SNAP President Edwin Dundang said that the party’s symposium is to put SNAP back into the “factory” once again with the hope that it may churn SNAP out as either an old product with a new casing like an old wine with a new bottle or even become a different product with a new brand that will attract new sets of customers in addition to the previous Dayak and rural based set of customers.

“Inputs are needed from all of us present as to how we can together move SNAP once again,” he said.

He said that SNAP which was deregistered eight years ago by the Registrar of Societies has become legally operative since 23 June 2010 following the decision of the High Court of Appeal, which affirmed no legal reasons why SNAP was to be deregistered.

“SNAP was almost dead, only surviving through a very thin thread of so-called ‘stay of execution’ otherwise legally SNAP is dead.

“It was deserted almost over night as members left the party leaving behind some 70,000 members,”
Dundang said, calling on all members who had left the party to return in order to make the party stronger once again.

The party at that time had a membership of 123,000.

SNAP was regietered on 10 April 1961 and had played a major role in the formation of Malaysia. Its Secretary General Stephen Kalong Ningkan was made Sarawak’s first chief minister.

During the height of its electoral successes in 1974 SNAP won 18 state seats and nine parliamentary seats.

Today it has no elected representative either in Parliament or in the State legislative assembly.

(The story first appeared in Free Malaysia Today)

Monday, January 17


Picture of SNAP leaders during the symposium in Sibu


Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There is an undisputable ring of truth in that adage.

At national level, billions of Ringgit of People’s money has been spent in the PKFZ project and in the process, the bank accounts of some powerful personalities have grown unmanageably fat.

If not for a change of government that has occurred in Selangor, these corrupt practices and the massive abuse of power involved could not have been discovered.

We hear of a few hundred millions ringgit kickbacks involved in the purchase of military wares. But yet, a submarine cannot drive and military equipmentare substandard.

Those billions of ringgit lost through the rampant practices within the BN beaurocracy could be saved for development projects that could better benefit the rakyat.

Today, as we sit here, the PM is paying a visit to Bakun Dam. Predictably some time later an announcement will be made that the dam will be sold to the state government at a favourable price and at a favourable scheme of repayment.

The federal government would have already made a loss of billions of ringgit and our state government would within a span of couple of years incur billions of ringgit in repayment, spending money that could be utilised for the people’s benefit.

Predictably also, like many of the mammoth projects before, the state government would either sell the dam pretty cheaply or sell the energy generated by the dam cheaply to Sarawak Energy Berhad.

Billions of ringgit of money of the people of Sarawak would had been spent, but ironically the people as consumers of electricity would suffer more by having to pay increased electricity rates and Sarawak Energy Berhad will be making huge profits.

Who own and control Sarawak Energy Berhad?

Billions of ringgit have gone down the drain in the failed First Silicon project. But to the BN leaders that does not matter. The members of the Board of Directors and the senior management appointed by the BN State government get fat pay cheques, fees and allowances.

Money-making government undertakings are privatised. Road maintenance and road construction function of the PWD, enforcement function of the Forest Department and a few others have been awarded to private entities. Who own and control these enterprises?

Who own and control CMS, PPES Works, Naim Cendera, Sarawak Forest Corporation, etc?
Prime state land, for eg.the government quarters area in Batu Lintang and Sungai Bakong area in Sibu etc, are alienated to Naim Cendera to be turned into commercial development projects. Again, who own and control Naim Cendera and how are they connected to people in power?

Those are but a few examples. Not many years ago, logging permits to large tracts of forest areas were invariably granted to children, in-laws, friends, nominees or political affiliates of those in power.

Now, large tracts of plantation lands are alienated to the same people. It is not so bad if the lands are state land but it would be sinful if the lands are NCR of Native communities. The BN government just couldn’t be bothered.

The BN government says it would not take away people’s land without adequate compensation but when a great number of native communities find land they have cultivated for generations with rubber, padi and fruits are alienated to a plantation companies, they are baffled. To them, the reality is they have been robbed of their land.

The BN government has been oblivious to the plight of the native land owners. It has embarked on a policy of freezing issuance of titles to NCR land and has amended the land code many times thus making it easier to grant provisional leases to companies belonging to BN leaders and their relatives and making it difficult for the NCR landowners to prove their claims to NCR lands.

These are the ways of modern-day Robin Hood i.e. rob the poor to give to the rich.

The announcement now that the government is carrying out perimeter survey of NCR land is calculated for election purpose when the government realises it is in danger of losing power. But why only now and why only perimeter survey and not survey of individual lots? In any case, those surveys that have been embarked upon are only at areas to serve the BN election strategies

In strategising to hold on to power at all costs, the BN leaders are preaching to the Tuai Rumahs and Ketua Kampungs to keep away opposition campaigners. That is a selfish and irresponsible tactic which is oblivious to the adverse consequences to the solidarity and social cohesion of the longhouses and kampungs. It is a sure recipe that will destroy the social and cultural fabric of our communities. Again the BN leaders couldn’t care less.

The BN and its predecessor, the Alliance, have ruled this country and this state for almost half a century. That is far too long by anybody’s reckoning. Some BN leaders exhibit arrogance of power to proclaim that only the BN, can bring development.

But the truth of the matter is of course that parties other than the BN if put to power, backed by the same or even an improved civil service and having access to the same consolidated funds can not only bring development to the people but can better administer and manage the state and country.

The Kelantanese have demonstrated that they are happy with a non-BN led government. They have returned PAS to power in consecutive elections. From what we hear, the people in Selangor and Penang are happy with their Pakatan governments.

So to provide a check on the almost absolute power wielded by the BN government in Sarawak, it becomes imperative that we go for change. Change can only be for the better.

We believe therefore that a rejuvenated and revitalised SNAP working alongside its Pakatan’s partners will be instrumental and crucial in bringing about this urgently needed change so that power will not become absolute and corrupt.

Let’s hope we will have a meaningful and fruitful Symposium.

Thank You.

Friday, January 7

SNAP to be rebranded

Picture shows the group before the meeting

KUCHING: Discussions have now been carried out between leaders of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and leaders of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) on the move to rebrand SNAP which has been left in political doldrums for the last eight years after a leadership crisis.

The rebranding of the party will not only make it into a formidable force, but it will become a truly multi-racial party of the future.

Among those involved in the discussions include former PBDS President Daniel Tajem, former PBDS treasurer general Anthony Liman, Douglas Alau, former PBDS executive secretary and several hardcore members of the defunct party, who have not joined any political party since the deregistration of PBDS in 2004.

Committee members of the stillborn Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) have also joined the discussions.

Asked to confirm the move, the SNAP Secretary general Stanley Jugol admitted that several discussions have already been held in Kuching and in Miri and a number of these leaders have been appointed to hold key posts in the party.

“SNAP is open to all who share its aspirations and struggle. It is going to remain as an inclusive party working under Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance).

“By rebranding the party, it is hoped that SNAP will once again return to its past glory,”
he said, pointing out that the formation of Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat in May last year gave an opportunity for SNAP to play a bigger role both nationally and locally.

“We want to play a bigger role in Pakatan, but the party must first reorganise or rebrand itself in an effort to strengthen the party,” Jugol said, adding that the party needs the expertise and the guidance of the veteran Dayak politicians.

“But we also need young and professional people to come forward to be members of the party, because they are going to be the future leaders of the party,” he said.

Jugol said that the party has agreed to organise asymposium in Sibu on 15 January to explain the move to the people.

He also said that another symposium will be held in Kuching towards the end of the month on the same objective.

Later in February, the “new” SNAP will be launched, he said.

Jugol said that the party also agreed to form a “Council of Elders” whose main task is to guide and advice the party on matters of importance such as the issues of native customary rights land, traditions, customs and Adat.

Following a bitter leadership crisis in 2002, SNAP was not only reduced into a “mosquito” party, but was also deregistered by the Registrar of Societies. However, it was given a stay of execution pending its appeal to High Court. It was only on 26 June last year that the Court decided on SNAP’s favour.

The crisis began when the party found its former Treasurer General Tiong King Sing, the MP for Bintulu guilty as charged for tarnishing the name of the party over the failed TV3 building project in Bintulu.

His expulsion on 11 April 2002 led to nine central executive committee members walking out from the meeting as they did not agree with the decision of the party.

It also triggered the mass resignations of nine of its elected representatives and members who on 5 November 2002 formed Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). The “gang of nine” as they were popularly known was led by William Mawan Ikom, who later became president of the newly formed party.

The third party to be formed after Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Party Negara Sarawak (PANAS), SNAP’s formation on 10 April 1961 opened the way for the Dayaks to participate in politics during Sarawak’s preparation for independence.

When Sarawak became independence through the formation of Malaysia in September 1963, Ningkan who was the founding secretary general was made Sarawak’s first chief minister.

In the height of its electoral successes, SNAP had nine MPs and 18 state legislators. In 1976 SNAP joined the Barisan Nasional until it was unceremoniously kicked out in 2002.

Today it joins a new coalition, Pakatan Rakyat together with DAP, PKR and PAS.

Saturday, May 29

Gawai Dayak Greetings from The Broken Shield

Jetty (JT) and family and the administrator of The Broken Shield would like to wish all the readers of The Broken Shield “Selamat Gawai Dayak, Gayu-guru, Gerai-nyamai, chelap-lindap, betuah-belimpah, pidik-langsik bulih duit, bulih ringgit, bulih laki, bulih bini, bulih anak, bulih telesak.”

Jetty and family will celebrate Gawai at their Kpg. Sungai Semabang, Simunjan. All are welcome to our humble house.

The Gawai of Goodwill

Jetty and Datuk Daniel Tajem posing for a photograph with a Dayak warrior (second from right)

On 19 May 2010, a 21-member delegation of Dayak and Kadazandusun communities left Kuching for Pontianak as guests of Majlis Adat Dayak Kalimantan Barat which was celebrating its 25th anniversary of Gawai Dayak.

The visit was also to reciprocate the visit made by the Indonesian Dayaks to the SDNU Gawai on 15 May in Kuching.
Two young Dayak girls performing a welcoming dance

The leader of the delegation was Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, chairman of the Borneo Forum. Also in the delegation was Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem, a member of the Forum and SDNU exco members including secretary general Joshua Jabing and Publicity chief Dr. Dusit Jaul.

We left Kuching at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at Pontianak at 8.30 p.m. after a tedious and tiring journey snaking through a narrow and winding road. On arrival at the newly built hotel, Mercure Hotel, which I was given to understand belongs to the Fullman group of hotels, we were received by our hosts. After checking in, we were entertained to a most sumptuous dinner of Dayak cuisine by the chairman of State Legislature, West Kalimantan, Bapak Vincent.

Guests from Sarawak and Sabah on arrival at the opening of the Gawai Dayak ceremony in Pontianak

Next day, we witnessed the opening of Gawai Dayak 25th anniversary celebration by the Governor of West Kalimantan Drs. Cornelis. Apart from us, there were top Dayak leaders, senior army and police officers, civil servants and other community leaders present at the ceremony.

It was a very colourful opening ceremony where young Dayak maidens proudly displayed their beauty clothed in their traditional attires and at the same time show-casing their “ngajat”. But the most breath-taking performance was done by two Dayak “Panglima” warriors, who after going into trance, started to do unthinkable things such as eating a live chicken and cutting themselves with razor-sharp parang ilang.

Two warriors demonstrating that they are knife-proof

To me and many others it was such a bizarre and scary performance to see.

Nevertheless, they say that the two were among the seven warriors who were most feared during the height of “Madura-Dayak clash 10 years ago in Kalimantan Tengah.

According to their story, the seven warriors were invincible and their parangs, like Chinese heroes in Chinese films, were only seen cutting the heads of their enemies.

Indonesian Dayak cultural dancers

The trouble with Madurese began when they became very aggressive and did not respect the rights of the Dayaks and seized their lands. The Dayaks could no longer tolerate the visitors. So trouble blew up between them.

According to them, the Dayaks in Sampit, Kalimantan Tengah were on the verge of surrender when the seven warriors from Pontianak came to help them. The Madurese were not only defeated, but hundreds of them were killed. That was their story.

By tracing these historical events, though unpleasant, I do not intend to play up this racial issue on this Gawai of Goodwill, but to perhaps learn a lesson or two from this tragedy for the good of all.

Now coming back to the gawai in Pontianak, I notice there are considerable and tangible changes among the Dayaks of West Kalimantan. I was here more than 10 years ago.

Today, some of the Dayaks occupy positions of authority in the State government of West Kalimantan with the governor who is like the position of our chief minister in Sarawak taking the lead. A Dayak Kanto, Barcunda Sturjaya, SH, MM is deputy manager, PT. Bank Central Asia Tbk and his wife Ir. Anna Veridiana Iman Kalis, another Dayak, is head of Economic and Development Bureau. The two are an example of how progressive are the Indonesian Dayaks nowadays.

West Kalimantan Dayaks started to have “freedom” 25 years ago during the regime of General Suharto. Under Soekarno, the Dayaks were suppressed, oppressed and marginalized and even treated like slaves. Their lands were seized by the government and given to Madurese under the government transmigration policy.

Now under President Bambang Susilo, the Dayaks have now recovered their own land where they have planted rubber, pepper, padi and even oil palm.

One thing that is very obvious is that the Dayaks of Indonesian Borneo comprising some 350 ethnic groups with a population of more than 14 million are fully united. They have now elected their own governor for West Kalimantan and another in Central Kalimantan.

Next day (21 May), Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan and Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem discussed with their Indonesian counterparts the proposed Borneo Forum, the objective of which is to strengthen the cultural ties of the Dayaks of Borneo.

The next meeting will be held in Kuching in July and to be followed by the official launch of the Forum.

The following was an interview with Dr. Kitingan. (The story was first published by The Free Malaysia Today on 24 May. It is reproduced here for the benefit of readers of the Broken Shield).

PONTIANAK: A Kadazandusun leader, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan has called for greater cultural and social interactions between the Dayaks of West Kalimantan and Sabah and Sarawak as these will be the beginning of many things to come.

“These (interactions) will be helpful for the future,” he said.

Kitingan was speaking at a dinner hosted by Dewan Adat Dayak of West Kalimantan in Pontianak on Wednesday night.

Kitingan led a 25-member delegation from Sabah and Sarawak to the Pontianak as guests of the Gawai Dayak festival held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of its celebration.

Among those in the delegation were Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem and officials of the Sarawak Dayak National Union.

Apart from attending the opening of Gawai Dayak by the Governor of West Kalimantan Drs. Cornelis on 20 May, Kitingan and Tajem also attended discussions on the set up of Borneo Forum with their counterparts.

The forum which will be officially launched in Kuching later this year will be the vital link that unites the Dayaks of Borneo through culture.

In an exclusive interview with the Free Malaysian Today, Kitingan who is also the Forum chairman said their visit to Pontianak was very significant.

“Now we are connected and we feel we belong to one people. We need and agree to work together,” he said.

“Our visit here, I think, is very important motivation. It will be the beginning of many things to come,” he added.

On calls by the leaders of Dewan Adat Dayak for one Borneo, One Dayak, One culture, Kitingan said: “I think we all agree on that. The meaning is more than that.

“The immediate focus is on unity through culture, because it cuts across boundary. Our networking, friendship and the rest will develop from here,”
he said.

Kitingan described the forum as very important to create one Borneo-wide vehicle to map-out what the thing we can do immediately, in the long term or in the in medium term.

“I think a lot more interactions and communication can be developed, and for sure we can link up economically through business and many potential opportunities of cooperation.

“We have culture, environment, the economy and the indigenous rights. All these will automatically develop from here,”
he said, pointing out that the Dayaks of Borneo have rich culture that can be marketed to the world.

“It is important that we market our culture together,” he stressed.

Sunday, April 25

Tajem’s message to the Ibans

SERIAN: An adviser to PKR and former deputy chief minister Datuk Daniel Tajem (pic below)warns the Iban community that they will lose their native customary rights lands if they continue to elect the State Barisan Nasional coalition in the coming State election.

“Many Ibans in other parts of Sarawak have already lost their lands and we will continue to loose our land, if the State Barisan continues to govern Sarawak.

“In Balai Ringin we are about to lose our lands, when four companies linked to Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud have been given provisional lease (PL) to plant oil palm in our lands.

“A total of 741,000 hectares of our NCR lands have been earmarked for this purpose,”
he said, adding that the land owners had protested, but to no avail.

In fact, he said, he and the land owners have written to UMNO to intervene and stop the State government from taking away people’s lands.

Tajem said: “Lands are our only assets. And if we lose our lands, we will lose everything. We will become landless people. We do not know where to go except to seek refuge and sleep under a bridge.

“Landless People who sleep under a bridge are a common sight in other countries. And this will happen to us, if we do not change the State government,” he said, when he opened the annual general meeting of PKR Sri Aman division on Saturday, 24 April 2010.

“We do not change Taib Mahmud, but what we must change is the state government. So we must be united and work hard to change the government and only then we can prepare a new programme of development,” he stressed.

Tajem went on to say that Pakatan Rakyat must aim to win at least 36 seats out of 71 in order to take over the administration of the state government.

“Even winning the state government alone is still not good enough; the Pakatan Rakyat must also take over and control the federal government, otherwise the federal government will make life unbearable in Pakatan-controlled states.

“Look how the federal government retook the Perak State government after the Pakatan had won it through the electoral process.

“Similarly what happened to Stephen Kalong Ningkan’s state government in late 1966, when he did not agree for expatriate officers in Sarawak to be replaced with Malayan officers?

“When Ningkan refused to resign, the federal government declared a state of emergency in Sarawak. Then the federal government amended the state constitution in order to give authority to the governor to dismiss Ningkan as chief minister,” said Tajem.

“Thus, it is also very important that the federal government be controlled by Pakatan Rakyat,” he added. – The Broken Shield


Monday, May 18

Tajem and group win pension case against S'wak ~ Malaysiakini

Taken from

Former deputy chief minister of Sarawak, and nine former members of Dewan Undangan Negeri and administration have won their case against the state government, which had failed to pay their enhanced pensions even though they were entitled to such privileges under the law.

They had to sue the government to seek justice. Their case was heard by the High Court of Kuching on March 28, 2008 which ordered the state government to pay in the case of Tajem (pic above) one half of his salary of RM12,500 per month and one half of his salary as a member of Dewan Undangan Negeri of RM3,000 and that amount came to be RM7,750 a month.

The pension should have been calculated based on the June 1, 1992 amendment of the Members of the Administration and Members of Dewan Undangan Negeri (Remuneration, Pensions and Gratuities) Ordinance 1980.

But the government failed to pay his enhanced pensions. Instead the government paid him only a pension of RM3,000 a month.

The state government went to the Court of Appeal. The case was heard on Feb 19, 2009 and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Kuching High Court.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the state government represented by JC Fong, state legal counsel, applied to the Federal Court for leave of appeal. The case was heard last week and the Apex court concurred with the decision of the Court of Appeal.

More legal actions likely

Following the decision, the state government may have to face more legal actions from former members of the Dewan Undangan Negeri, former ministers, assistant ministers, political secretaries and their widows who are in similar positions.

Tajem, who represented the group at the Federal Court hearing had served as deputy chief minister in the cabinets of Abdul Rahman Yakub and later Abdul Taib Mahmud from 1980 to 1987.

Contacted today, he said that the decision of the Federal Court has a snowballing effect.

“In truth, it is a representative action on behalf of the former members of Dewan Undangan Negeri and former members of the Administration.

“The government has failed to honour these people who had served the state and who are entitled to enhanced pensions which came into effect after June 1, 1992.

“All elected representatives, ministers, assistant ministers and political secretaries who have been pensioned must be given enhanced pensions according to the law, which have been denied due to misinterpretation of the law by the state government,” he said.

“There are 10 former members of the state assembly who have instituted court proceedings against the government for the payment of arrears against their pensions,” he said, adding that the government might have to come up with at least RM5 million to pay them.

'Arrears of eight years to be paid'

“Even the arrears of payment of the 10 who have taken suits could easily amount to RM2 million and to be back-dated to six years from the day they filed the suits. And most of these cases have been ongoing for more than two years.

“That means arrears of eight years to be paid,” he added.

Among them, Tajem, who has monthly arrears of RM2,750 is expected to receive more than RM300,000 in arrears plus interests. Former minister Hafsah Harun is next and is followed by former assistant minister Ambrose Gramong. Gramong has monthly arrears of RM2,000. The others are former members of Dewan Undangan Negeri and political secretaries.

There are also those who will ride the bandwagon and they include former deputy chief minister Dunstan Endawie, former ministers Joseph Balan Seling, Tajang Laing, Leo Moggie and Sulaiman Daud.

After the order has been extracted, Tajem said that all the litigants would present a bill of costs to be taxed against the government.

“The government will be given a time frame to pay, failing which they may take a writ of mandamus against the chief minister to compel him to pay the sums due,” he said.

Saturday, January 31

This government must be changed, says Tajem

Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem

A prominent Dayak leader today called for a change of government if the Dayaks want to remedy the injustices that have been meted against the community.

“For the past 45 years the Dayaks have suffered injustices, have been marginalized and have been sidelined in education, scholarships, business opportunities and our NCR lands have been taken and given to big companies,” Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem (pic above) said.

Tajem, who was former Deputy Chief Minister and president of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was opening a one-day Dayak symposium at a leading hotel in Sibu.

Some 200 professionals and members of the Dayak organisations coming from through the State attended the symposium.

“The only remedy or option open to us is to change the State government,” he said and added that failing to do so would further disenfranchise and disempower the Dayaks.

Tajem said that the State government had introduced a bill to change “Sea Dayak” to “Iban”, the “Land Dayak” to “Bidayuh” and “Murut” to “Lun Bawang”.

The governor has not signed the bill into law, but once it becomes law it means that “Iban”, “Bidayuh” and “Lun Bawang” are no longer natives and will not enjoy the rights and privileges as embodied under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

“Even forming a party of our own as provided for under Article 10 (1) (c) we are not only not allowed to form one, we are being accused of likely to cause a threat to national security, public order, peace and harmony.

“During insurgency, we are made heroes and during peace time, we are considered as a threat to national security. Can you believe that?” he said.

Tajem also touched on the amendments to Section 5 (a) (2) of the Land code that have eroded our rights over land.

Earlier the chairman of the Dayak symposium, Augustine Liom said that the ultimate aim of the symposium would endeavour to expose and deliberate on the many sins of the Barisan Nasional Government that have caused miseries, grievances and frustrations to the Dayak communities, be they Bidayuh, Iban or Orang Ulu. – The Broken Shield

Picture credit:

See a video report of this story

Friday, December 12

The proposed formation of World Dayak Federation

When the governor of Central Kalimantan province, His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang, who is chairman of Majlis Adat Dayak Nasional (MADN), visited Sarawak and Sabah last week with a delegation of 150 MADN members, he just regarded the visit as an ordinary one. Little did he realize that it marked a new chapter in the relationship between the Dayaks of Kalimantan and the Dayaks of Sabah and Sarawak.

As guests of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and Lembaga Kebudayaan Negeri Sabah (LKNS), they discussed many things of common interests. And out of the discussions came proposals to enhance Dayak cultural heritage, to promote Dayak culture and arts and to form a World Dayak Federation.

It is anticipated that the proposed federation will go along way not only in helping to strengthen the Dayak brotherhood and promote social and cultural interactions among the Dayaks of Kalimantan, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah, but will also help to open a new chapter, a new beginning in providing global linkages and networking.

In today’s borderless world, such a body is more than just networks of Dayaks of Borneo, but one that helps to reach out to those who have similar aspirations in far flung countries of Northern Asia from where Dayaks are believed to have migrated to Borneo and nearby islands some 3,000 years ago.

Other than creating political, cultural and social awareness, it will also provide avenues and opportunities for business cooperation such as in tourism and joint venture projects. With more than 13 million Dayaks all over Borneo, and the development of Dayak human resources and capital, it is certainly a huge market that is waiting to be tapped and harnessed into a source of networking and strength.

Another equally important aspect of the proposed federation that it must look into is the codifying and collating of all customs and laws of the major Dayak tribes in Borneo as such an effort will not only help to preserve our culture and Adat for posterity, but also help to promote them globally.

It is felt therefore that there is an urgency for SDNU, MADN and LKNS to form a committee to look into details, the constitution, objectives and aims of the federation. The sooner this is formed, the better it be for the future well-being of the Dayaks in the Borneo Island.

And with leadership provided by two Dayak icons – Dato Sri Daniel Tajem and Bapak Augustin Teras Narang – the federation is going to play a very important role towards the promotion of understanding, peace and harmony among the Dayaks of Borneo in a world full of conflicts, racial and religious bigotry. Indeed the federation will be the roadmap to stronger ties among the Dayaks.

Knowing the importance of the proposed federation, Bapak Augustin Teras Narang has thrown a challenge to members of MADN, SDNU and LKNS when he says: “Who should do it, if we don’t do it?”

Sunday, December 7

Dayak Governor visits Tajem

The former President of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Dato Sri Daniel Tajem and his wife, Datin Ivy on Saturday night played hosts to the 150-member delegation of Majlis Adat Dayak Nasional (MADN) led by the Governor of Central Kalimantan (Kalteng), His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang at their residence.

The MADN members were here on a three-day visit to reciprocate the visit made by members of the SDNU early this year.

Also attending the dinner were SDNU president, Mengga Mikui, the president of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Sidi Munan and executive members of the two organisations.

In welcoming the guests, Dato Sri Tajem said that he was greatly honoured to have the opportunity to play host to the most distinguished guest from East Kalimantan, His Excellency Bapak Augustin Teras Narang.

“This is the first time that a visitor in the persona of His Excellency the Governor has ever come to visit my humble house since I moved here 22 years ago.

“I hope His Excellency’s visit to this house will bring us luck” said Tajem and added that he might name his grandson who was due to be born in a week’s time after the name of His Excellency.

In his reply, Bapak Augustin said that he and his MADN members had high regard for Tajem as a leader of the Dayak community in Sarawak and hoped that MADN and SDNU members would make every effort to strengthen their cultural ties.

“Although we may be separated by territories, it will not stop us from being together and united in cultural and social fields. After all we are all Dayaks of Borneo.

“The aim of our visit to Sarawak and Sabah is to exchange ideas and experience, to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood, to discuss common problems and to safeguard and promote the Dayak culture of Borneo,” he said.

The Dayaks of Borneo, he stressed, should not be defeated by obstacles in their efforts to promote their culture.

“If we cannot do it today, we will do it tomorrow; and if we don’t do it, who else will do it. It is up to us to do it” he added.

Later there was an exchange of gifts. Tajem presented several copies of The Broken Shield that featured Dayak politics in Sarawak to Bapak Augustin and other guests. - The Broken Shield


Tuesday, December 2

PKR Congress: Tajem’s presence causes a stir

Dato Sri Daniel Tajem’s presence at Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s 5th National Congress at the Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam last Saturday not only caught 200 Sarawakian delegates and observers by surprise, but is also expected to generate some reactions from his political foes or friends.

Upon hearing of his arrival which was announced, many of them rushed to greet him; they did not expect him to be present, so they were extremely happy to see him around. Tajem’s invitation was made through The Broken Shield. Only a handful of people knew that he had accepted Anwar Ibrahim’s invitation.

As a special guest, Tajem was ushered to the VIP frontline seat where he sat together with Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Yong Teck Lee and Zaid Ibrahim, former UMNO minister in the Prime Minister department, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, former Gerakan minister, Dr. Aness Munawar, (from USA) and members of Diplomatic Corps.

Tajem used to tell his supporters to be cautious either joining UMNO or PKR. He neither encouraged, nor discouraged them but advised them to wait and see. “We do not know what plans Anwar has for the Dayaks,” he said.

Likened by Anwar Ibrahim as the “star” or described by Yong Teck Lee as the “icon of Dayak politics”, Tajem is still the man to watch in Sarawak’s politics as people still listen to him. Thus his presence at the congress is sure to give all sorts of indications and interpretations to young Dayak professionals and thousands of ex-PBDS members; it can mean giving them the “green” light to join PKR at a time when Dayaks have failed to register a party of their own like Malaysian Dayak Congress.

In view of this failure PKR is therefore considered to be the most “suitable” party for them through which they can articulate their aspirations and address their frustrations and at the same time play national politics. It will not be surprising to see Dayaks joining PKR in droves in the immediate future.

But for Tajem, adviser to protem Malaysian Dayak Congress, accepting the invitation was one way how he could assess or evaluate the seriousness and commitment of PKR’s pledge in trying to dislodge Abdul Taib Mahmud from his 27-year old rule of Sarawak.

Personally, he said, he did not harbour any ambition as age had caught up with him. “But what I want is to see change in Sarawak. I don’t care who is going to be the Chief Minister after Taib, be he Malay, Chinese or Iban, as long as the policy on Native Customary Rights (NCR) land is changed,” he said to The Broken Shield, and added: “The land that has been seized must be returned to the land owners. This is our priority.”