Saturday, May 30

Our wonderful gift for 2009 Gawai Dayak

Many do not realise that our wonderful gift for our Gawai Dayak 2009 is the recognition by the Federal Court of our Native Customary Rights (NCR) over our ancestral land, and the Court has clearly defined that NCR land includes 'Pemakai Menua' (communal land boundaries), ‘Pulau Galau’ (communal forests), ‘tembawai’ (old longhouse sites), ‘pendam tuai’ (old graveyards), farm land and ‘temuda’ land.

The decision of the apex court which was made early in May 2009 is going to open a floodgate of legal actions against government, which leases our land and companies which plant oil palm on our land.

Not only they took away our land by force, but they also destroyed our fruit trees, rubber and pepper gardens, padi fields, destroyed our communal forests, communal land boundaries and graveyards. Some time our longhouses were also destroyed. For all this, we must seek compensations as well as the return of our NCR land.

Thanks to our lawyers and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) for their courageous efforts in fighting for our NCR land. Finally we triumph. And for this Gawai Dayak we have every reason to rejoice and to be thankful.

To all readers of The Broken Shield, we wish to say:
“Selamat Gawai Dayak, gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai, chelap-lindap nguan menua, betuah-belimpah. Sida ke dara bulih laki, sida ke bujang bulih bini, beranak betelesak ngambika bala kitai Dayak maioh ka agi di menua Sarawak”.

We will be going to our village for our Gawai and any reader happens to pass by is welcome to our humble house at Kpg. Sungai Samabang, Jalai Punda, Simunjan. – The Broken Shield

Friday, May 29

"One Sarawak" should mean one Sarawak

After PM Najib Razak introduced his “One Malaysia” concept, CM Abdul Taib Mahmud followed suit by introducing his version of “One Sarawak”. Next we may hear the Mayor of Kuching introduces “One Kuching” and someone else introduces “One Simunjan”, or “One Malay”, or “One Chinese” or “One Dayak” and so on.

I have, and so many others, tried to interpret the meaning of “One Malaysia” and to me “One Malaysia, One family” where equality, justice and fairness should be the guiding principle. But judging by what is happening now, it seems that “One Malaysia” has a different meaning and interpretation.

Not many people really understand it. Not even the civil servants especially those in the Ministry of Information, who recently underwent a course to understand it.

For Sarawak, it is hoped that “One Sarawak” should be “owned” by all Sarawakians who should enjoy her wealth and prosperity. But currently it appears that “One Sarawak” belongs to one family where businesses, government contracts and tenders are grabbed and monopolized by those closely connected with the family members. Projects in SCORE are a fine example. The rest of the Sarawakians are by-standers.

“One Sarawak” is a mere slogan that helps divert the people’s attention from the real problems confronting Sarawak. One such problem is involving NCR land like the termination of the rights of the natives over their ancestors’ land and leasing such land to companies for the plantation of oil palm.

It is the off-shoot of “politics of development” where development is being concentrated in Mukah such as the proposed airport, the coal powered station, new administrative centre and so on, whereas other under-developed divisions like Kapit remain undeveloped.

If it is to be practised true to its name and concept, “One Sarawak” should really mean one Sarawak where its citizens from the various ethnic groups should be given equal opportunities in fields of education, in recruitment to the civil service and promotions, given business contracts and tenders, given political posts such as in government-linked companies as well as to participate in Sarawak’s development.

“One Sarawak” should therefore be aimed at eradicating poverty, a very, very rampant occurrence in the rural areas. Do the present State government and its leaders have the political will to do it now? Or do the rural people have to wait for election times to hear the BN politicians announcing those projects? – The Broken Shield


Monday, May 25

Let MDC rest in the dusty file of ROS

Nothing short of magic could have ensured the speedy registration of Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party (MMSP), said M. Kathirveloo, a close associate of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader, P. Uthayakumar.

In view of this, Kathirveloo asked if MMSP was endorsed by BN?

He suspects this because he tried to register another party, Indian Rights Action Front (IRAF) in June last year, but the application was turned down in April this year.

In a letter to IRAF dated 3 April 2009, the ROS said that the application was rejected because the organization was suspected of having similar name to the outlawed Hindraf.

For MMSP, its leader Thanenthirran met with PM Najib Tun Razak one month before the registration of the party.

It was obvious that MMSP had the blessing of the Barisan Nasional with the ultimate aim of further splitting the Indians. The MMSP leader was with Parti Keadilan Rakyat and he resigned from PKR when he was not selected to contest the Bukit Selambau by-election.

Now the Indians have MIC, PPP, MIUP and MMSP. Any party, wishing to be registered, and is seen to be working against the interests of the Opposition will surely be approved. And any party working against the interest of parties in the government will not be approved.

Thus, it was perceived to be working against “national security” that Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) could not be registered. The real reason is not “national security” but on the strong objection of Sarawak leaders, who do not want the word “Dayak” to be used in the name of the party.

Firstly, the word “Dayak” has been banned from being used in Sarawak government official communication since 2004 when the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance was amended.

Secondly, the State leaders said to be fearful of the word “Dayak” that might have the magic wand to unite all the Dayaks in Sarawak. The unity of the Dayaks is therefore seen to be against the interests of the parties that rule Sarawak now.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Joseph Entulu, deputy president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak, let the “cat out of the bag” when he proposed to drop the word “Dayak” as it connoted “uncivilized, uncouth and low class”. He felt ashamed to have anything to do with Dayaks.

Entulu’s remark was seen as playing to the gallery or dancing to the tune of his new found political master – the "Aki" who since 1966 had been advocating for the split of the Dayaks into Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu.

Yes he was successful with the removal of Stephen Kalong Ningkan as Sarawak’s first chief minister. He had a hand to see that SNAP was split in 1983 as well as in the deregistration of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).

The “death” of PBDS was thought to be his greatest achievement. This followed the ban on the use of the word “Dayak”. And this explains why any attempt to revive PBDS through MDC or any Dayak party will surely be strongly opposed by the present leaders in the State.

The real reason is the fear that these leaders are harbouring in their minds that one day there will be “Ketuanan Dayak” in Sarawak.

For the time being, MDC is best left to rest in a dusty file of the ROS until and when a new federal government hopefully the Pakatan Rakyat government will come to power, say in 2013.

If Parti Sosialis Malaysia can wait for more than 10 years to be approved as a party, there is no reason why we Dayaks cannot wait another three or four more years for the installation of a new government that may be friendly with the Dayaks.

And for the time being the hardcore Dayaks need to “Numpang” or “nyarok” or even “nangkir” other friendly parties who share our aspirations to fight for the interests of the Dayaks and defend our customary rights over land. – The Broken Shield

Friday, May 22

Am I angry?

Am I angry when someone says that the Ibans are easily influenced by money during election times?

To be honest, no. I am not angry with the person who says it. But I am angry with the Ibans themselves, because Ibans do not know how to cheat. For example, if a candidate gives them money to influence them to vote for him, they will surely vote for him because of the fear of “tulah” (curse).

This the Ibans do not learn. They should emulate examples of almost all our YBs who promise the voters this and that. While we must admit that some promises do materialize, but the majority of them is empty. And yet they do not “tulah”. Instead of “tulah”, they become “kaya raya” taking away our NCR land.

I am just the opposite of Andrew Shilling, SUPP Sibu Bumiputra chairman. He is very angry with SUPP assistant minister and state assemblyman for Dudong, Soon Choon Teck who hinted that the Iban party members were easily influenced by money politics.

Soon said: “The socio-economic position of the Ibans is still behind others, and as such they could be easily influenced by money politics.”

Reacting to these remarks, Shilling who is also a political secretary to the chief minister demanded an immediate apology from Soon. And he led a group of Iban members from the State constituencies of Pelawan, Nangka, Bukit Assek, Dudong and Bawang Assan to ptotest against Soon’s statement that was carried out by the Chinese papers on Sunday.

He said to the press that the Iban members felt insulted and feared that the issue might divide party members into Chinese and Ibans.

When Soon failed to respond to his demand to apologise, Shilling, according to The Borneo Post today said that legal actions could be taken against him. – The Broken Shield


Thursday, May 21

BN supporters of Kampung Lusut Jaya deprived of basic needs

Despite their strong support for the Barisan Nasional, the residents of Kampung Lusut Jaya 1 area in Miri are yet to taste the fruits of Merdeka.

According to Jembu Bangga, the village chief, the government should give official recognition to their village and look into their basic needs like proper roads, water and power supply.

“We have been supporting the BN government all this while, and hence surely the village deserves some projects in return for their support to the government,” he said at the Miri district Dayak community leaders pre-Gawai Dayak celebration over the week-end.

The celebration was officiated by the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Peter Chin. Also present were Lambir state assemblyman Aidan Wing, political secretaries to the chief ministers, Ariffin Lamat and Watson Bangau and government officials.

Located next to Taman Tunku, Kampung Lusut Jaya 1 has 109 houses with a population of 542 of which 390 are Ibans, 89 Orang Ulus, 39 Malays, 19 Chinese, five Bidayuhs and three Melanaus.

Upgraded roads and bridges linking the village to Taman Tunku will enable bus service to be extended there, saving time and energy for the villagers to walk all the way to the nearest station.

The village chief said that villagers are currently sharing water meters on a voluntarily arrangement. He also called on the government to build a clinic, a community hall and a market where they can sell their jungle produce.

These villagers have been asking for development year in and year out and the government has ignored their requests. And their requests will continue to fall on deaf years, unless their elected representative either State assemblyman or the MP dies or resigns.

Look at Batang Ai, it has been neglected for more than 27 years. Suddenly its YB passed away, thus opening the way for the by-election. During the by-election, nearly RM200 million of worth of projects have been approved.

Will it help if the villagers ask the Opposition to come and establish a foothold in the area? – The Broken Shield

Tuesday, May 19

Six longhouses may take legal action against DD plantations

Six longhouses in the Samalatong area, Simunjan, will submit a letter in the next few days to the General Manager of Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) telling him that 95 families from the longhouses will not join DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings.

Instead they want SALCRA to develop their land which is about 1,800 hectares into an oil palm plantation.

A copy of the letter will be sent to Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang as chairman of SALCRA Board of directors and to the Minister of Land Development, Dr. James Jemut Masing. SALCRA is under the Ministry of Land Development.

A group of VIPs and officials from DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings are expected to see these angry NCR land owners on Saturday, 23 May 2009 to explain to them the concept of joint venture and the “benefits” they will get from joining DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings.

It is understood that these landowners will not be swayed by the sweet talks of the VIPs because they have heard and known such JVs the land owners stand to lose and many have not received their dividends even after 10 years of operations.

They would prefer to invite SALCRA where their equity participation is about 70% as compared to 30% in a joint venture company.

On 29 April 2009 DD Plantations whose owner is closely associated with YB Naroden Haji Majais, the Simunjan elected representative, and Pelita Holdings had signed an agreement with 46 longhouse chiefs in Kuching.

But many Tuai Rumah claimed they were not aware of the plan to develop 9,629 hectares of their NCR land into an oil palm plantation.

Some Tuai Rumah who did come to Kuching were critically questioned by the longhouse people; some demanded for their resignation and even held Temenggong Anthony Ngipa responsible for bringing the Tuai Rumah to Kuching.

For the six Tuai Rumah and the 95 heads of families will have to seek legal action if the company persists on developing their land. - 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.

Thursday, May 14

Iban Student deprived of her rights

It is indeed a sad story of a student, Nadia Selimin, who scored 9As and a B in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) early this year, but denied entry to further her studies at Kolej Matrikulasi just because her mother is a Chinese. Her father is an Iban, Selimin Kring.

Sad, because there is such a thing as prejudice being practised in Malaysia, despite the fact that we are supposed to be in the 21st century and has been independent for 46 years in the federation of Malaysia.

Her plight was brought up YB Mong Dagang, State assemblyman for Bukit Begunan at the Dewan Undangan Negeri meeting.

In fact under PM Najib Razak’s “One Malaysia” concept such prejudice should no longer exist. But yet Nadia’s case is a tip of the iceberg. There are many more silent sufferers of this biased policy of the government.

Under the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance, Nadia is a Dayak Iban and as such she should be entitled to any privileges as spelt out in Article 39 of the State Constitution or Article 153 of the Federal Constitution read together with Article 161A of the same Constitution.

We would have thought that the special position and privileges of the Natives are fully guaranteed under the Supreme Law of the country. But that is not so as the case of Nadia clearly shows.

What should we do to rectify this anomaly? Can suing the authority concerned of any help? Or bring her case to higher authorities? Or through our respective YBs?

At least in the case of Nadia I think we have to thank YB Mong for highlighting her plight. We need more YBs like him who are not ashamed to be called Dayaks to highlight Dayak problems. – The Broken Shield

Wednesday, May 13

Deputy Minister Entulu Distorting Perception of ‘Dayak’

It was reported in the media recently that Joseph Entulu, the Federal Deputy Minister for Rural and Regional Development, has called for the term ‘Dayak’ to be dropped because according to him it conveyed negative connotations like being uncivilised, uncouth and ‘low class’. This call is yet another attempt at selectively marginalizing some of the native Dayak peoples of Sarawak. And not surprisingly, it comes from a generation of ‘yes men’, the so-called Sarawak leaders whose signature contribution to nation-building has been to extinguish Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands. NCR is the last important resource in the hands of the natives. Now, evidently, not satisfied with the taking away of this Dayak resource, they are prepared to erase aspects of the community’s identity. As such they are not only being negative but also being manifestly unjust.
Lest the Deputy Minister has forgotten, the term ‘Dayak’ is a social and cultural construct, much like the term ‘Bumiputera’ is a construct. While the term remains a construct of social identity, they often have a policy implication. Thus, for instance, since the 1970s our country have used the term ‘Bumiputera’ to define and demarcate certain aspects of the country’s New Economic Policy (NEP). Dayaks do not enjoy such a status because in the 70s and 80s, there was no political will to refine the NEP to that level in Sarawak.
There are those, for their own reasons, who may have been uncomfortable with the term ‘Dayak’, who have politicised the term, and have sought to extinguish it. The present Sarawak Government has sought to drop the usage of the word ‘Dayak’. Indeed, until recently in Sarawak the term was included in the Interpretation Ordinance so that the term ‘Sea Dayak’ was used to mean also Ibans and ‘Land Dayak’ to mean those who are now commonly called ‘Bidayuh’.
Now, clearly, from time to time politicians who hope to revive their credentials will call for the term’s further degradation, evidently in an attempt to burnish their image and please their controllers.
Entulu laments the fact that Sarawak’s native communities have not been acknowledged “according to their respective ethnic groups.” He pointed out, “if we look at official forms or documents in the column for race, they only state either Malay, Chinese, Indian or Others.” Instead of blaming others, he should evaluate his own performance carefully; and if he did so objectively, he will find that this is damning proof that his generation of leaders have been ineffective representatives of the Sarawak natives.
The fact of the matter is that most Dayaks, with the exception of an opportunistic few, are proud of the name ‘Dayak’. They see the futility and the needlessness of changing the term just because some locals, the ‘jaguh kampung’ in power, have agitated for its abolishment.
When the federal bureaucrats get around to consider the dropping of the word ‘others’ in official forms, they should take a pointer from the Dayaks themselves. The Sarawak Dayak National Union, the Dayak Bidayuh National Union and the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association have, amongst others, used the word ‘Dayaks’ and have no problems about its reference for the 26 non-Muslim native communities in Sarawak.
It is time that the term ‘Dayak’ be accorded its proper place as a collective name to denote the non-Muslim natives of Sarawak. In the offending federal forms that Entulu griped about, the term ‘Others’ should be removed and in its place ‘Dayak’ and the names other specific communities should be put in its place.
Supreme Council Member
Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Tuesday, May 12

Dayaks furious over Entulu proposal ~ Malaysiakini

Taken from

Dayaks furious over Entulu proposal

Federal deputy minister Joseph Entulu has provoked angry reactions with his suggestion to drop the word ‘Dayak’ in describing the 26 non-Muslim native communities in Sarawak.

Entulu, who is rural and regional development deputy minister, had said last Saturday that the word ‘Dayaks’ conveys negative connotations like being uncivilised, uncouth and low class.

“Some leaders of Sarawak non-Muslim communities had some years ago suggested to government to stop using the term. I believe the term has the tacit support of the leaders and people concerned,” he had said.

“I believe it will be more tactful and exact if specific terminology like Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit and so forth, be used. I have heard of bitter experiences where Dayaks working in peninsula were turned away when they wanted to invest in Amanh Saham Nasional or when they applied for low-cost housing because some people there thought they were not bumiputeras.”

Temenggong James Jimbun said Entulu should have consulted the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and other Dayak associations before making such an important statement.

“Do some research and find out the sentiments of other people and you cannot take it upon yourself to speak on their behalf,” he said in remarks directed at Entulu.

A Dayak leader of PKR, who refused to be identified, said: “The government has taken our resources and now it is going to take away our identity.”

He said that Entulu should know that, of the 26 tribes, the Iban, Bidayuh and Lun Bawang communities would lose their rights as natives, as these names are not stated in Article 161A (5), (6) and (7) of the federal constitution.

Describing Entulu’s remarks as seditious, he claimed that these were intended to shut down the basis for the existence of SDNU. And if so, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) should no longer claim to represent the Dayaks.

‘Unwarranted remarks’

SDNU publicity officer John Anthony Brain urged the government to call for public dialogue before ending the reference to ‘Dayak’.

“Are the Chinese, also going to go by groupings such as Teochew, Hakka, Foochow, Kek and Hokkien? Or the Malays into Bugis, Javanese, Batak, Padang, Pakistan and Iran? Or the Indians into Malayalees, Tamils, Gujaratis, Bagalis and Punjabis?” he asked.

Describing Entulu’s remarks as unwarranted, Brian said: “Dayak is the keyword that gives meaning to (SDNU) which has about 36,000 members, and to its women’s wing, Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak, as well as its Sarawak Dayak Youth Association.

“Today the government is suggesting that the term ‘Dayak’ should not be used any more to describe indigenous people of Sarawak. Why?”

Entulu’s supporters, meanwhile, said it was useless to pretend to be united under the term ‘Dayak’ when every single community wants its own association.

For example, the Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Berawan, Bisayah, Lun Bawang and Iban communities go their separate ways and insist on having their own associations.

“We tried before to unite all the ethnic groups under one political umbrella ore even under SDNU, but they have gone their on way,” said Joseph Allen, a PRS supreme council member.

Sunday, May 10

Natives welcome with Federal Court's decision ~ Malaysiakini

Natives welcome with Federal Court's decision

The recent Federal Court’s decision on native customary rights (NCR) land will open a floodgate of legal actions against the Sarawak state government, a prominent NCR land lawyer, Harrison Ngau said today.

Ngau was commenting on the decision of the Federal Court which last Tuesday rejected the application of the Sarawak government to review the decision of the same court, i.e. earlier Federal Court, but comprising a different panel.

Among others, the Federal Court accepted the law on NCR land as stated by justice Ian Chin in the High Court in the Nor Anak Nyawai case in which he held inter alia that NCR land includes both cultivated or cleared land, for example "temuda", gardens, and burial grounds, former longhouse sites, and communal forests or "pulau galau" in Iban within the communal land boundary or antara menua of a longhouse.

In dismissing the said application, the Federal Court held that the earlier panel of the Federal Court did not commit any error of law or fact which requires or justifies a review.

“The significance of the Federal Court decision is that the NCR land of the natives covers or comprises all the land within the communal land boundary of their longhouses, i.e. both cultivated and forested areas therein.

“Licences for logging and planted forests and leases for oil palm plantations issued by the state which overlapped with the land within the communal land boundary of the longhouses do not or cannot extinguish the prior NCR of the natives.

Natives can sue the government

More than one million hectares of land, the bulk of which is NCR land, have been leased out over the past 20 years to many companies and state agencies.

“As such the natives can sue the state government for lawfully interfering or impairing their native customary rights and stop or blockade the companies issued with the licences or leases for encroaching onto their NCR land,” Ngau said.

He said the decision would also have some bearing on 203 NCR land cases which would start their hearing from September this year.

He suggested that the Sarawak government should now start gazetting the communal land boundary of the natives throughout Sarawak, what the Brookes and British governments did during their times.

During the Brookes times they even issued an official circular N0. 12 of 1939, directing district officers and land and survey department to record communal land boundaries of the natives. This had resulted in the compilation of the record of such land boundaries of the longhouses in the Baram district in the registrar of land boundaries now kept at the district office in Marudi, Baram.

Rights of natives over their land restored

Ngau said: “The native courts have upheld the land boundaries in many cases. Unfortunately, the Sarawak government failed to respect the NCR land of the natives as what the Brookes and British did. That resulted in the tragedy befalling the natives in Sarawak until today.“With this decision of the Federal Court, it is imperative for the Sarawak government to immediately give effect to it and stop arbitrarily issuing licences or leases over NCR land within the communal land boundaries,” he said.

Another NCR land lawyer, Baru Bian said that he was absolutely delighted as the decision of the Federal Court had finally sealed the finding of the High Court in the landmark case of Nor Nyawai that NCR land was not only confined to temuda land, but it included “pemakai menua” (territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (communal forests).

“This concept is now settled. This is because Nor Nyawai says common law recognises the pre-existence of adat and custom. Now it is a question of adducing evidence,” he added. In welcoming the Federal Court’s decision, the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) was happy that the Federal Court had put back the rights of natives over their land.

Be sensitive to needs of natives

Its publicity officer, John Anthony Brian, said that SDNU urged the NCR land owners to take this opportunity to move forward and develop their land.

“We hope the Dayaks can establish their own investment vehicle to develop their land into an economic enterprise so that we do not blame the government any more,” he said, and urged the government to be sensitive to the needs of the natives and support their efforts to develop their land in order to eradicate poverty.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the State Minister of Land Development James Masing and Minister of Rural Development, Alfred Jabu anak Numpang, who is also chairman of the NCR task force, to response to the Federal Court’s decision were unsuccessful.

Being Dayaks, both ministers should be the right persons to comment on behalf of the state government on the implications of the Federal Court’s decision.

It is understood that the state legal counsel, J.C. Fong, who represented the state government had briefed the chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud on the decision.

Meanwhile, NCR land lawyers and NCR land owners are watching closely what the Taib government’s next move will be to avoid being sued.

Friday, May 8

Dominique Ng arrested

BREAKING NEWS State assemblyperson for Padungan Dominique Ng was arrested tonight together with 10 Parti Keadilan Rakyat members including his wife, Lim Phang Lian.

Edil Rahmat, head of PKR youth movement in the State and a famous blogger, Lina Soo were also arrested for taking part in an illegal assembly at the Kuching Water Front when they lighted candles for vigil for democracy in Perak.

All of them were wearing “black” T- shirts.

Earlier at around 7.30 pm Police have closed all roads leading to the Kuching Water Front to stop PKR members from holding the peaceful candlelight vigil to support their colleagues in Perak.

But Ng in “smses” to all his friends warned them that they should be prepared to walk to the Kuching Water Front.

Said Ng, who is also the chairman of the PKR division in Kuching, said: “I have never seen so many Police personnel doing their duties to arrest the most dangerous ‘terrorists’.

At the time of writing, they were still at the Kuching Central Police station.

S'wak gov't defeated in landmark NCR ruling ~ Malaysiakini

Taken from

The Federal Court has upheld the concept of native customary rights (NCR) to land as including not only one class of such land called "temuda" (cultivated land), but also "pulau galau" (communal forest) and "pemakai menua" (territorial domain).

The apex court delivered its ruling today in Kuching, in an application by the Sarawak government in a case initiated by local Malay Madehi Salleh to claim NCR rights over former Shell concession land in Miri.

Lawyers dealing in NCR cases were quick to point out the implications of the decision for some 200 land cases filed to date against the state government and companies that have obtained leases mainly for plantation and logging activities.

So long as NCR claimants can provide sufficient evidence to support their claims, logging and plantation companies may now find themselves in a quandary unless they are prepared to negotiate.

Madehi had taken the state government to court in 2007 over his rights to 6.6 acres of land and won the case.

However, the state government successfully appealed the decision in the Court of Appeal, following which Madehi turned to the Federal Court and won his case in October 2007.

The court recognised the pre-existence of NCR before the coming into force of any statue or legislation, in particular the Rajah Order of 1921. It said the reservation of the land under the Rajah’s Order for Sarawak Oilfields Ltd (SOL) did not have the effect of extinguishing NCR to the land.

There was no provision whatsoever in the Rajah’s Order that extinguished Madeli’s NCR to his tract of land, the judges said, noting that all it did was to reserve the land for SOL.

Furthermore, the Federal Court said native rights to occupy untitled land in accordance with customary laws subsisted in an area reserved for operation of SOL. Individual rights of natives were the same as communal rights, it added.

Application dismissed

The Sarawak government, unhappy with the decision, then applied to the Federal Court to review its own decision.

Today, however, the court disagreed that the applicants had met the threshold requirement and dismissed the review application with costs.

The Federal Court’s quorum comprised the Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Richard Malanjun, Hashim Yusuf and Zulkifli Ahmad Makinudin.

Appearing for the applicants (Sarawak government) were State Legal Counsel JC Fong and his assistant Safri Ali. Miri-based lawyer Mekanda Singh Sandhu and his son Sathinda represented Madehi.

Sathinda told Malaysiakini later that the judgment can now be applied to all NCR land cases after this.

Millions of hectares of land have been leased out over the past 20 years to many companies and state agencies.

The Federal Court ruling re-affirmed a similar landmark finding in the Nor Nyawai & Others v Borneo Pulp and Plantation case in Bintulu in 2001.

Tuesday, May 5

Ibans mount blockade against Naroden’s companies

About 100 Iban land owners from Kpg. Sungai Lingkau, Melanjok and Sekendu in Simunjan today (5 May) mounted a blockade to prevent workers of Hydroflow and Melur Gemilang from entering their NCR land.

A manager from the company promised the landowners who maintained the blockade not to enter the area, and to bring out all the machinery.

The landowners expected the manager to lodge a report with the Police and they also expected to be arrested in the defence of their land from being encroached into.

Hydroflow and Melur Gemilang are owned by Yang Berhormat Naroden Majais, the Simunjan State assemblyman. He is known as the "Simunjan King of oil palm", owning more than 48,000 acres of land including NCR land of oil palm.

Meanwhile, six longhouses in the Kpg. Samalatong/Kepayang area will meet on Wednesday night to reject the offer of DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings Sdn. Bhd. to develop their NCR land. The agreement has already been signed between 46 longhouse chiefs with the DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings Sdn. Bhd.

But the landowners from these six longhouses prefer their NCR land to be developed by SALCRA where their equity participation is 70% as compared with 30% given by DD plantations and Pelita. - The Broken Shield

Stanny to defence of Ibans ~ Malaysiakini

Taken from:

Sarawak PKR’s Stanny Embat has criticised state deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu anak Numpang for speaking ill of the Iban community.
Stanny said it was unfair of Jabu (pic above) to generalise the Ibans as irresponsible, when there are only a few bad apples among some one million members of the community.

“Such remarks are not only unfair, but are a mockery of the achievements of, and contributions made by, many members both in their personal and public life,” Stanny said in a statement.

His remarks followed Jabu’s accusations that the Ibans are involved in wasteful habits like drinking, gambling and cock fighting, and that they have not made much progress especially in education.

Countering this, Stanny said: “Like other active communities, there are few Ibans who drink, gamble and waste their time, but the majority are responsible, hard-working and practise a healthy lifestyle.

“Not a few Ibans now are highly educated and qualified people. Some hold top posts in both the private and public sectors.”

Describing Ibans as an advanced group, he added: “The Ibans of today aspire to be contractors, traders, managers and owners of businesses instead of being daily paid harvesters of oil palm fruits.”
On the cock-fighting issue, he said this is a well-controlled pastime associated with rituals and ceremonies and that the police are strict when issuing licences for such sessions.

Psychological warfare?

Stanny, a special branch police officer before he retired a couple of years ago, is seen by many as a firebrand politician.

Given that this is his first statement, political observers see it as the start of psychological warfare against Jabu, a veteran politician.

Stanny, who was recently appointed chairperson of PKR Layar division, is also tipped to challenge Jabu for the Layar state seat when state elections are due to be held by May 2011.

Jabu, also the rural development minister and minister for infrastructure development, had been quoted as saying that certain Ibans would rather spent their money on cock-fighting and are prepared to splurge between RM100 and RM1,000 on a bird, instead of saving for their children’s education.

He added that these habits have hindered the community from producing successful individuals when compared to the Kelabits, who are a minority among the Dayaks.

Sunday, May 3

46 longhouses in Simunjan to develop their NCR land?

SIGNED AND SEALED: Snowdan (centre) looks on as Yee (right) and Abdullah exchange the signed documents. Also looking on are Land Development Ministry’s permanent secretary Chaiti Bolhassan (second right) and Temenggong Anthony Ngipak.

On Wednesday, 29 April 2009 about 2,000 NCR landowners from 46 longhouses in the Kepayang/Samalatong area, Simunjan district were said to have agreed to jointly develop their land with DD Plantations Sdn Bhd and Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd.

DD Plantations, a Kuching-based company, will provide the expertise and an investment of RM140 million to develop 9,629.6 ha of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land into an oil palm plantation, according to The Borneo Post (30 April 09).

The landowners get to enjoy 30 percent of the profits while DD Plantations get 60 percent and Pelita Holdings 10 percent.

Forty-six longhouse chiefs attended the signing ceremony of the joint venture at a hotel here, which was witnessed by Balai Ringin assemblyman Snowdan Lawan.

As the people’s representative of the area, Snowdan, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice president, said that it was his responsibility to ensure that his constituents enjoy better income and social benefits. He assured the landowners that the developers would not take away their land in the course of developing it.

Upon learning of the so-called signing of the joint venture, the people from the 46 longhouses were so angry with their Tuai Rumah that they demanded their resignation for “selling their rights to the company.”

But many Tuai Rumah claimed that they were tricked into attending the ceremony as they were told to attend a seminar in Kuching.

From what was told to me that Tuai Kudi, Kpg. Isu, Tuai Rumah Sebli anak Uban, Kpg. Sibau Rumbau, Tuai Rumah Najib bin Abdullah, Kpg. Semalatong (Muslim), Tuai Rumah Entali anak Nusang, Kpg. Semalatong (Iban), Tuai Rumah Uja, Kpg. Kepayang and Pemancha Muit and Temenggong Anthony Ngipa are alleged to be behind the project.

Many of the longhouse people claimed they were forced to agree to the joint venture. In fact they do not want Pelita Holdings and DD Plantations to develop their land. They want SALCRA to develop their land as SALCRA gives them 70%, while as Pelita Holdings and DD Plantations give then only 30%. They have met general manager of SALCRA requesting it to develop their land.

Yesterday (Sat, 2 May), there was an urgent meeting in Simunjan between Pelita Holdings and Temenggong Anthony, TR Sebli, TR Najib, TR Kudi, and TR Entali after they heard strong objections from the people to develop their land by Pelita Holdings and DD Plantations.

Meanwhile, those who oppose Pelita Holdings and DD Plantations will be coming to Kuching soon to consult their lawyers with a view to apply for a court injunction.

The other strange thing is that Snowdan claims that the areas to be developed are within his constituency of Balai Ringin.

For people like me who come from the area and a voter do not know that Semalatong, Sibau Rumbau, Isu and Kepayang are under Balai Ringin; these kampongs are under Simunjan constituency of Naroden Majais.

Naroden is not only a good friend of Yee Ming Seng, but his business partner. They own the Gedong Plantations and few more. Yee Ming Seng is a rich businessman from Sebauh, Bintulu.

Now the questions are: Why did Snowdan claim that these longhouses are under his constituency knowing very well that they are under Naroden Majais? Is he acting on behalf of Naroden? Or is Naroden scared of his own voters for taking away their land?

Now Naroden, known as the “Simunjan King of Oil Palm”, has been given 16,486 ha (roughly 41,215 acres) of land from Gedong to Sedilau, Simunjan and to Ulu Simunjan. The bulk of this land is under NCR and owned by Malays and Ibans. - The Broken Shield


Friday, May 1

Thanksgiving dinner

On Wednesday night (29 April), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) organised a thanksgiving dinner to celebrate the BN’s victory at the recently concluded Batang Ai by-election. The dinner was held in Kuching and was attended by some BN leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

At the dinner PRS president James Masing spoke of the “unity and excellent” example of teamwork of Barisan component parties from Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia that helped ensure their victory.

“If all BN components in Sarawak, the Peninsula and Sabah can work together as we have done in Batang Ai, we can beat anything that the opposition parties throw at us,” he said.

Was Masing telling the truth? Or did he say it to please DPM and others present? That is really a good PR exercise. During the campaign for the Batang Ai by-election from 29 March to 6 April, we were told that Masing was furious that he was left on his own with no money coming from the other BN.

Lucky for Masing, one of his men who had business contracts, had to come up with over RM500,000 to help finance the election. A PRS supreme council member, Tedewin Ngumbang admitted that PRS and members toiled hard to look for money to help finance the election. He confirmed no financial assistance coming from PBB and other BN parties.

It was true that PBB was there, but it operated separately with no connection with Masing. DCM Alfred Jabu went on his way after he had a spat with Masing over some Party symbols and posters. Awang Tengah was also own his own after he argued with Masing during a meeting in Sri Aman.

During the counting of votes, Jabu who was with CM in Kuching only phoned Awang Tengah for the latest results and not Masing, although Masing was the director of operations.

Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) “semadi” campaign, because in its heart of hearts it wished that PRS lost the seat so that its (SPDP) position in the BN would be strengthened while PRS position was weakened.

Even its president and deputy president did not attend the thanksgiving dinner as if they had no respect for the presence of deputy prime minister.

Anyway, we want to know how much money was spent on the thanksgiving dinner and why it was held in Kuching and not in Lubok Antu? Could it cost RM200,000 or more? Could it not be better to spend such money on a project that would bring direct benefit to the Batang Ai voters say on improving medical facilities as a way to say thank you?The Broken Shield