Wednesday, July 29

Blame Masing for Hadi’s remarks

A Sarawak PKR leader and former Sri Aman Member of Parliament Jimmy Donald has put the blame squarely on Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing for remarks alleged to have been said by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

Hadi was reported to have said that Pakatan Rakyat lost the Batang Ai by-election on 7 April this year because the voters did not know how to vote as they were still wearing loin clothes (cawat).

“In all previous by-elections the results were favouring Pakatan. Only in Batang Ai we lost because the voters did not know how to vote as they are still wearing loin clothes,” Hadi had said on the run-up to Manek Urai by-election recently.

Donald, who was ex-colleague of Masing in PRS said: “I would like to put the blame squarely on Masing who was once the state minister of tourism. He spent time and money travelling overseas promoting Sarawak by showing Lemanak Ibans wearing loin clothes in order to attract tourists to the state.

“In my visits to European countries, I saw with my own eyes photographs of Ibans wearing loin clothes appeared in their televisions.

“If you are using Iban culture as tourist attractions, who is to be blamed?”
he asked and pointed out that Hadi’s remarks could be traced back to Masing who used the Iban wearing loin clothes as a tourist attraction.

Stressing that he did not condone any insults on any community by anybody, Donald said: “To me this is a small issue, but Masing used it to hide bigger issues where Dayaks have been short-changed.

“As a minister of land development, Masing should ensure that NCR lands are not taken away from the owners. These are the bigger issues that affect the lives and the livelihood of the Dayaks,” he said and hoped that one day he would not look back in later years blaming other people for the loss of NCR land.

He also questioned why Masing had not taken any action against his deputy Joseph Entulu who wanted to obliterate the word ‘Dayak’ as it implied the Dayaks were uncivilized, uncouth and low class.

“All these issues are much bigger than issue of Iban wearing loin clothes,” he added.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a concerted effort by the State BN particularly PRS to arouse anti-PAS feelings among the Dayaks in Sarawak as pro-BN newspapers keep on highlighting comments from Dayak leaders and politicians on remarks made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

Just as Teoh Beng Hock’s death has been an issue by the Pakatan Rakyat against the government in the peninsula, Hadi’s remarks have been capitalized by BN especially PRS to arouse anti-PAS feelings among the Dayaks.

Since Hadi’s remarks were made public by Masing last Friday, one by one of the Dayak politicians came out to condemn Hadi and demand he apologise to the Dayak people especially Ibans.

Masing felt that such remarks reeked of PAS’ especially Hadi’s ignorance and arrogance, pointing out that his comments meant that the Batang Ai voters, the majority of whom are Ibans, were uncivilized.

“Such comments can stir racial tension in the country,” he said and added: “Calling Dayak voters uncivilized are uncalled for. It shows just how ignorant PAS is of the situation in Batang Ai. It is ignorant about the fact that the people there are well-educated and civilized.”

Masing advised Hadi to go to the longhouses and see the situation himself.

Malcolm Mussen who won the Batang Ai by-election on 7 April 2009 said that Hadi’s remarks were an insult not only to the Ibans, but Sarawakians as a whole.

PBB Deputy President Alfred Jabu who has returned to work after more than two months of sick-leave joined other Dayak leaders in condemning Hadi and accused him of being an “armchair” politician who did not know what was happening on the ground.

His remarks were not only damaging, but derogatory also to the people of Lubok Antu, added Jabu who said that any sensible person would apologise because such remarks were untrue and if he did not apologise, then the people knew what kind of a person he was.

Jabu said that if anyone was to go to Batang Ai, one would find every body there wearing normal clothes and that they would only wear their traditional attires during festive occasions.

Another PRS leader Mong Dagang labeled Hadi as a typical narrow-minded politician who should resign as PAS president who was not interested in other parts of Malaysia, except his own kampung.

PRS women chief Doris Brodie said that Pakatan Rakyat should forget about making any headway in Dayak majority constituencies, its leaders continued to talk like Hadi.

“They can forget about making their existence in Sarawak especially in Dayak majority constituencies as they are not ethnic-sensitive. On top of that, such remarks can stir racial tension,” she said.

Hadi’s remarks are sure to be used by BN leaders as an effective tool to frighten Dayaks from supporting Pakatan come the next election.

In fact the state BN had already used Hadi’s remarks to warn voters in the rural areas not to support the opposition. – The Broken Shield

Monday, July 27

Mawan calls on Adit to return to BN

During a visit to Kanowit on Saturday, SPDP president William Mawan called on Gabriel Adit, State assemblyman to return to the fold of the Barisan Nasional through SPDP as he had still a role to play in uniting the people of Kanowit.

Adit is now a supreme council member of PKR and Mawan said that Adit is in the wrong camp.

Before the state election in 2006, Adit was a supreme council member of SPDP and was forced to resign when Mawan failed to fight the Ngemah seat for SPDP. The seat was given to PRS.

Adit then stood as an independent candidate defeating PRS candidate Alexander Vincent by a majority of 549 votes.

After joining PKR Adit has been very active in mobilizing his supporters to join PKR and Mawan saw this as a threat to BN not only in Ngemah, but also Machan which is now under PBB.

Mawan said that his visit to Kanowit was to further strengthen the BN position in the area and called his SPDP members to support any BN candidate.

In the previous election, many SPDP members voted for Adit because they were angry that the seat was given to PRS and not to SPDP.

But political observers are wondering why Mawan wants Adit to return to the fold of BN-SPDP knowing that he (Mawan) will not be able to help Adit. He also knows that Adit will never return to BN after being betrayed.

So why does he make the call?

One possible reason, according to a senior SPDP member, is that SUPP wants Johnichal Rayong to join SUPP and contest the Engkilili seat in the coming election. Rayong won the Engkilili seat on a SNAP ticket.

The logic is that if Rayong is allowed to join BN-SUPP after fighting the BN, then Adit is also should be given the same privilege. It was on the objection of other BN members parties that Adit did not contest on BN-SPDP. Mawan still harbours bitterness in his heart.

In other words, if Adit was objected, SPDP is likely to oppose any move for Rayong to join BN-SUPP. PRS is also likely to oppose the move.

For Rayong to join BN-SUPP there must be 100% consensus among the 14 members of the Barisan Nasional.

Is this what Mawan is hinting when he urges Adit to return to SPDP? – The Broken Shield


Thursday, July 23

The Broken Shield offers condolence to Chan’s family

With the sudden demise of S.C. Chan in the early hours of 21 July, I lost not only a dear friend, but a “boss” who introduced me to write for Malaysiakini. Chan has been with Malaysiakini since it started some nine years ago and early this year he invited me for a cup of coffee and asked me whether I could help write for Malaysiakini.

He told me he needed someone who could write about Dayak politics especially with the coming Batang Ai by-election. I accepted the offer and since then I have been writing for Malaysiakini. Often I consulted him on a number of issues. As a boss, he was very kind and helpful.

Noted for his analytical writing on politics, Chan was a “home” bred journalist committed to expose injustices and unfairness meted to the unprivileged people. Coming from a Chinese-Iban parentage, Chan was very concerned about NCR land issues because he knew his mother’s NCR land was taken away by the authorities.

As a journalist, he must be the “first to know” of any happening in the country. Even while waiting to be operated, Chan smsed me on 20 July 2009 at 23.23 p.m. asking me “if there is any good story today” and reminded me to write on his behalf for the malaysianmirror. He was confident that he would be out in two weeks’ time.

Such was the character of a person who was so much committed and dedicated to journalism. The fact that he was so eager to know of the latest news speaks volumes of the man.

I knew Chan when I was working as a Press Officer with the state information department in the late 1960s. He was with the Sarawak Tribune. Since then, our friendship began until this day.

Therefore his sudden demise was a great shock to me as he said that he would be out in two weeks’ time. On behalf of The Broken Shield and its administrators, I offer our profound sorrow and deepest sympathies to his family.

Meanwhile, as instructed by the Editor-in-Chief of Malaysiakini, Steven Gan, I filed the following story for Malaysiakini:-

A well-known Sarawak journalist, Chan Seng Chai (S.C. Chan) passed away at 1.55 a.m this morning following a 14-hour heart operation at the Normah Medical Centre. He was 62 years old.

He leaves behind a wife, two grown up children and a grandchild. His remains will be cremated on Friday.

After leaving school, he took up a career as a reporter with then The Sarawak Tribune under the guidance of the editor, Dennis Law and news editor Raymond Adai. While being a reporter, he took up further studies and graduated with a journalism degree.

He left The Sarawak Tribune and stringed for a number of local and international papers and magazines. His column “Over a Cup of Coffee” in The Sunday Borneo Post has a great number of following.

Chan who is also known as Tony Thien was a staff reporter for the Malaysiakini right from the day the on-line news portal started.

His untimely death shocked many of his friends and politicians. Dominique Ng, state assemblyperson for Padungan and PKR advisor described him as always a professional reporter taking care to check and verify his facts before reporting. His passing would be deeply felt by those who knew him.

An NCR land lawyer, Baru Bian said that he had lost a dear friend. “I knew him for many years with a heart for the marginalized groups like the natives of Sarawak, as such he was ever ready to cover my NCR land cases and highlight their problems. I will miss him dearly,” he said.

Sulok Tawie, secretary of Kuching Journalists Division and former Secretary general of Sarawak Journalists Association, described Chan as one of the best known journalists, who was humble and willing to help young reporters who “felt lost” in the journalistic world.

He said he was highly respected for his views especially on politics and business and even being consulted by politicians.

Another Opposition leader, Voon Lee San, state assemblyperson for Batu Lintang, described Chas as a good friend who covered many of his political works in his writing.

As a journalist, he maintained a high standard in his profession who was sharp and feared no one, he said, adding that Sarawak lost an outstanding journalist.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Borneo Post group, M. Rajah said that Chan, as one of the paper’s contributors, was a Sarawak’s top notch journalist.

“I have known him since 80s and I have learnt a lot from him. He was my mentor. He taught me the art of news and feature writing.

“In my early days of journalism, when I virtually had no contacts of my own he introduced me to his contacts. I am truly indebted to him,” Rajah said.

Chan’s another close friend, Paul Kadang, who is attached to PKR Office in Kuala Lumpur, said that Sarawak had lost an outstanding personality and writer.

For those who had the privilege to know him knew Chan as one who often championed the causes of the disadvantaged, he said.


Tuesday, July 21

Who are the "political scorpions"?

The other point that I did not include in my Malaysiakini story (see my story below this article) on the SPDP press conference on 18 July was that Mawan was blaming the Dayaks for the disunity that we are in today, starting from the split in SNAP in 1980 during which PBDS was formed, and in the 2002 SNAP crisis during which SPDP was formed; again in 2004 PBDS crisis after which PRS was formed and lastly in the PRS crisis (2006-2008) which almost led to its demise.

We have in the past as well as in the present heard of the term “political frogs” to describe politicians jumping ships. But Mawan likened some Dayaks as “scorpions” moving around and poking people left and right.

“And if you are a scorpion, people will not like you because you are not a smooth creature,” Mawan said.

I am not so sure whether the Dayaks are or were like scorpions or behaving like one. If you look back into all these crises, there was one common denominator: a Chinese towkay was involved one way or the other.

# SNAP’s first crisis in 1980 was because of James Wong who insisted that he must be made the president of the party upon the resignation of Dunstan Endawie (refer to the first volume of The Broken Shield) and Leo Moggie and Daniel Tajem said that since it was a Dayak-based party, the president should be a Dayak. With the help of other Dayak leaders, Wong’s camp defeated Moggie and his group.

# With that victory, Wong behaved a like a dictator in the party and did not brook any criticism to his leadership. Anyone trying to talk about Dayak interests in the party was told to leave the party and form his own racial party. One of those who were very vocal about Dayak issues was Tajem. Wong found an excuse to expel Tajem from the party by accusing him of supporting an independent candidate in the 1982 parliamentary election. His expulsion led to the resignations of several DUN members and MPs from SNAP, who later formed PBDS in September 1983.

# SNAP’s second crisis in 2002 was due to a quarrel between Wong and the MP for Bintulu Tiong King Sing over a TV3 project in Bintulu. The bitter feud led to the expulsion of Tiong from the party. His expulsion was strongly objected by leaders like Mawan, Nyarok, Sylvester Enterie and six others who resigned and formed SPDP. Due to the quarrel SNAP was deregistered, but it is still given a stay of execution. (Tiong owed much to people like Mawan and eight others including the late Peter Tinggom and the late Dr. Judson Tagal for “saving” him).

# Therefore, I was surprised to hear Tiong shouted at all the SPDP leaders during their last meeting, treating them as if they were small children. His loud voice was overheard by many of us – the reporters. We heard him saying: “I spent my bloody money on this party, so do not do that to me ……”)

# As for PBDS crisis in 2004, it was James Masing and again a non-Dayak in the person of Sng Chee Hua was involved. Masing and Sng challenged Tajem and Joseph Salang for the top posts. In their determined efforts to be president and deputy president, they made a lot blunders such as having their own TDC in Bintulu leading to the creation of two “presidents” with two sets of supreme councils and two headquarters. Because of this, PBDS was deregistered. (More details will be revealed with the publication of my second volume of The Broken Shield which will out very, very soon).

# The PRS crisis from 2006 to 2008 was again due to Sng Chee Hua who wanted to topple Masing as president and later his son Larry. But Masing played his game very well and has gotten rid of the Sngs from the party. Now PRS is almost one hundred percent Dayak party, led and financed by Dayaks themselves.

As for SPDP, its future is in the hands of one man Tiong and we have heard of rumours that he may go for the two post in their TDC this November or even for the number one post.

As Mawan said, SPDP was a democratic party and he expected contests from “top bottom”. Thus Mawan should know better than many of us as to who are the political “scorpions”. But the question I would like to ask is: Can SPDP survive from the sting of the "scorpion"? - The Broken Shield



Taken from:

Concerns loom over possible merger

Talks of a merger between two Dayak-based parties Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) remain as talks only as the two sides have not met officially since the proposal was made in 2005.

"The talks of merger are still on, but we have not met," admitted William Mawan SPDP president after a supreme council meeting yesterday.

"Even though the merger remains illusive, we have other ways of strengthening one another on the ground. We must be seen together first and demonstrate we work to help one another," he said.

Asked if there were any obstacles, Mawan said: "There are no obstacles and as far as I am concerned, I am prepared to step aside in order to allow some one to head the new entity."

"We are very committed to the idea of a merger," he said, adding that there was no time frame for it to be realised.

The merger talks between the two was said to have been proposed by Chief Minster Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2005 in order to strengthen the two parties especially following the de-registration of Snap and PBDS in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

Both SPDP and PRS were born out of the demise of the two parties. For SPDP, it was registered in November 2002 and PRS was registered in Oct 21, 2004, the day when PBDS' registration was revoked.

Sources close to Taib said that the chief minister did not want to be seen as having a hand in the de-registration of the two-Dayak based parties.

Chinese leaders call for caution

But when the idea of a merger was proposed to strengthen 'Dayak unity', Chinese leaders of the two parties called for caution, because any move to merge must be done with great care.

Tiong King Sing, SPDP treasurer general, who was very much against the merger, was reported to have said: "There is no point to merge, if we have to quarrel over who should be the president and who should hold important posts."

"There is no point to merge if at the end of the day, both sides get embroiled in the fight for top posts. If this happens why should we rock the boat?" he asked.

Sng Chee Hua, who was then PRS deputy president, was also reported to be against the merger, saying that some had to make sacrifices if the merger went through.

"No doubt, there will be a bigger room, a bigger boat, but the question is who will be its captain," said Sng.

Now Sng is no longer with PRS and yet PRS is hesitant about the merger, although publicly it is for it.

According to a PRS supreme council member, PRS does not want Tiong to be in the new entity.

"PRS will closely watch SPDP's triennial delegates conference to be held in November this year and the role Tiong is going to play in the party.

"Because of this, PRS' own conference has to be delayed by a year," he said, adding that the decision to merge or not would be known by then.

S'wak land owners resist joint-venture 'land grab' ~ Malaysiakini


Native Customary Rights (NCR) landowners from some 60 longhouses in the Lower Julau and Upper Bintangor areas in the Sarikei Division have registered their strongest yet objection against the inclusion of their plots as part of an oil palm plantation joint project by the Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) and Sime Darby Plantations.

In a statement emailed to Malaysiakini, TAHABAS (Jaringan Tanah Hak Bangsa Asal Sarawak) or Sarawak NCR landowners network secretary Nyumbang Anak Barau said that the landowners who attended a dialogue session on July 9 had told LCDA and Sime Darby Plantations to exclude their land.

However, despite their protest, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Sime Darby plantations and the LCDA to develop 20,000 hectares of NCR land.

The landowners from 109 longhouses were represented by the LCDA.

Sarawak's land development minister James Masing witnessed the signing of the agreement.

Nyumbang said: "I wish to reiterate our stand as the affected landowners that we are against the implementation of this NCR land development policy in our areas, where LCDA and Sime Darby respectively own 10 percent and 60 percent shares in a joint-venture company (JVC).

He said that the remaining 30 percent is supposed to be "owned by us, the landowners who have not agreed to this policy".

Major points of discontent

"We are not against NCR land developments through oil palm schemes per se, but we cannot accept this particular land development policy," he said and outlined the main points of disagreement.

He said: "We are not confident that LCDA can competently and impartially protect our rights in the JVC. We see LCDA has vested interests, and the mechanisms to be employed are not convincing enough to protect our rights;

Secondly, he said, the LCDA is being given an equivalent of "dictatorial power which is too strong for our liking, while our rights are unfairly and vastly diminished."

Thirdly, they do not trust LCDA, and “we are against LCDA becoming our Trustee. LCDA's records as known by us have failed to dispel our fear of not receiving fair bonuses and dividends later."

He said that so-called 30 percent share that is offered to may not eradicate poverty but "we may even become poorer by losing our lands forever after signing the trust deed".

Nyumbang said the current policy does not satisfactorily provide a guarantee to return those lands to their heirs upon the expiry of the joint venture after 60 years.

"This fear is genuine and not unfounded. And this is reflected by over 200 cases in our courts involving NCR lands. With such numbers, why are we not to worry?" he asked.

"Incidentally, the people from over 60 longhouses living in Lower Julau and Upper Bintangor and those along Kanowit-Julau-Durin road formed an action committee in 2007 to counteract an earlier attempt to extract timber on these same lands by a company issued with a provisional lease by the government," he said.

Loss of land

Nyumbang said that in the event that the joint-venture company fails to settle its debts by a certain period, the land owners will then be forced to use their land as collaterals.

"We could lose our land," he said and that working as a labourer earning a rate of RM15 per day or RM330 per month is hardly sufficient. It is well below the poverty line."

He said due to the absence of land titles, some of the idle NCR lands may not seem to offer them much profit. But they are a source of unpolluted vegetables, meat and fish in addition to giving them priceless building materials and other jungle produce.

"Moreover by safe-keeping these lands temporarily, we can therefore hope that one day our next generation with better education and means will be able to develop them better," he said.

Thursday, July 16

Only a jaguh kampung?

How good are our Dayak YBs? Or are they only good as “jaguh kampung”?

These are some of the questions that have been asked many times by many people especially by those from the Dayak community.

During parliamentary sessions, our MPs seem to be mute and this is confirmed by none other than the Dewan Rakyat’s deputy speaker, Wan Junaidi when he said that our MPs did not take part in debates in Parliament and did not raise issues that have some bearing on the State. They were shy.

Our MPs are Mas Gading MP, Mambong MP, Serian MP, Sri Aman MP, Lubok Antu MP, Betong MP, Saratok MP, Julau MP, Kanowit MP, Kapit MP, Ulu Rejang MP, Selangau MP, Baram MP, and Bukit Mas MP.

Minus ministers and deputy ministers, we still have nine ordinary MPs who should take active part in debates and discussions on issues that concern Sarawak in particular the Dayak community.

They should highlight problems of poverty, lack of development, NCR land issues, social and welfare problems. But no, they sit down and listen to others talking.

When they return to Sarawak, they talk as if they own Sarawak. For example the MP for Lubok Antu shows that he is very active in his own constituency and every week we hear him saying something, advising people to support BN and promise this and that especially on small or minor rural development projects and a few thousand ringgit for JKKK. And the MP for Sri Aman is always silent and over shadowed by the State assemblyman for Bukit Begunan. And the MP for Kanowit is seldom heard. Even he failed many times to attend the PRS supreme council meeting.

What these MPs including State assemblymen should do is to draw up a development master plan for their constituencies in order to raise the incomes of the people and raise their standard of living. Put up a working paper and discuss with their party leaders and submit such plan to the State Planning Unit (SPU). Call for a press conference to announce your proposal and raise it up in parliament or in council Negeri. Continue to bark and if the government does not listen, then we know that this government is not fulfilling the “One Malaysia” concept. Then when election comes, the voters will know what to do (hopefully).

In this way, then you are people’s representatives who are prioritizing the people’s interests. But no, our MPs only talk big on small things that a non-YB can do. So it appears to me that these MPs want only to be heard by their own constituents (tauka minta dinga bini aja). They are more like, in the Iban saying, "Remaung di rumah and Raung di tanah". Only a "jaguh kampung". - The Broken Shield

Sunday, July 12

Entulu under fire

THE PANEL SPEAKERS (left to right): Sidi Munan, Dr Elie Luhat, Datuk John Tenewi Nuek, Assoc. Prof. Dr Andrew Aeria (moderator), Mering Wan & Dr John Brian

Deputy Minister for rural and regional development Joseph Entulu was severely criticised at a forum today (11 July 2009) for suggesting that the term “Dayak” be dropped as its connotation was uncivilized, uncouth and low class.

The forum, should the term ‘Dayak’ be dropped, was organised by The Borneo Post in collaboration with the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU).

Five panel speakers addressed some 150 participants, the majority of them were professionals, pensioners, businessmen and university students.
SDNU publicity chief Dr. John Brian Anthony said that the term “Dayak” was used anthropologically to describe the natives of Borneo.
He said: “It is sillier to suggest dropping the term ‘Dayak’. He must be drunk. Otherwise he is playing to the gallery of those who are against the term ‘Dayak’.

“It is our intention to bring all the natives together under the name of Dayak, but there are people who think that the Dayaks are threat. That is why Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) cannot be registered because it is considered a security threat to the nation,” he said.

SDNU which was formed in 1956 was considered as opposition organisation and because this organisation was being punished and no financial aids were given to it, he said, pointing out that the government gave funds to Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Orang Ulu National Union (OUNA) and other NGOs in order to spite SDNU.

It seemed, he said, that Entulu was given the job of bashing the Dayak community.

Next speaker was Sidi Munan, president of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), who said that the dropping of term to say the least was stupid and lack of understanding of history.

“I am wondering whether it is a government proposal. It looks like it. It may be slip of the tongue, but coming from the heart,” he said.

Sidi recalled an incident in 1967 in which someone suggested that the term ‘Dayak’ be dropped.

“And there is something more than meets the eye,” he said, and warned of the legal, political and cultural implications and consequences especially in respect of I Malaysia concept.

“There will be no gawai Dayak and the Federal Constitution need to be amended. Thus it is more good than harm to retain the name in this context,” he said.

Presenting his views next was Dr. Elie Luhat, deputy president of Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA).

He said: “If you want to get rid of the word ‘Dayak’ we are doing the work of others, that is, ‘ethnic cleansing’.

“And my advice to politicians is that if you proceed with the proposal to remove the word ‘Dayak’ you are creating problems and issues that will cause you to commit political suicide,"
Elie said.

Former Ambassador to Myanmar, Venezuela and Mexico, Datuk John Tenewi Nuek said that he was proud to be a Dayak and had never been humiliated for being so, pointing out that he traveled to several countries in his capacity as an officer of the foreign service.

He said that it was politically wise to retain the name as it provided a common umbrella for the various native groups to work and strengthen their political unity.

“Why should we change the word ‘Dayak’ which is already a brand name which gives us the best marketing strategy? Dayak is synonymous with Borneo.

“Dropping the name will be a step backward from the political, economic and cultural point of view,”
he said.

Mering Wan from the Orang Ulu community said that he was proud to be a Malaysian, and prouder still to be a Dayak.

When the forum was opened to the floor, several participants spoke against the decision to change the term ‘Dayak’. - The Broken Shied

Dr. John Brian Anthony, publicity chief of SDNU and owner of receives a memento from Mr M. Rajah of The Borneo Post

Saturday, July 11

State rights: Sarawak BN messed up ~ Malaysiakini

Sarawak PKR chief Dominique Ng rebuked the state's tourism minister Michael Manyin for saying that the basic rights of the state as contained in the 20-point Malaysia Agreement would be lost if Pakatan Rakyat were to form the government.

"It was the Sarawak BN that had partially traded off immigration powers as provided for in the 20-point Malaysia Agreement when the requirement for passports or filling immigration forms for Malaysians from other states coming into Sarawak was abolished in 2005," he said.

Ng, the state assemblyperson for Padungan, added: "Instead the state BN government is on record for having abused immigration powers of the state to stop opposition leaders from entering the state.

"In contrast to the BN government, a future PR government in Sarawak will ensure that the posts of director of labour, senior assistant director, assistant director and all of the senior labour posts will be filled by Sarawakians or long term residents married to Sarawakians.

"Labour interests in Sarawak can only be looked into by local officers with special understanding of labour matters,"
he said.

'BN abolished use of English'

Ng explained that the use of English as an official language in the state was a right clearly stated in the Malaysia agreement.

“It was abolished by the BN government in the mid-80s, much to the detriment of educational progress in Sarawak," he said.

The BN government, added Ng, had presided over the unfair distribution of natural resources.

Forty-six years after independence, the people of Sarawak are still being given 5 percent of the oil profits as royalty, though Sarawak is a major oil-producing state.

"Poverty in Sarawak is among the highest, and development of Sarawak is lagging far behind the rest of the nation," he said.

Manyin had warned the people that they stood to lose many of their fundamental rights as Sarawakians if they wanted change for the sake of change.

"I feel disturbed by some Sarawakians who call for a change of government and leadership using peninsula-based Pakatan Rakyat as their political platform.

"This is dangerous because it could result in Sarawak losing its rights as contained in the 20-point agreement when it helped to form Malaysia in 1963,"
he said.

Absurd claims by minister

Manyin added that some areas in the agreement were meant to give Sarawakians a head-start over their more advanced West Malaysian counterparts.

Meanwhile, Ng said Sarawak's representation in the federal cabinet had declined, especially the absence of representation from the minister's own Bidayuh community.

"Should he not first champion the interests of his own community at the federal level?

"He will not get anywhere trying to deflect the neglect of his own community by his absurd claims about a possible PR government in Sarawak in future,"
he stressed.

Ng assured that a future PR government in Sarawak as promised by Anwar Ibrahim, the PKR de facto leader, would respect the agreed rights of people of Sabah and Sarawak and bestow an improved level of state autonomy.

The PR government would also improve the representation of the two states in the federal cabinet by creating a second deputy prime minister to be filled by a Sabah or Sarawak Malaysian.

It will also improve the presence of officers from the two states in the foreign and diplomatic service; raise the oil royalty from the current 5 percent to 20 percent and provide a modern highway for Sarawak and narrow the development gap between East and Peninsula Malaysia.

"What is the BN government offering Sarawak in comparison?" Ng asked.

Wednesday, July 8

Deepest sympathy to Dr. John Brian


Although I have smsed my message of condolence to Dr. John Brian on the loss of his mother, nevertheless I would like on behalf of The Broken Shield and its administrators to express our profound sorrow and deepest sympathy to him. May her soul rest in peace and may her spirit inspire you, Dr. John, to work harder and unselfishly for the vision and mission that you have set for – CHANGE WE MUST!!

And for those people like you, Dr. John, who dare to dream are the ones who will make their dream a reality. May God bless you.

Tuesday, July 7

Can Ibans play smart politics?

For the past 46 years of our so-called independence, the story is the same in all the 19 Iban majority state constituencies: complaints of no basic amenities like clean water, electricity, road and clinic not to mention major projects that can generate incomes and thereby uplifting their living standards. Instead their NCR lands are forcibly taken away from them and leased to big plantation companies.

And yet in every election, the Iban voters continue to vote for the “dacing” symbol after the BN has promised them all these, knowing that the same promises have been made over and over and again and again.

The famous quote by US President Abraham Lincoln that “you can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time” cannot apply to the Iban voters. It appears that “all the Ibans can be fooled all the time” by BN and worst still through Iban representatives.

After each election, the BN government has forgotten them. No doubt one or two of our elected YBs did ask for funds for projects in their respect constituencies, but they are not forceful enough. Many a time their requests are ignored. In other words, the government does not really respect them because they are weak, fragmented and found in every political party. If Abdul Taib Mahmud or even Awang Tengah were to be an elected representative in the Iban constituency, that constituency would have certainly undergone tremendous development and progress.

For now, even if you are shouting at the top of your lungs, nothing will come out; nobody will listen. State assemblyman for Meluan Wong Judat’s speech during the recent Council Negeri meeting clearly shows the disrespect the BN has on the people.

He said: “The Rakyat in my constituency are thinking that the government only knows how to make promises come election time to fish for votes.” And what made him say such statement like an Opposition elected representative was the delay in the construction of the long-awaited Nanga Entabai-Rantau Limau ulu road and the 29km Pakan-Engkamop road had not been tar-sealed for a long time.

It was not just the roads, but also the construction of suspension bridges across Kanowit river (from Julau town to a Chinese settlement and another suspension bridge to SK Nanga Luan).These had not been implemented although the cost had been determined at RM1.8 million.

He said he had raised the issue with the relevant authorities numerous times and each time he asked the ministry concerned, the reply was that funding from the federal government was insufficient.

“We the people of Meluan have waited a very long time, our patience is running low. The projects have been proposed since the seventh five-year Malaysia Plan and it was brought forward to the eighth Malaysia Plan and then to the ninth Malaysia Plan. Now the ministry could bring it again to the tenth Malaysia Plan.

“I want to know in which Malaysia Plan can the government have enough allocation to finance these projects considering they have been proposed a long time ago (more than 15 years). I do not want my people think that the government is only making promises during election,” he said.

Wong who is Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party supreme council member also spoke of the people’s dilemma in 30 longhouses, individual houses, three primary schools and Nanga Entabai clinic which are in dire need of clean water and electricity supply.

Likewise, the Kapit MP Alexander Nanta Linggi has bemoaned the absence of funds for the construction of Kapit-Sibu trunk road. Nanta’s grandfather, Tun Temenggong Jugah made the call more than 40 years ago, and the call was echoed by his father, the two-term MP for Kapit and it was repeated by the former MP for Kapit James Jimbun. Now Nanta is the fourth generation of MP for Kapit and hs been making numerous requests for funds for the Kapit-Sibu trunk road. Until now the requests have fallen on deaf ears.

So what are the solutions in order that our YBs can be an effective voice of the people? Could form a new political party specifically catering for Iban interests of any help? Or better still if SPDP, PRS, SNAP and Pesaka can form a merger called Iban National Front?

Never mind about the comments against it, but just imagine the impact if our elected 19 state representatives can come together – segulai-sejalai-sepenemu - under one political banner from Balai Ringin, to Bukit Begunan, Engkilili, Batang Ai, Layar, Bukit Saban, Krian, Pakan, Meluan, Machan, Ngemah, Ketibas, Baleh, Pelagus, Tamin, Kakus, Sebauh, Marudi, and Batu Danau and 11 Iban MPs.

This is not a racialist move, but rather that we take care and put our own house in order first before thinking of others. Let charity begin at home.

We do not aim to put our man as chief minister; neither do we want to frighten other communities. Whoever is the chief minister be he Malay, Chinese or Bidayuh or Orang Ulu as long as long as he respects our rights of existence, respect our NCR land, be fair in terms of distributing development, business opportunities, in education, and so on, we will support him.

Certainly with the 19 elected representatives and 11 MPs our voice is not only strong, but they (the government be it BN or PR) cannot simply ignore us. In other words, we will play the role of “king maker”. – The Broken Shield


Saturday, July 4

BN MP still awaiting Kapit-Sibu trunk road ~ Malaysiakini

Taken from

Kapit MP Alexander Nanta Linggi has blamed the big gap in development between Kapit - located in central Sarawak - and other divisions in the state to the lack of infrastructure development.

"Although there is much talk about the digital divide between urban and rural areas, the development gap in Kapit is far more pressing," said Nanta, who is from Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), a member of the BN coalition.

"It is still a big issue here and we are still talking about it," he said at the 16th installation-cum-award dinner of the Kapit Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

"Kapit had over the years given the BN government a strong mandate in the general election because of its pledge to implement development projects, including completing the road that was to link Sibu with Kapit," he said.

"Kapit's economy depends on infrastructure development. The pledges, therefore, must be fulfilled and any development meant for the division, must also include the road link from Sibu to Kapit," added Nanta.

He warned that Kapit would suffer greatly if logging, on which it depended for its wealth, slowed down.

Vast tracks of untapped agricultural land

Kapit could not depend on indigenous fish like ikan empurau, semah and tangadak or fruit trees like dabai and langsat as they were seasonal and unreliable.

"We must venture into other businesses such as crop planting to ensure steady incomes," he said, and stressed that the construction of a road would open up vast tracts of land for agricultural activities.

Nanta is not the only one who had been urging the government to build the Kapit-Sibu trunk road.

There were other leaders before him including his grandfather Temenggong Jugah who made a similar call more than 40 years ago when he was the MP for Ulu Rejang and as minister for Sarawak affairs.

Then came Nanta's father Leonard Linggi Anak Jugah, who was the MP for Kapit (1978 to 1986), and a relative, James Jimbun.

Nanta, who fought for the road to be included in the Ninth Malaysia Plan was said to be furious when there was no allocation for the trunk road in the plan.

Trunk road may remain an illusive dream

It appears that the promise will remain an elusive dream if the argument put forward by the state government is any indication.

According to sources close to the state government, Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is not in favour of the Kapit-Sibu trunk road.

They reckoned the trunk road will turn Kapit into a ghost town because visitors will not spend the nights there as they do now.

Secondly, the road, they said, is not economically viable as there are no economic activities between Sibu and Kapit.

This is despite the fact that the road will pass hundreds of longhouses and thousands of hectares of fertile land.

Thirdly, the government does not want to deprive express boats and tongkang that ply between Sibu and Kapit of their business.
One other reason, according to the sources, is that the government wants to concentrate on upstream development, where in addition to the Bakun hydro-electric dam (above), there is the Murum and Baleh dams to be built.

Roads and other infrastructure worth about RM7 billion will be built between Kapit and these areas, which will form part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE).

Although Kapit may not be linked to Sibu in the near future, it will eventually be connected to the fast growing town of Bintulu.