Saturday, August 29

Malaysia Day celebrations: Let us spare a thought for these unsung heroes

Whether Malaysia is celebrating its 52nd or 46th anniversary on 31 August (Malaya obtained its independence 31 August 1957 and the federation of Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963), is irrelevant to the issue that I am going to touch in this article. Nevertheless, during the 52 years or 46 years that Malaysia has been formed, we Malaysians have enjoyed tremendous development, security, peace and harmony.

Certainly there will be a lot of activities organised such as parades, funfairs, sports and games to celebrate our Merdeka. But how many of us realise, especially the younger generation, that what we enjoy today – peace, prosperity and harmony – is due on the main to the sacrifices made by our security forces – the Army, the Air force, the Navy, the Police, the Field force, the Border Scouts and especially the ordinary and unarmed people.

During the height of insurgency in Sarawak, the Sarawak Communist Organisation (SCO) which together with Indonesia opposed Sarawak joining Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Indonesian National Army (TNI) working together with TNKU (Tentera National Kalimantan Utara) and SCO conducted armed raids into Sarawak’s territory. Communist terrorists (CTs) and TNKU were active in the then First Division, Second, Third and fourth Divisions.

We were fortunate that the British soldiers including the famous Gurkha soldiers helped to defend Sarawak. They worked very closely with the Police Field Force and Sarawak Border Scouts platoons which were formed by the famous Iban trekkers during the communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1950s. Although they scored many successes against the enemy, many among them also lost their lives in the defence of Sarawak.

But there were also unarmed civilians and ordinary people who had lost their lives just because they refused to cooperate with the communist terrorists. Instead they sacrificed themselves by supporting the government. I am thinking of people like Penghulu Imban of Sekuau and Penghulu Andok of Sarikei, Tua Kampong Bunseng Anak Munan of Kpg. Stunggang, Simin Anak Saji of Kpg. Sebamban and Jihos Anak Ginon, all of them from Lundu; Kulaw Anak Mawang of Kpg. Nibong. Serian, and countless others.

I recall being sent to Sarikei as a reporter to attend the funeral of Penghulu Andok who was cruelly and mercilessly murdered by the communists. That was in the 70s. The same fate befell Penghulu Imban. He was dragged from his longhouse in Ng. Skuau, and shot in front of the longhouse people. It was meant to be a public execution to warn the longhouse people not to support the security forces.

Had the people supported the CTs, Sarawak would have become a communist state by now. But the people refused to be intimidated. Rather the deaths of the Penghulus and Tua Kampong in the hands of the terrorists made the people in longhouses under their control not only very angry, but also inspired them to cooperate with the security forces. Their cooperation resulted in many terrorists killed as well as leading to communist terrorists’ surrender. The victory was celebrated in Simanggang in March 1974 and to mark the occasion, Simanggang was named Sri Aman.

It was due to unarmed people like Penghulu Andok and Penghulu Imban and so many others that we now enjoy peace, security and prosperity. But it seems that the government has forgotten the sacrifices made by these people. What is sadder still is that some of the terrorists and rebels who were once considered as the people’s enemy number one and who had murdered hundreds of civilians and security forces personnel and who had caused untold sufferings to thousands of Sarawakians, are now being upgraded, promoted and even recognised as heroes. Some have been given privileges to become rich, while others are now occupying or have occupied senior posts or highest post in the government.

The Malaysian history appears to be upside down now – terrorists are now considered as heroes, and the heroes are made to become villains. Worst still, their descendents’ NCR lands are being taken away and are given to big companies whose CEOs and personnel of these companies were once the backers and sympathizers of the CT organisation. Now their descendents are not fighting the CTs anymore, but ironically are fighting the state government and oil palm and timber companies that had once spawned communist terrorism.

Sad isn’t it for us who know history and truth? Nevertheless during this Merdeka day celebration, let us spare a thought for these unsung heroes and express our sympathies for those heroes who are still around and for their descendents regarding their current plight. Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those who had departed. This is the least that we can do for them. - The Broken Shield


Thursday, August 27

Longhouse chief charged for defending his people’s NCR land

Belaga: Just how many Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) or village chiefs nowadays dare to defend NCR land of their anembiak (followers) and risk being arrested and losing their RM450.00 monthly allowance from the government?

There are, but not many. Most of them are interested to help the government to take away the people’s NCR land, while others become agents (brokers) in selling their followers’ NCR land to big oil palm companies. This happens in Lundu, and I am sure elsewhere.

But for Longhouse head, TK Nyalang Tahe’ from Long Koyan in Belaga he is prepared to be arrested and charged in court in the defence of his people’s land. He is to appear in the Magistrate’s Court, Belaga on 12 October 2009 under Section 379 of the Penal Code for the alleged crime of theft.

He was charged for stealing an excavator belonging to Samling Plantation on 13 May 2009 which he denied. He was under police bond pending the case to be mentioned at the Belaga Magistrate Court.

TK Nyalang Tahe’ is a village leader who is dedicated and concerned with the welfare of his community. This laudable quality led him to defend their village Native Customary Rights (NCR) of Rumah Panjang Long Koyan (Long Koyan longhouse) in Belaga from encroachment by Samling Plantation for the establishment of an oil palm plantation.

The case arose from a police report that was made by a representative from Long Koyan Longhouse on 13 May 2009 about an encroachment taking place in their customary land by Samling Plantation sometime in the beginning of May.

In the report, longhouse representatives, led by TK Nyalang Tahe’ stopped an excavator, from bulldozing their farm lands and gardens in their NCR land. The report also mentioned that they confiscated the excavator keys to stop the workers from further encroachment.

On 21 July 2009, a warrant of arrest was issued to TK Nyalang and he was summoned by the police to surrender himself at the Sungai Asap Police Station. A large number of his longhouse residents went together with TK Nyalang to the police station that day.

According to Abun Sui Anyit, advisor of the Sarawak Native Customary Land Rights Network (TAHABAS), “This is clearly a dispute of rights to land. The police should have carried out a thorough investigation based on the reports lodged by the two parties in dispute.”

“The police should be neutral in handling the case without biased. But this was not so, as the police hastily framed TK Nyalang as a criminal by instituting charges against him,” Abun said.
TK Nyalang was not aware that the company had made another police report complaining that one of their excavators was stolen and he was the prime suspect and a warrant of arrest issued against him.

TK Nyalang and his residents argued with the police that the excavator was not stolen and it is still under the care of the workers of Samling Plantation. The keys are in their possession as it was passed to them by the plantation workers. They said it is even stated in their police report.

TK Nyalang said that they have made numerous police reports against Samling Plantation, but no action was taken. He and his residents wanted to know why the police are so swift to take action when the company makes a police report and why TK Nyalang is being charge for a criminal offence when it is the company that is committing an offence of trespass.

Realising the crowd’s anger, the police decided not to arrest TK Nyalang but he is required to sign a police bond and ordered to appear at the Belaga Magistrate Court on the 21 August to answer to the charges of stealing the company’s excavator. - The Broken Shield


Saturday, August 22

Another heartless act against the natives?

Some 24 smallholder oil palm farmers from Ulu Suai in Niah, Miri are asking Saremas to immediately repair the road that they had dug up, rendering it unusable for more than a month. The road, they said, leads from the main road directly to their farms and they use this road to transport their harvested oil palm to the nearby mill.

The farmers are from the following longhouses: Rumah Rajang, Rumah Atat, Rumah Umpur and Rumah Tapu. Because of Saremas’s actions in destroying the road, they are now unable to transport their oil palm harvests and sell their fruits. Their lives and primary source of income has now been disrupted.

Syarikat Saremas (PPB Oil Palm Sdn Bhd) is a company that also owns oil palms in the Ulu Suai, Niah area. On 14 July 2009, the company started digging up and cutting off the farm road in question.

The villagers feel that they have suffered many losses. On 14 July, the village headman, Tuai Rumah Tapu, also a farmer, made a police report in Batu Niah against the company. They have also appealed to the company however the company has refused to entertain their appeal. They say that the manager initiated the action on a directive from the top management, which suspects the villagers of stealing from the company’s plantations.

According to Siew Choon Siak of Rumah Rajang, Suai, one of the farmers’ representatives, “Saremas may have been acting all this while together with another oil palm company, Megajutamas to pressure the village people into giving up and selling their land to that said company.”

“But we did not suspect that Saremas was connected with this land case until our gardens were destroyed and our livelihoods lost.

“The villagers themselves tried to fill in and repair the road on 13 August 2009 but on 14 August 2009, the heartless Saremas dug up the road again”, he said.

Village head, Tuai Rumah Rajang, appealed to government representatives and other authorities to help them resolve the issue between the company and the villagers.

According to him, “If the problem is not resolved quickly, the livelihoods and daily income of the longhouse would be affected as this is our only source of income.”

Punai anak Beriak of Rumah Umpur and a committee member of the Rural Women’s Association of Sarawak (WADESA) also expressed her dissatisfaction with the company’s action. She appealed to the company to not be so cruel and destroy the lives of the villagers.

She said, “This is the only money from the smallholding that allowed our families to send our children to school.”

Jelita anak Bum from Rumah Atat said, “This whole month we were not able to harvest our fruit and all our hard work and income was destroyed because they destroyed the road.”

Amy Alus from Rumah Tapu hoped that the government or top representatives would be able to solve this problem quickly. She was concerned that this oppression by the company would result in a repeat of Ulu Niah history. She did not think the longhouse villagers would be problematic but they were now getting desperate.

According to them, a few months before, Megajutamas had also closed the road of the longhouses in the Ulu Suai area.

Siew, who is also a committee member of the Sarawak Native Customary Land Rights Network (TAHABAS), said that the prior land conflict with Megajutamas started in 2005 and has still not been resolved until today. He said that Saremas deliberately instigated a new problem for the villagers and villagers feel that they do not respect their native rights.

Siew also feels that the problem is not being handled sensitively by a government that carries the PM’s slogan ‘1Malaysia, Nation first’. Government representatives are aware that the community does not want the commercial oil palm company to enter into their communal land area because the company does not respect their rights as indigenous peoples (Orang Asal).

“We want our rights to be respected. We are against all suppression of our rights”.The Broken Shield


Wednesday, August 19

Legal tools to grab Dayak land

Paul Raja, a lawyer who has been representing NCR land owners against the state government has revealed that there are a few laws that are used as tools to take away Dayak lands.

“Besides the Land Code, there are the Land Custody and Development Authority Ordinance, Sarawak Land Development Board, The Forests (Planted Forests) Rules, 1997, and the Agropolis Ordinance.

"Among these, the two most notorious tools are the Land Custody and Development Authority or LCDA (jokingly referred to as the acronym for ‘Let’s Chase Dayaks Away’) law and The Forests (Planted Forests) Rules, 1997,” said Raja in a statement to the Dayak Nation blog,

He said:
“The LCDA is used to designate certain areas as ‘development areas’. Most of the time, these areas will affect the native lands. But the native lands are always erroneously and deceptively termed as ‘state land’. These lands are then alienated to certain companies.

“These companies can be LCDA partners or individually owned. In most cases, those lands individually owned are sold to a third party, to make a quick buck. These deals normally earn these individuals millions of Ringgit.

“The normal price rates for these provisional leases range between RM1,000 per acre to RM3,000 per acre. The areas of these provisional leases range from 1,000 acres to 20,000 acres,” Raja said.

He said while these huge transactions were taking place in the cities, the people in the villages were sleeping soundly in the longhouse, until a few months or years later. Then they woke to see bulldozers moving onto their lands.

“This is the common scenario of land grabs in Sarawak. The main victims are the poor Dayaks. This predicament of the Dayaks community is just one aspect of the many problems they are facing.

“Yet the Dayak elected representatives or YBs will not admit these problems, for they expose the YBs as total failures. The YBs become very defensive instead,”
he said and asked: “where will these lead us to”?

For the past 15 years Raja’s legal practice has been defending native communities against Sarawak State government aggression. The State government works hand in glove with the rich and powerful timber companies and now plantation and tree-planting companies. The native communities have always been on the receiving end.

As one who comes from the native community, the defence of natives’ land rights is challenging, and the task an arduous one for him.

“Often, we are considered aliens amongst our peers, at times a nuisance. There are always those who purposely make us feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I pity their narrow-mindedness,” he said.

In the 1980s through the 1990s, defenders of native customary land rights were portrayed by the state-controlled media as “anti-government”, “anti-development” and “anti-social”. These defenders were subjected to all sorts of negative perception, he said.

“When I first ventured to do native land cases in the mid-90s, some of my lawyer friends even warned me that I would be blacklisted by the Special Branch of the Police Department. Those were some of the challenges that we faced,” he said.

It was an onerous task for native plaintiffs to establish their NCR claims. The might of the State government machinery always overawed the courts and the native claimants. To a certain extent, there was always the firm belief that ‘the state can do no wrong’ and ‘the state is immune in any of its conduct, right or wrong’, he said.

Obstacles on the ground

Moving from the courtroom to the ground, even the very people that they were defending were divided, with some supporting our cause and others opposing angrily. In many cases, they spent a lot of time trying to extricate their clients from the intrigues by the opposing members of the community concerned.

“Having fought many cases and having gone through many humiliations in court, we realize that the natives’ land problem is not merely a legal problem. We saw that the root of the problem lies in the law that governs land tenure in Sarawak.

“Since the introduction of the Land Code [Cap.81] in 1958, the land rights of the natives have been continuously eroded. Now the natives are in the worst position they have ever been in. Apart from land, they lose out in almost every aspect of life.

“Whenever the plights of the natives are highlighted, the so-called Dayak leaders, instead of lending support to the plight of the rural poor, are the first to condemn the whistle-blowers,” Raja said, pointing out that the Dayaks were the worst affected where their lands, properties, wealth, identity and dignity had been taken away from them.

“Now with the advent of oil palm plantations, dam construction, forest replanting schemes, almost all the Dayaks lands have been obliterated. This is despite the often-repeated propaganda by BN elected representatives, that the government does not take away peoples’ land,” Raja stressed. – The Broken Shield


Tuesday, August 18

Any support for Tiong from SPDP?

It was reported today in The Borneo Post that more than 800 leaders from MCA divisions, Youth and Wanita wings yesterday expressed support for their troubled president Ong Tee Keat.

At the three-hour, Ong briefed them on the latest political developments regarding allegations that he received RM10 million from Tiong King Sing and used KDSB jet for free. Apparently the members who were fully satisfied with the explanations pledged their full support for the leadership of the party president.

I am wondering, so are many others, why Tiong’s party, SPDP seems to be indifferent towards “problems” faced by their treasurer general? I believe this is the time that the party leaders should express full support for their leader. And this is the time that they must sink and swim with him.

We know that during the last supreme council meeting, Tiong was mad with a number of party supreme council members. And there are also rumours that Tiong is going for the number two of the party.

Or is their silence over the Tiong issue meant that they do not support their treasurer general? Or is the party divided over Tiong’s case?

But then in this time of party’s “crisis” there should be es’prit de corps among the members. The party interest should be above personal interest. This is where MCA has shown the way. All Dayak-based parties should emulate this fine example. – The Broken Shield


Sunday, August 16

Iban farmer arrested for defending his NCR land

Matek Anak Geram, an Iban farmer, a member of TAHABAS (Sarawak Native Customary Rights Network) and Committee Member of Jaringan Orang Asli SeMalaysia (JOAS) was arrested by the police on 13 August 2009 for the crime of allegedly restraining the workers of an oil palm plantation.

Unarmed, he was taken into custody by 10- fully-armed police personnel at 8.45 am and detained for two hours at the Mukah Police Station and charged for allegedly wrongfully restraining the workers of an oil palm plantation company, Saradu Plantations Sdn. Bhd. under section 341 of the Penal Code before being released on bail.

For over a year, Matek and his immediate family have been guarding their property against Saradu Plantations who have been encroaching on their native lands.

In individual shifts, they have blocked an access road built on their land.

JOAS questions the heavy use of force and intimidation against one unarmed man and calls for neutrality of the state infrastructure in this legal dispute between the private company and indigenous peoples.

Saradu Plantation Sdn. Bhd. is a Sarawak oil palm company, which has been given 15,000 hectares of land by the state government to develop oil palm in Balingian.

Saradu is also linked to the Sarawak Chief Minister as his brother-in law, Robert Geneid and sister, Raziah Mahmud are majority shareholders of the company.

JAOS said: “Matek Geram’s case is just one of hundreds of land encroachment and conflict cases between indigenous peoples and oil palm plantation companies in Sarawak.

“In light of this, JOAS reiterates its support for the recent call from TAHABAS and other indigenous peoples organisations for a moratorium on plantation development projects.

“JOAS reiterates its position that the State Government-issued provisional leases are encroaching illegally into our constitutionally-recognised customary lands and forests.

“Until the government moves towards a meaningful solution with the full and effective participation and consent of indigenous peoples, incidences like Matek Geram will continue to take place throughout the state, to the detriment of the rights of indigenous Sarawakians, the sustainable development of the Sarawakian population and the image of the state of Sarawak and Malaysia,”
it said.- The Broken Shield

Thursday, August 13

SPDP is in “trouble”?

SPDP treasurer general and MP for Bintulu, Tiong King Sing who is the Chief Executive Officer of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) has been involved in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

In the latest news, Tiong claimed that he had donated RM10 million to Ong Tee Keat, MCA president and Transport Minister for MCA divisions’ activities. But Ong has denied receiving the money.

He accused Tiong of carrying out smear tactics and character assassination. The disclosure by Tiong, he said, had several motives including allegation away from the alleged irregularities by the Task Force.

Port Klang Authority chairman Lee Hwa Beng has lodged a Police report against Tiong’s company (KDSB) alleging irregularities and disputed claims between RM500 million and RM1 billion over the construction of the turnkey project of PKFZ.

But as a Sarawakian I am more concerned about the future of SPDP. In the event that something goes wrong with Tiong what will happen to SPDP? Will it survive without Tiong?

Currently, SPDP depends heavily on Tiong who is financing the party and its activities and even certain leaders depend on Tiong for their personal activities. Without Tiong, said one SPDP supreme council member, the party will “mati rangkai” (die due to financial dehydration).

Perhaps not to continue depending entirely on Tiong, the party has been looking for another “towkay” to help finance the party.

The case of the launching the Muara Tuang division on 14 July at Hunco restaurant was an example. There was a directive not to get Tiong as patron, but another “towkay”.

Apparently some SPDP leaders were still hurt by Tiong’s remarks during their last supreme council meeting. (Refer to the previous story – Can SPDP survive with the sting of scorpion?)

Meanwhile, there are also rumours among party members that Tiong may opt for the number two post of the party come its Triennial General Meeting (TGM) this November. It is understood that negotiations are gong on now between Peter Nyarok’s men and Tiong’s representatives on the number two post.

But the question is: where all these lead SPDP to? It is interesting to watch. – The Broken Shield


Wednesday, August 12

Leasing NCR land to plantation companies is illegal

The acts of the state government in issuing provisional leases over NCR land to plantation companies are illegal without the prior consent of the land owners, says Michael Jok, who represents several indigenous peoples organisations.

The organisations included Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (TAHABAS), Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (BRIMAS), PACOS Trust Sabah (PACOS), Persatuan Wanita Desa Sarawak (WADESA), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and SPNC and Orang Asli community Reps (Peninsular Malaysia).

In a joint statement issued to commemorate the international day of the Indigenous peoples of the world on 10 August 2009 which was held in Miri, Jok said: “We call on the state government to stop large-scale plantations and other activities on indigenous lands until effective measurers to safeguard their rights and the environment are in place.

“We are deeply concerned that the state government has issued licences for planted forests plantation over as large as 1,397,644 hectares in three areas of Belaga, Kakus and Tutoh.

“This still does not include oil palm plantation. Some of these forest plantation estates are established within the NCR land and water catchment areas of the native communities,”
he said.

Jok said: “We are calling on the government to stop this arbitrarily issuance of provisional lease to any private companies for the purpose of plantation development projects. The companies that have been given the PL have encroached illegally into the NCR land of the native communities.

“The effect of this has resulted in disputes over rights to the land and resources. The acts of the state government in issuing provisional leases over NCR land are illegal without getting the prior consent of the natives.

“We strongly urge moratorium on any plantation development projects and call on the government to immediately bring about meaningful solutions to all these land disputes and land rights,” he said.

On the exploitation of timber, Jok said that over the past decades our indigenous communities have faced turbulent survival as a result of our forests being continuously exploited by timber companies.

“Logging has destroyed our fundamental existence of living, the plant varieties including medicinal plants, animals and fish have either become threatened or extinct.

“The bulldozed forests cannot be planted with crops as soil is compacted and disturbed; crop harvests are reduced and rivers on which the people depend for water became polluted.

“Forests produce become scare which threatens the survival of the people who have depended on it for hundred of years,”
Jok said, adding that in Sarawak, native communities are yet to face the worst in the future.

He said as the sunsets on the timber industry in Sarawak, the state government energetically seeks to diversify and broaden its revenue base via land development for oil palm plantation and large scale trees plantation.

“This land development means taking on time and again the various indigenous communities on their native customary rights (NCR) lands and forests within our respective ancestral territories,” Jok said.

The state government considered all NCR land as “idle land” in need of large scale development to be brought to the native communities in order to alleviate their poverty.

This argument, he said, was used to promote logging in the 1970s and is now used to justify the introduction of oil palm plantations and industrial tree plantation.

“After more than three decades of extensive loggings and deforestation why are that most of our people living in the interior are now worse off than before?” he asked. - The Broken Shield

Sunday, August 9

The PKR pledge on NCR Land

A Sarawak PKR leader has warned the Bidayuhs that the land on which they are standing now may be taken away from them.

“Be careful if anyone takes away your land, you will have no more land on which you stand,” said Baru Bian, a member of PKR political bureau at a dinner last night at a Bidayuh village in Bau.

"Like Lun Bawang which means natives of the country, Bidayuh as he is given to understand means someone standing on the land. But one day, Bidayuhs will have no more land on which they can stand as their land may be taken away. They will stand on the air” said Baru who is a Lun Bawang from Lawas.

He said that land especially the NCR land issue is a very hot issue now as the government is leasing them to giant companies for the planting of oil palm. And as a lawyer, he said he is currently handling more than 100 court cases against the government.

Altogether there are more than 200 cases pending in the High Court, he said.

“So we have to be very careful, as there are companies which want to take away our land. Even the governor’s NCR land is being taken,” he said, adding: “Land is our life. Without land we will die.”

Baru said that PKR had now made its own land policy when it took over the administration of the State government.

“First, we will survey all NCR lands and declare them as NCR land reserves. This is to be done along the line the Malay Land Reserves are being done in the Peninsula. No non-natives can buy or deal with them.

“Secondly, any NCR land owner wants his land to be surveyed and given title, the PKR government will comply with his request. This is being done in the States under the administration of the Pakatan Government,”
Baru said.

He said in Sarawak the State government refused to survey NCR land saying the government had no money.

“That is not the reason. The reason is that government fears that once NCR lands are being surveyed, the whole of Sarawak will be under the NCR land,” Baru said.

He called on Bidayuhs to work together with PKR to see a new dawn is coming to Sarawak.

The dinner which was attended by 2,000 Bidayuhs from the three parliamentary constituencies of Mas Gading, Mambong and Serian was organised to welcome the visit of Anwar Ibrahim to Bau.

Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem, the former president of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak was also invited to the dinner where he met Anwar who called him “Chief” and Chua Jui Meng who described Tajem as the “greatest”. - The Broken Shield


Wednesday, August 5

Salang tells State leaders: Don’t divert federal allocation on infrastructure

MP Julau-cum-Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Joseph Salang has made it very clear to the State powers that be not to take away federal allocation for infrastructure development in Sarawak’s rural areas.

“The money must be rightly spent on such areas only. The implementing state agencies should follow the federal directives. There are reasons why the fund is specifically allocated to certain areas.

“The money should not be diverted else where,”
he said when referring to RM4 billion federal allocation to upgrade infrastructure in the rural and interior regions of Sarawak and Sabah.

Salang’s warning is timely. Otherwise most of these monies will go to only SCORE areas, Mukah and Betong, thus other areas will be deprived of infrastructure development. It had happened in the past when allocation for the Simunjan/Punda Road was diverted to Kota Samarahan; allocation for a Pantu Secondary school was diverted to Betong. Many more had happened that you and I did not know.

Despite we are the richest State in the country with timber, oil and gas and land resources in plentiful, we are among the poorest in Malaysia. Why?

We know why Salang is so concerned about the federal fund being taken away, because at the moment the State government has no money. And we and Dayak leaders like Alfred Jabu, James Masing, and William Mawan should support Salang for daring to voice his concern rather than involved in the “sirat” issue.

A contractor friend of mine in Sarikei complained that the government owes him RM1 million, saying that the government has no money to pay him. Complaints of other contractors receiving no payment are also common.

Hotels will not receive service orders as a form of payment when civil servants go on travelling. Either cash or don’t stay in the hotels. That is the order from hotel managements.

According to my friend, the contractor, many will go bankrupt if the government does not pay for the completed projects: the contractor will go bankrupt, many of his workers who have houses and cars to pay will also go bankrupt and the hardware shoppers will also suffer.

So the question is: Why are we in this state of financial uncertainty and bankrupt? And where have the monies gone to? - The Broken Shield


Sunday, August 2

Lim says: Dayak leaders look down on their own people

DAP secretary general and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has accused some Dayak leaders who opposed his idea of Dayak Endowment Board (DEB) are the ones who degrade the Dayaks because they do not want to help their own community.

“I am baffled as to why Dayak leaders are up in arms over my proposal for a Dayak Endowment Board which seeks to help the poor Dayaks in the State,” he said.

The proposal was not because he looked down on the Dayaks as what some leaders thought, but made out genuine interest to help those who have been struggling against poverty.

“I am just saying that we want to help those who have been marginalized. So I do not see what is wrong with that. Are we going to allow them to continue to be marginalized?” he asked when replying to adverse comments from Dayak leaders.

Lim said that with the setting up of the board, the government would not only be helping in terms of money, but also opportunities and he did not see what wrong with that.

The board would be run the way the Penang government carried out it “Partners against Poverty” programme in the State.

Dayak leaders are against Lim’s suggestion are PBB deputy president Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang, SPDP president William Mawan, PRS president James Masing, Balai Ringin state assemblyman Snowdan Lawan and State assemblyman for Bukit Begunan Mong Dagang.

If they do not agree with Lim’s suggestion, do they have ideas of their own to help their own people? Are we going to see the Dayaks suffering for another 46 years? – The Broken Shield


Saturday, August 1

TYT’s NCR land is not spared

It is not only the Dayaks’ NCR lands that have been leased to companies, but native customary right land belonging to our present beloved Governor (TYT) has also been leased to a company for prawn farming, said Baru Bian (pic below), a prominent NCR land lawyer.

“It is not only the Dayaks NCR lands are affected; in fact all the natives of Sarawak NCR lands are affected.

“I wish to state that even a NCR land belonging to our present beloved Governor was affected by the issuance of a Provisional Lease to a company for prawn farming, as revealed in one of the cases I handled, a decision, which is still pending in the High Court at Kuching, Sarawak,”
he said in a statement.

“Such is the unbridled power of the present State BN Government of which these Dayak leaders are proudly part of. If the top civil servant’s NCR land can be affected, none of the ordinary Sarawakians NCR lands is protected and safe from such an abuse of power today.

“How I hope that these Dayak leaders spent more of their political energies addressing pertinent issue like the deprivation and encroachment of NCR over land rather than a political rhetoric,” he said when commenting on remarks made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

Hadi was reported to have said that the voters of Batang Ai did not know how to vote as they were still wearing loin clothes.

Bian who is a PKR leader in Sarawak said: “Some Dayak leaders who appear to have been angered and offended by such disparaging remarks should equally, if not be more moved with fervour and zeal in defending a more fundamental issue or rights affecting our Dayak community today, that is, the deprivation and encroachment of Dayak NCR lands and forests all over Sarawak by various companies.”

“This is more pertinent and crucial issue as the deprivation and encroachment of NCR lands threatens the very life and our existence as Dayaks and other natives of Sarawak, as land and the forests are the very source of their livelihood.

“To this day, none of the present Dayak leaders in the State BN Government dares to speak out on this very issue. Instead they have been found to echo the voices of their political master, Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud that the State Government does not grab or take any NCR lands belonging to the natives of Sarawak.

“I respectfully ask these so-called Dayak leaders to go to the ground and see for themselves how hectares and hectares of NCR lands had been given out to big investors and companies for oil palm plantations, tree plantations, timber licences, quarry licences and replanting licences from Lundu to Lawas,” he said.- The Broken Shield