Friday, October 30

Is Iban a Bumiputra or not?

The Borneo Post today (29 Oct 09) carried a very interesting story of an Iban girl who failed to secure a place in the university as she was considered a non-Bumiputra. Let me produce some relevant parts of the story here:

KUCHING: Getting her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) result was the best – and the worst thing that could happen to Marina Undau.

The 18 year old science stream student of SMK Simanggang scored 9As and 1B in the SPM examination last year.

She thought she was on her way to university, especially being a Bumiputra and all, but that was not to be.

Born to an Iban father and a Chinese mother, Marina’s life was turned upside down when her application to undergo a university matriculation programme was rejected by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry determined that she is not a ‘Bumiputra’.

He dreams were crushed and in the process she lost part of her identity and the drive that that made her a top scorer. With no chance of entering university for now, Marina has started Form 6 in her old school.

Asked what she thought of everything that was happening, she replied: “What worries me is that will this happen again when I pass my STPM next year?” And what confuses Marina more is how her elder sister could further her studies in Universiti Sains Malaysia in Pulau Pinang where she is now in her second year without ever having her identity questioned.

When Marina’s application was rejected, Undau (the father) contacted the Education Ministry’s Matriculation Department in Putrajaya on June 23 and was told that her daughter was not a ‘Bumiputra’.

Dissatisfied, the father, a government servant, wrote to the ministry on July 1 and the reply he got shocked him, and it bound to challenge the identity of many Sarawakians who are born of mixed parentage.

The ministry said in a reply on July 14 that Undau’s appeal was turned down because “the candidate is categorized as non-Bumiputra (father is Iban and mother Chinese)” based on a definition used by the Student Intake Management Division, Higher Learning Department and Higher Education Ministry.

Their definition is as follows:
# Semenanjung - If either parent of a candidate is Malay who is a Muslim/Orang Asli as defined in Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputra.

# Sabah – If the father of the candidate is a Malay/native of Sabah as defined by Article 161a(6)(a) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputra.

# Sarawak – If the father and mother is a native of Sarawak as defined under Article 161A (6)(b) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputra.

Article 161a of the Federal Constitution

In this Article ‘native’ means –
• (a) in relation to Sarawak, a person who is a citizen and either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the State or is a mixed blood deriving exclusively from those races;

• (b) in relation to Sabah, a person who is a citizen, is the child or grandchild of a person of a race indigenous to Sabah, and was born (whether on or after Malaysia Day or not) either in Sabah or to a father domiciled in Sabah at the time of the birth.

(7) The races to be treated for the purposes of the definition of ‘native’ in clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kelabit, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs dan Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanaus, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.

A spokesperson for the National Registration Department here said that in Sarawak, if a person is born to an Iban and his mother is Chinese, he is considered as an Iban according to the race of his father.

If the Higher Ministry of Education really applies the ruling as it does to Marina, then many of those having native fathers with Chinese as their mothers in Sarawak will suffer. For Marina, her status as a Bumiputra is being questioned and it is made worse by the amendment to the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance in 2004 when the State Government banned the use of the word “Dayak” in official communication. Thus “Sea Dayak” has been changed to “Iban”, “Land Dayak” has become “Bidayuh” and “Murut” to “Lun Bawang”.

The words “Iban, Bidayuhs and Lun Bawang” are not listed in Article 161a (7) and thus they are considered as non-natives under the Federal Constitution. The legal effects of these are many and Marina when she puts her race as Iban, she is not considered as native or Bumiputra, and should not be accorded any privileges given to natives.

Even now, there are efforts to say that Ibans do not have any native customary rights over land as they are not natives according to the law due to the amendment to the Interpretation Ordinance. When the bill was passed, our Dayak elected representatives including Alfred Jabu, William Mawan, Michael Manyin and James Masing were too eager in supporting the amendment in 2004. They did not realise the legal implications.

From now on, it is advisable for Iban when filling a form asking for race, to write down “Iban (Sea Dayak)” to ensure that they are not going to be disqualified. I believe Marina could have been a victim of the doing of our elected representatives.

Since the story has been highlighted by The Borneo Post, our leaders like Jabu, Masing and Mawan should do something to help her and many others by urging the authorities to relax the conditions of entry to matriculation, etc. These students really need their help since they (ministers and our elected representatives) are walking along the corridors of power and rub shoulders with the powers that be. If they can do this, then they really help Prime Minister Najib Razak in his campaign of 1Malaysia. Otherwise the 1Malaysia is a mere lip service.

These are the issues that our Ministers – Jabu, Mawan, Masing and Manyin – should be very vocal and firm in fighting for the rights, the future and livelihood of the Dayaks rather than shouting at the top their voices on petty issues such as “cawat” “sirat” (loin clothes) or Miss Dayak Borneo pageant contest.

Don’t you think so? – The Broken Shield


Tuesday, October 27

The Malaysian Agreement

KUCHING - A PKR vice president Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan has assured that the rights of Sabah and Sarawak that are the bases for the two States to join the Federation of Malaysia 46 years ago will be restored if Pakatan Rakyat is to form the next Federal Government.

“These rights are contained in the Malaysian Agreement. For Sabah there are 20 points, and Sarawak 18 points,” he said when delivering a keynote address at a forum held a hotel in Kuching on Sunday night.

The forum entitled ‘Promises of Malaysia for Sarawak and Sabah – The Way Forward’ was organised by PKR Batu Kawah branch to enlighten the people regarding the formation of Malaysia.

State assemblyman for Padungan and a PKR leader Dominique Ng and former MP for Sri Aman Jimmy Donald also spoke at the function which was attended by some 100 people.

“We have in Sabah the Tambunan Declaration – a new deal that has been accepted as the national policy of PKR. This declaration is not only to remind our national leaders of the promises made to Sabah and Sarawak, but also a promise that will restore our rights,” Kitingan said, adding that apart from the points as mentioned in the Agreement, there were also undertakings and assurances pledged to the Borneo States.

Many national leaders as well as Sabahans and Sarawakians do not know about the 20 or 18 points that were spelt out in the Malaysian Agreement.

“It is our duty to remind and to educate the federal leaders on the Malaysian Agreement,” he said and pointed out that it was not entirely their faults that the rights of the two States had been taken, overlooked and neglected. Sabah and Sarawak leaders should equally be blamed as they did not seek the implementation of those rights.

“What did we do? We go along with them. We forget about our rights and franchise due to greed for power. Compared to Sarawak, Sabah is worse due to the entry of UMNO which introduced money politics and politics of fear,” he said, claiming that Sabah which was once the richest in the country is now the poorest State as well as infested with problems of illegal immigrants.

Kitingan said that when Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman promised that Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya would be regarded as equal partners.

“But today the two states are just being treated like a state of Perlis which is no bigger than Miri,” he said, calling on the people of the two states to “work and to move together” through PKR.

“PKR is a national party that has accepted our rights. One day we hope that our rights that have been eroded are to be restored,” he said.

Kitingan who is one of those who have been actively advocating for the restoration of rights and justice for Sabah had been arrested under ISA.

“I do not do this (fight for justice) for myself, but for our people. I consider it our duty,” he stressed.

At the end of the forum, six main resolutions including recognizing the partnership status of the former federation of Malaya and the former British colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak as the cornerstone of viable, strong and enduring nation building agenda and setting up a Royal Commission of the Federation renewal were adopted.

The 20-point Malaysian Agreement For Sabah

Point 1: Religion
While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply in North Borneo.

Point 2: Language
(a) Malay should be the national language of the Federation.
(b) English should continue to be used for a period of ten years after Malaysia Day.
(c) English should be the official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal without limitation of time.

Point 3: Constitution
Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of free association of States and should not be a series of amendments to a constitution drafted and agreed by different States in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for North Borneo was, of course, essential.

Point 4: Head of the Federation
The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation.

Point 5: Name of the Federation
“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”

Point 6: Immigration
Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Federation Government but entry into North Borneo should also require approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into North Borneo for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. North Borneo should have unfettered control over the movement of reasons, other than those in Federal Government employ, from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo.

Point 7: Right of Secession
There should be no right to secede from the Federation.

Point 8: Borneanisation
Borneanisation of the public services should proceed as quickly as possible.

Point 9: British Officers
Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public services until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo.

Point 10: Citizenship
The recommendations in paragraph 148 (K) of the Report of the Cobbold commission should govern the citizenship rights of persons in the Federation of North Borneo subject to the following amendments.

(a) Subparagraph (1) should not contain the provision as to fie years residence.

(b) In order to tie up with our law, subparagraph (1a) should read ‘seven out of ten years’ instead of ‘eight out of twelve years’.

(c) Subparagraph (III) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be a Federal citizen.

Point 11: Tariff and Finance
North Borneo should have control of its own finance, development funds and tariffs.

Point 12: Special Position of Indigenous Races
In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malaya formula is this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo.

Point 13: State Government
(a) The Chief Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council.
(b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo.

Point 14: Transitional Period
This should be seven years and during such period legislative powers must be left with the State of North Borneo by the Constitution and not merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government.

Point 15: Education
The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under State control.

Point 16: Constitutional Safeguards
No amendment, modification or withdrawal of any special safeguards granted to North Borneo should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo. The power of amending the Constitution of the State of North Borneo should belong exclusively to the people of the State.

Point 17: Representation in the Federal Parliament
This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its size and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore.

Point 18: Name of Head of State
Yang Dipertua Negara

Point 19: Name of State

Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc
The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the power of the National Land Council should not apply in North Borneo. Likewise, the National Council for the Local Government should not apply in North Borneo.

(Note: The Broken Shield will later on publish Sarawak’s 18 points in the Malaysian Agreement) - The Broken Shield


Saturday, October 24

Parti Rakyat Borneo (PRB), anyone?

Someone from Sabah inquired from me today whether it is possible for Kadazans and Dayaks to form a regional party, say Parti Rakyat Borneo. Or is there any other suitable name?

“The party will be based in Sarawak and to be headed by a Dayak Christian with a fair representation from both sides,” he said, and added that it should preferably be a multi-racial party.

He said: “We must try the never tried before one party and I want to shatter all mentality blocks among us in East Malaysia.

“I admit it is not easy to accomplish it, but let us give ourselves a chance to ponder on our broken brotherhood,”
he said.

The idea was not the first. Daniel Tajem made a suggestion in 2000 soon after he returned from New Zealand where he spent five years as Malaysian High Commissioner. But his suggestion was shot down by Leo Moggie, then the president of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and James Masing. At the time, Moggie and Masing were like inseparable twins.

Tajem also made a suggestion that if a regional party between Sabah and Sarawak could not be formed, then they should seriously consider merging PBDS with SNAP in order to strengthen Dayak unity.

That idea was also shot down by the two men, claimed Tajem and pointed out that they disliked the idea as they were living in “comfortable zones” at the time, (and still are today).

In view of the recent calls for justice and equality for the people of Sabah and Sarawak as promised in the 20/18 points in the Malaysian Agreement it is good that we explore this suggestion further. Without Sabah, Sarawak cannot fight for justice and equal partnership alone. Likewise, without Sarawak, Sabah cannot do it alone.

Now, what is our response to the Sabahan suggestion? – The Broken Shield


Thursday, October 22

Adit and his clowns

KUCHING - Ngemah State Assemblyman Gabriel Adit, who has declared he is “no more supporting PKR” on Tuesday morning, met a handful of his supporters at a restaurant to discuss the possible line-up of protem committee of his proposed party.

But an inside source said that Adit is yet to come with the line-up.

“Every thing is hush-hush. Even the name of the party is yet to be known,” said the source, admitting that he himself was still in the dark.

“We are only told that we have some big guns behind the proposal to form the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adit was seen sitting together with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur a few days ago, prompting speculation that Adit has the blessing of UMNO and Najib to form the party.

If Najib is indeed supporting Adit’s move, then the next State election is going to be very interesting, confusing and complicating for the State Barisan Nasional, said Granda Aing, a PKR leader.

He asked: “In the next State election, where does Adit’s party come in especially if he is pro-BN? Will Parti Rakyat Sarawak or Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party allow him to contest in Dayak-majority constituencies?

“Certainly no. Maybe his party can contest in Dayak seats controlled by SUPP,”
he said.

Granda saw the end of Adit’s political career, adding that Adit’s immediate concern is to settle some of his personal problems that have bogged him down all this while.

Wishing him good luck, Granda said: “We are happy that he has left us. It is a blessing for us, otherwise he would be a burden to PKR,” said Granda.

Commenting on Adit’s move, a DAP leader and state Assemblyman for Batu Lintang, Voon Lee Shan, said that it is his democratic right to form a party, even though voters have expected a two-party system.

“Another party will make it more difficult to topple the State Government,” he said and added: “It seems that Opposition politicians nowadays are more interested to become party presidents which in turn give them the chief minister’s post if the opposition forms the next government.

“It seems that the chief minister’s post takes precedence over the wishes of the voters,”
he lamented.

A PRS supreme council member, Joseph Allen said that if it is true that the Prime Minister is supporting Adit’s move to form a political party, then it seems that the Federal government wants to split the Dayaks further and enhance the interests of certain group.

“I hope the Dayaks will know which party to support,” he said, and expressed the hope that Adit’s party will have no impact on the Dayak community, because they know who Adit really is.

“He is being used as a clown in the political arena holding a picture of himself with the Prime Minister, hoping to get the attention of the spectators,” said Allen.

(This story first appeared in the Malaysian Mirror and has been updated for readers of The Broken Shield) – The Broken Shield


Tuesday, October 20

Why condemn petty issues?

The competition was renamed to Miss Borneo Beautiful (instead of Miss Dayak Sarawak) after drawing much protests from Dayak leaders. Pic credit: The Borneo Post Online

The Borneo Post dated 16 October 2009 (pg. 22) quoted Peter Minos, the Kumang organiser, as saying that the organisers of the renamed Miss Borneo Beautiful Pageant should still meet and seek advice from Dayak leaders even though they have dropped the word “Dayak” from the pageant.

Prior to the name change, Minos had said the organisers should have gotten approval from Alfred Jabu to use the word ‘Dayak’ in the name of the pageant.

According to Minos, Jabu is the authority on Dayak matters due to his position as Dayak Cultural Foundation chairman and chief advisor of state and national level Gawai Dayak celebrations.

“Even people in Kuala Lumpur get advice from Jabu on Dayak matters. We already have Kumang Dayak pageants for most beautiful Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu ladies. So why duplicate?” he said.

Almost all Dayak leaders including Dayak politicians quickly came out and condemned the organisers of the proposed Miss Dayak Borneo beauty pageant for being insensitive to the feelings of the Dayak people.

Some months back, these Dayak leaders and politicians made a big row over the use of the word ‘chawat’ or loincloth used by Abdul Hadi, PAS president to describe the mentality of those who voted for Barisan Nasional in the Lubok Antu by-election.

It appears that these leaders treat these petty issues very seriously as if “life and death” are involved. What “maruah” (dignity) is there left when the livelihood of the Dayaks is threatened, when they live in poverty and misery after their most valuable possessions are being taken away, when many have become beggars.

Hundreds and thousands of hectares of NCR land are taken away by force through the process of legal means. These lands are sold to big towkays, leaving the NCR land owners with nothing. Not only the land owners will suffer, but their generations to come will also become landless and will continue to bear the burden of poverty and other social ills. Their future is grim. It will not be a surprise if one day, the Dayaks will become ‘kampar’ or foreigners in their own land and ‘temuai’ or visitors in their own house.

These are the issues our political leaders should fight for and should defend; these are the issues that they should condemn the powers that be as they (powers that be) are slowly strangling the life out of our people rather than criticising other people on issues of ‘chawat’ and Miss Dayak Borneo beauty pageant. - The Broken Shield


Thursday, October 15

Now Bidayuhs’ lands are also submerged

The Upper Bengoh friends took a group photograph after filing their suit.

KUCHING - Six Dayak Bidayuhs of Kampung Bojong and Kampung Rejoi, Upper Bengoh on 12 October filed a legal action against Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd, Kuching Division Superintendent of Lands and Surveys, the State Government of Sarawak and the Government of Malaysia to stop them from continuing the construction of Bengoh Dam as it affects their NCR land.

“We want a prohibitory injunction restraining the first defendant (Naim Cendera) and or its employees, servants and or agents from trespassing, clearing, using or occupying their NCR land.

“We want a mandatory injunction against the first defendant and or its employees, servants and or its agents to cease operations and remove all structures and their equipments or machineries from their said NCR land forthwith,”
they said.

The six, Simo Anak Sekam, Tasek Anak Ayau, Eddie Anak Aheng, Bodui Anak Dayu, Bungai Anak Bengem and Sirus Anak Jon filed the suit at the Kuching High Court Registry this morning on behalf of themselves and 25 other families, proprietors, occupiers, holders and claimants of native customary rights land situated at Kampung Bojong and Kampoung Rejoi, upper Bengoh.

The villagers were accompanied by Lawyer See Chee How of the Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors.

In their writ, they want the Court to declare that this native title and or rights preclude the third defendant (State Government) and fourth defendant (the Malaysian Government) from impairing or abridging the plaintiffs’ said rights and or constructing and completing the proposed Bengoh Dam, which affects their said native and or rights.

They want also the Court to declare that the acts of the first and the fourth defendants with the ostensible consent permission and authorization of the third defendant to construct and complete the proposed dam, in so far as they impair the plaintiffs’ native customary rights over the said NCR land, is wrong, illegal, unlawful, bad and or void.

The villagers also want a declaration order from the Court that the contract between the fourth defendant and the first defendant to design and construct and the construction of the proposed dam in as far as the extent of that area under the said proposed dam overlaps and or covers the plaintiffs’ NCR land is unlawful, improper, unconstitutional and therefore null and void, for want of extinguishment of plaintiffs’ native customary rights over the said NCR land.

Alternatively, they want a declaration that the contract between the fourth defendant and first defendant to design and construct and the construction of the propped dam is subject to the to the native title and native customary rights and or usufructuary rights of the plaintiffs in or over the said NCR land and that the contract and the construction of the proposed dam do not affect the plaintiffs’ said title and or therein.

The villagers claim that the construction of the dam impairs the plaintiffs’ rights to property in a manner which is discriminatory and unfair and based on criteria which are not made applicable to the right to property acquired and held by non-natives. In the premise, the construction of the dam by virtue of any legislation or any process exercised pursuant to it in so far as it affects the plaintiffs’ rights is unconstitutional and invalid as being violative of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (equality before the law.)

Further and in the alternative, they said the contract between the fourth defendant and the first defendant to design and construct and the construction of the dam was unconstitutional as it was issued on violation of Article 13 of the Federal Constitution (no confiscation of property without adequate compensation.)

The villagers claim damages, exemplary damages; alternately aggravated damages, interest, costs and such further or other relief the Court deems fit and just.

The villagers use historical information and documents to back their claims.

The proposed Bengoh Dam which costs RM310 million is expected to submerge an area of about 1,600 hectares affecting four villages – Kampung Tebak Sait, Kampung Bojong Pain, Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Semban, involving some 394 families.

Once completed, the dam is able to store about 144.1 million cubic metres of water which will be supplied to Batu Kitang treatment plant. The plant’s current capacity of 786 will be increased to 2047 mega litre per day (MLD) for use by consumers of Kuching City and Kota Samarahan.

These families will be resettled at an area of 3,000 hectares near Kampung Semadang not far from Bau. According to Lawyer See Chee How, the area has now been leased to a company known as Salcrajaya Sdn Bhd, a two RM2 company with Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu listed as one of the directors.

The other director is Salcra general manager, Vasco Sibat Singkang. – The Broken Shield


(The story has appeared in The Malaysian Mirror news portal. It has been updated for The Broken Shield)

Tuesday, October 13

Another Malay party?

KUCHING - A group of people led by Affendi Jeman who have been trying to promote the formation of Sarawak UMNO have now submitted an application to form a political party to be known as Anggota Rakyat Bumiputra Sarawak (ARABS), it is reliably learnt.

One of the protem committee members, who refused to be named, said that ARABS was submitted in May this year.

“The party is to be known as Anggota Rakyat Bumiputra Sarawak or ARABS in short. We hope that the party can be registered as soon as possible in view of the coming election and urge the authorities to look into its registration,” he said.

This group has been trying to bring UNMO into Sarawak for years, and UMNO leaders in Kuala Lumpur knew about their plan. But their efforts have been strongly opposed by Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) leaders on ground that PBB being the backbone of the state government is strong and doing well in administering the State.

The idea of UMNO extending its wings to Sarawak has been off and on since the then Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Yakub made the suggestion in the 1970s. In 1980s the former Defence Minister Abang Abu Bakar tried to revive the idea; his efforts too failed.

Then came this group led by Jeman. But now it appears that the group has abandoned the idea. Instead they are trying to form ARABS which will be a Malay-based party.

Meanwhile, Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, chief of Sarawak PKR said that he had heard about Gabriel Adit, a PKR leader and State Assemblyman for Ngemah forming a new party.

“We cannot stop him leaving Keadilan and forming a party of his own. If it is true, then what can we do?

“So far I have not received any letter of resignation from Adit,”
he said, adding that Adit’s move would not affect PKR in the state.

PKR, he said, is still intact and it is growing from strength to strength as more and more Sarawakians are joining the party. Early this month, he said some 2,400 applications have been received from people in and around Debak in the Betong Division to join PKR.

Mustaffa also said that he had discussed with Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of Keadilan, on the possibility of him relinquishing his post as chief PKR in Sarawak.

“It is up to Anwar and PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to appoint someone who they think can lead the party in Sarawak. I know that they have found somebody. It is a matter of time when they will announce the name of the person,” he said.

Mustaffa who was appointed last May to head the party in the State said that he had completed his task of team-building and had organised various programmes to strengthen the party.

“It is high time that a Sarawakian be appointed, someone who is ready to serve the party,” he added.

In the meantime, Adit is reported to be leaving for Kuala Lumpur today (Sun, 11 Oct) to see some of those who are involved in the formation of the new party.

He is expected to be back on Thursday, 15 October to announce the name of the party, its objects and aims and the names of the protem office-bearers. – The Broken Shield


Sunday, October 11

Land owners sue Pelita and Sarawak Government

Sibu – Nearly 200 NCR land owners in Kanowit have now filed a legal action in the Sibu High Court Registry against Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, the Sibu Superintendent of Lands and Surveys and the State Government of Sarawak for allegedly failing to protect their interests in the said NCR lands against investors at Sg. Kelimut, Kanowit District.

The Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, being a government agency, became their trustee when their NCR lands were developed into an oil palm plantation in 1996. It was to safeguard and protect their interests from being cheated.

During the launching of the plantation by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud in August 1996, it was hailed as a “model” joint-venture between an investor and NCR land owners.

But 13 years later, the land owners who failed to benefit from the joint venture have now sued the government.

Kadam Anak Embuyang, Genta Anak Saka, Bartholomew Aji Lanyau, Rimong Anak Jantan and Laja @ Meris Anak Augustine Igoh have filed the writ of summons on 14 September through Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors on behalf of themselves and 163 other NCR land owners whose lands were situated at Sg. Kelimut, Kanowit District also known as Block D1 in Kanowit District.

In the writ, they want the Court to declare that the defendants either jointly or severally were negligent in not ensuring that the investors profitably develop their NCR land as guaranteed to the land owners.

Alternatively, they want also a declaration that they were defrauded by misrepresentation that the said venture in developing their land would bring profits to them.

They want the Court also to declare a mandatory injunction against Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, its employees or servants or agents to cease operations and remove all structure and their equipments or machineries from the said NCR lands.

The plaintiffs want the Court to award them exemplary and aggravated damages.

In their statement of claim, the landowners said they were at all material times have created, acquired and inherited the native customary rights over the land and said that Pelita Holdings was assigned as trustee for their interests, rights, shares and estate through the development of their NCR lands into oil palm plantation.

They said that they were to receive profits or benefits after four years of planting oil palm on their NCR lands and the Pelita Holdings and State government were in breach of their trust as the development of the NCR land was a total failure with no foreseeable opportunity of making money or bring benefits or profits.

They said they were informed by the investors at a meeting in Kanowit that the joint venture on the NCR land with Pelita Holdings “has never achieved any profits so far” but was losing more than RM100 million.

As a result, the landowners suffered losses and damages as a consequence of the defendants’ negligence and or breach of trust.- The Broken Shield


Friday, October 9

Is Adit serious in forming a new party?

Gabriel Adit (pic above), State assemblyman for Ngemah and a leader of Sarawak PKR has been rumoured to be the leader of the rumoured formation of the new party, Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia, a supposedly a multi-racial party.

Many do not take him seriously judging by the conflicting statements he made to the Press in Sibu on Wednesday night during which he was to announce the protem office-bearers. Apparently he could not announce the names of the protem office-bearers when the response to the gathering was only a small group of 40 people. Here again, the majority of those present were his supporters from Ngemah.

He would have expected hundreds of people to come after he made telephone calls to many of his colleagues in PKR as well as to those ex-PBDS members who have remained partyless for the past five years or so. But these people either took him lightly or did not want to join him.

In his statement to The Borneo Post, he said the gathering in Sibu had nothing to do with the formation of PRM; it was to form a committee in preparation for the next state election.

To a question about his future in Keadilan, he said: “Today (Wednesday) I am still a PKR man. I don’t know about tomorrow. You will have to ask me again tomorrow.”

In The Eastern Times, Adit said: “When it is time, I will make the announcement. I will alert the Press.”

Some of those who are close to Adit say that he is leaving for Kuala Lumpur on 11 October presumably to hand over the application to form PRM to the Registrar of Societies and he should be back on 15 October and if every thing goes well to announce the formation of the new party.

He has even told a friend to ready a banner with the words “Welcome Adit, the PRM leader to Sarawak”.

Adit was said to have told a few close friends that the constitution and the logo of the party have been ready for some time. He said he has a “big” sponsor for the party, someone who is close to the corridors of power in Kuala Lumpur.

“Definitely, he is not Sng Chee Hua,” he said.

“This time it is not Sng Chee Hua. You believe me,” he assured his friends.

Many of his friends have been taken by surprise when Adit’s name was mentioned to be the leader of the new party. Because all this while, we have heard him bringing a “few thousands of my supporters” to join PKR and that he spoke among the loudest of all the PKR leaders in Sarawak. “Help PKR to get rid of Taib,” he often said. He is known to be an ardent member of PKR.

I am reminded of what my brother told me that we must be wary of those politicians who speak the loudest, the longest and the most critical, because they will be the ones who will become the first to become “political frogs”. My brother was referring to Johnichal Rayong, the SNAP state assemblyman for Engkilili when he was about to “jump frog” to SPDP in 2006.

I told my brother “cannot be, as he was the one who spoke the loudest, the longest and the most critical against Alfred Jabu at Kaki Wong in Betong before the State election.” So he replied: “We must be wary of those who speak the loudest, the longest and the most critical.” It seems that my brother has been proved right once again. (Sorry to digress a bit.)

But one may ask why is Adit making a 360-degree turn? I was told he met Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat recently. He was reported to have told Anwar that if Pakatan Rakyat were to topple the state government, then they have to need a large sum of money for each constituency.

“What large money, rupiah?” Anwar jokingly asked him. Anwar’s reply and how Anwar treated him all this while made him angry and said to a friend: “Ila asai, tetudok iya ila.”

Anwar does not see any leadership quality in Adit especially after an incident at the Crown Tower when he was drunk and came to the stage to utter very unpleasant words regarding remarks about 'drinking ribena'. PKR President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was there. Daniel Tajem was the guest of honour. – The Broken Shield


Wednesday, October 7

Adit forms new Party

State assemblyman for Ngemah Gabriel Adit is forming a new party known as Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia, according to reliable sources.

A group which is in Sibu is going to announce the formation of the party and its protem office bearers today.

Adit has been contacting a number of ex-PBDS members to join the group, but many have declined as they are unsure who are behind the formation of the new party.

Rumours have been rife that Sng Chee Hua is behind the new party which is preparing, they said, for his son, Larry Sng, state assemblyman for Pelagus, to join it later.

An assistant minister in the Chief Minister Office, Larry has been partyless after he was sacked from Parti Rakyat Sarawak.

Speculation is also rife that Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party treasurer and the MP for Bintulu, Tiong King Sing is also behind it. No reason is given why Tiong is involved.

There are rumours that some PBB leaders are behind the formation of the party in order to stop Dayaks from joining PKR.

The former president of the defunct PBDS Daniel Tajem has denied any involvement in the PRM formation and has advised his former colleagues to be wary.

“Things are too fluid now,” he said.

The new party is expected to be launched on 15 October. - The Broken Shield


Monday, October 5

Should Dayak Ibans continue to build longhouses?

Sidi Munan, President of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), in his weekly column, UNCLE DI, in the Sunday Borneo Post, posed this question.

“If we are really concerned with the regular occurrences of fires, let us brainstorm these questions: Should or should not the Dayak Ibans continue to build longhouses? Will it not be more sensible or practical of them to opt for single houses?

He listed the following points in favour of single houses:

1. Reduce the risk of mass destruction by fire,
2. Easier to keep clean,
3. Freedom of choice for the individual in terms of size of room,
4. Freedom of choice of colour of the walls or the roof,
5. Sufficient space for landscape suited to individual taste, and
6. Animal rearing and protection- fencing.

The following points in favour of building new longhouses:

1. Cultural heritage,
2. Ample space for observation of customs and traditional practices,
3. Security of inhabitants under one roof, and
4. Close rapport among inhabitants.

Sidi suggested that Government should conduct a series of seminars during which frank views are allowed in respect of the merits and demerits of the above questions.

“Invite representative of the victims of recent fires as participants, community leaders, representatives from the Ministry of Housing and the Bomba to these talks. Local architects and insurance agents may be interested to observe the proceedings.

“During the seminars causes of fires in each particular case – human carelessness, defective wiring, etc may be disclosed. Their effects are not hard to imagine.

“We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting that the existing longhouse should be pulled down. We are talking about a ban on constructing NEW buildings,” he said and added: “These are some of my views. Your views could well be much better than mine”. – The Broken Shield