Saturday, February 26

The High Court decision has wide implications

By Joseph Tawie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 23

SNAP donates to fire victims

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 21

Bashed for defending his own land

This is a tragic story of a farmer Minggat anak Nyakin and his son Juan trying to defend his NCR land were bashed of by intruders and loggers. Minggat’s case is only a tip of the iceberg; some suffer by being arrested by the authorities.

Yet others who are so scared suffer in silence. But there are those who dare to stand up for their rights, especially those of Rumah Ranggong, Ulu Niah. Instead of being scared, they dare to challenge gangsters sent by an oil palm company to intimidate them.

Minggat anak Nyakin who has a parcel of NCR land at Sungai Rotan and Sungai PenyaruKuba (Kiba) Sarikei found out the hard and excruciatingly painful way that standing up for his rights is no easy task and which almost cost him his life.

“Not only he was badly beaten up, he was also arrested by the Police,” said Ngumbang Anak Barau, of Tahabas (Native land Owners Network). (This story was published by Free Malaysia Today).

He said that on the evening of 14 February 2011, Minggat and his son Juan had gone to their land to check on the outcome of an alleged illegal logging over their NCR land at Sungai Rusa, Sarikei.

They had previously reported the alleged illegal logging over his land to the Police, the Lands and Survey Department as well as the Public Works Department back in December 2010 for investigation.

Upon finding that the logging has continued seemingly unabated, they decided to drop by the log-pond late that Monday evening and tried negotiating for compensation with its manager.

The negotiation went sour and before Minggat and his son could leave the office building, they were initially attacked viciously at its footsteps.

“Although badly hurt, his son managed to escape in the darkness towards a nearby oil-palm plantation, while his father was left in an unconscious state at the foot-steps of the log-pond manager’s office,” Ngumbang said.

He said Minggat and Juan are now admitted at the Sarikei Hospital, with the police guarding them as they are both being remanded.

“Regardless of any wrong-doings or crimes that Minggat or his son may have committed, the source of the problem has yet to be investigated satisfactorily by the authorities.

“Minggat’s family agrees that Minggat should be fairly investigated, and so does the timber company that has been operating for many years on NCR land allegedly without a relevant or valid licence.

“The alleged illegal logging seems to be proceeding unhindered thus far. A police report has been lodged by Minggat’s wife yesterday on 16 February regarding the attack. The attackers have not been arrested,” he said.

As of today, the name of the timber company which owns the log-pond remains unknown to the rest of us, while there is no telling when investigations will be made on Minggat’s and his son’s attackers.

“What is certain is that Minggat and Juan will remain hospitalized for a few more days or even weeks.

“Today, their pains are too debilitating for them to even ponder what they will do next.”
Ngumbang added.

Saturday, February 12

Dr. Rudy Tawie has graduated with PhD in engineering

DAEJEON, SOUTH KOREA, (11 Feb 2011): How would you feel when you heard the name of an Iban youth being called to come to the stage to receive his PhD in Engineering, more so, if he is the second Malaysian to receive a PhD from KAIST. He was among the 507 Korean and graduates from other nationalities to receive their scrolls.

As a parent, who witnessed the convocation ceremony today (11 Feb 2011), I was overtaken by emotions to watch my third son walking tall among the Koreans and others to receive his scrolls. (Poh Kit Chong was the first Malaysian to have received PhD from KAIST. He graduated in August last year, but received his scrolls at the same time).

Currently, there are five Malaysian PhD students and other taking masters’ at KAIST.

Formerly known as Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, KAIST which is located in Daedeok Science town, Daejeon, South Korea was established by the Korean Government in 1971 as the nation’s first research oriented science and engineering institution.

KAIST is one of the Korean’s most prestigious science and technology institutions. It provides a platform for tomorrow’s science and technology advancement in Korea, upon which highly trained scientists and engineers are fostered; science and engineering excels; and distinguished leaders are born.

The QS World University Rankings in the year of 2010 placed KAIST 79th in world rankings and 24th in engineering and IT subject field in the world. It ranked the best university in the Republic of Korea and the 7th university in Asia in the top 100 Asian universities list, the first regional ranking issued by THE-QS World University Rankings.

When KAIST was established in 1971, it recruited some of the best brains in the world. The current KAIST President Nam Pyo Suh was a former professor at MIT, USA.

It has so far produced 8,458 PhD graduates in science and engineering.

Dr. Rudy Tawie

Rudy, 35, a lecturer with UiTM Kota Samarahan Campus, was first enrolled as a PhD student four years ago under the Ministry of Higher Education scholarship.

Not many students dare to go to KAIST, because of its tough and strenuous courses. He was required to publish his research works in international refereed journal. Rudy took up the challenge and graduated with flying colours. He scored 89.44 over 100.

In 2000-2001, he took his masters in Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.

He obtained his Diploma in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Civil Engineering in UiTM on grants provided by the Dayak Trust Fund. He applied for Sarawak Foundation Scholarship and was turned down. No reason was given. (And you know who sits as one of the Directors).

Due to his potential (every semester, he obtained Dean’s list), he was adopted by UiTM for the Young Tutors Scheme.

This is why as a parent I am very proud to see Rudy, in spite of the many obstacles, achieved the pinnacle of education in engineering.

I am also equally happy to see that my three other children got through with their tertiaty education – Edwin, who graduated with a Bachelor of Mass Communication, Victor, a Bachelor Degree in Accountancy and my fourth son, Mervin, a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. Now they are doing well in their working lives.

Friday, February 11

Baram Dam in My View and that of Lihan Jok

From: Burak Sem | February 10, 2011

I have been thinking hard the past couple of days if I should write about this, to share with you on my thoughts about the proposal Baram Dam by the Sarawak Government.

You might think that I am not qualified to speak about environmental issues just because I have not been to a certain school or so, but I can tell you something for nothing there are some things in life one can not learn in school, and what I am speaking about is simple logic. I know where I come from and I know where I am going, what frightens me most of all is the people who will be occupying planet earth in time to come when you and I no more - dead and totally forgotten.

My take on dams blocking the Baram River is summed up in this sentence - Baram River and its tributaries to the Orang Ulu as veins and blood vessels are to the human body. Blocking the path way and holding back huge quantities of water or blood where it should not be held is a certain recipe for disaster. The Orang Ulus a racial group will be just history.

As the times change we have to change with it, we have the technologies our fore-fathers only dreamed of in time gone by, the time has now come to where our responsibility is to fine tune and adjust our mental attitude and understanding towards the real task that lay before us, for if earth is really heaven the planets and moons that surround us in space can be called hell.

After a long and hard reflection, I have decided to put my thoughts on the proposed Baram Dam in writing.

I may not be qualified academically or technically to give an appraisal on this proposal by the Sarawak State Government; however, as an Orang Ulu, I am well aware of the consequence of such a project on the immediate environment and the people of the Baram. I also foresee the long term repercussions which will affect the entire future of the region and the affected habitants. The deprivation resulting from this ravenous act will be felt and inherited by generations to come, long after those irresponsible offenders are dead and gone. The Baram River and the whole of the Baram District is so much a part of the Orang Ulu people and so to intervene by damming and drowning the Baram is like choking the Orang Ulu community, the ethnic people of the area. The blatant greed which motivates the destruction by damming it will mortally destroy the environment and the social structure of the people.

The Orang Ulu communities are not spared from universal change brought about by modern technologies and knowhow. Indeed the communities have to move on in tandem with advancement. At the same time the noble values which are ours as handed to us by our forefathers must never be discarded. These good values should instead by made relevant to the phase and outlook of the modern culture and our Christian faith.

On the 10th September 2010, Borneo Post published an article, occupying almost a quarter page of the broad sheet, titled, “Lihan insists Baram Dam a gift for Orang Ulu”. In the article Lihan Jok, the Member of State Legislative Council (ADUN) for Telang Usan, was quoted as saying, I am not ashamed to say that the mega project is a gift from God because as a result of the project the government will build a 60-km road from Long Lama to the dam site at Long Keseh, benefitting about 12,000 Kayans from nine longhouses along the river,”. However, at an interview on 31st Jan 2011, by “Radio Free Sarawak” -, when asked to elaborate on his comment, Lihan’s respond was rather elusive. Besides, from the way he answered the radio interviewer, it was possible that he wasn’t aware that the conversation was broadcasted or recorded.

Nonetheless, in my view Lihan’s interview with the radio gave one true picture of what is now happening to the whole Baram Dam issue. It is mysterious. It is a game of cat and mouse, there is no openness or transparency in the dealings. In fact the first time I heard about the proposed 12 dams was an article on the Bruno Manser Foundation Website, following all the hurly burly following the construction of the Bakun dam. Even those who will bear the brunt of it are not well informed about the proposed Baram dam if they are informed at all. Even at the present moment, perhaps the only place where it most is mentioned or debated about is in cyberspace. What little which is known or publicized about these dams is mostly found on blogs and emails by concerned individuals who themselves may not at all be the stakeholders.

In an issue of this gargantuan proportion, a normal government would first of all make sure that all the thorough studies are not only carried out but seen to be carried out. All results of such studies would thus be made available to the public especially those who are affected. Studies like the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact Assessments, Due Diligence etc. Public debates on the issue would then be encouraged and publicized. All comments would thus be valued and evaluated before any decision is made. All relevant issues raised and woes would therefore be appropriately addressed so that in the process of implementation and maintenance the project would use the best means in achieving a beneficial goal. The goal alone must not justify the means. Each statements made by authorities would be qualified with facts which are objective or based on proven and professional evaluation. But as can be seen with what is transpiring at the moment this particular government and their “leaders” does not believe in all the aforementioned. Forget about the “People First action now” rhetoric, it is just that and nothing more.

If we take Lihan’s statement in Borneo Post at face value to be facts, that there are “12,000 Kayans from nine longhouses along the river from Long Lama to Long Keseh” who will benefit from the road built to the dam site.” Yes there is no doubt that it sounds so attractive, indeed Lihan Jok’s prayer has been answered. (He said that he has been praying for trunk roads to be built to each village in Telang Usan.) Where there is no road, there will be roads. So these 12,000 Kayans will have roads. In the same Borneo Post article, Lihan claimed that this is “bigger picture” that critics must look at.

But, looking at the “bigger picture” that Lihan invited us to focus on, I see a completely different scenario looming and that is one where the other Kayan, Penan and mostly Kenyah who are living in more than ten longhouses above Long Keseh. With the construction of the dam their longhouses or dwellings will be submerged or inundated.. So with this I would like to ask, about their fate brought about by the so called God given dam? Are they included in Liha’s prayer too? Did he pray for them to be totally eliminated with all they have and all they stand for? The resulting destruction and annihilation brought about by the flood from the dam is irrevocable and massive. Why all because Lihan his friends pray for roads to be constructed for 12,000 Kayan who live in longhouses below Long Keseh.

Once the dam is built, all the crops, fruit trees, graves, life stocks, longhouses, farm houses and land belonging to these group of Kayan, Penan & mostly Kenyah will vanish under a big, big lake which will reach Lio Mato, the furthers Kenyah longhouse in Baram. So all the talks about developments and projects for these villages will then be no more an issue for the government. All issues will disappear in the deep-deep blue water of the dam because of Lihan’s answered prayer. All the existing schools, churches, chapels clinics and places historical significance to the Orang Ulu will be wiped out. The heritage of our forefathers and the pride of our Orang Ulu like those from Dato Temagong Oyong Lawai Jau, Penghulu Tama Bulan Lian, Penghulu Jok Ngau, Penghulu Kebing, Penghulu Nyipa will be just fairy tails for our posterities.

For not only will our heritage be destroyed the very remains of these great leaders of the past will be drown in the depth of the Baram Dam. The remains of all our forefathers whose cemetery we revere in the memories will also disappear. For those who keep the All Souls day as a day for remembering their deceased loved ones, they will not be able to visit their cemetery any more. There will be no need for quarrel or survey of Native Customary Right land any more, it will not be relevant. Even all the animals, insects, vegetations, flora & fauna will be no more. GONE!!! So what Noah was able to save with his ark during the Biblical flood, Lihan managed to eliminate with his pious prayer for road to benefit 12,000 Kayah living below Long Keseh.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima were destroyed by the atomic bomb during World War 2, but after the war the Japanese stood up from the ruins and pick up the pieces to rebuild the two cities. Now a day these cities are thriving once more and with a lesson well learned by the Japanese population. However, once the Baram Dam is constructed, the whole are will be deleted from the surface and there will not be any pieces to be gathered any more to rebuild the Baram.

Those who live above Long Keseh, well Lihan does not see the need for road there. Thanks to Prophet Lihan Jok!!!!

As for Lihan himself he has no problem at all since his longhouse is at Long Bedian which is down river at the tributary of the Baram. (But then at second thought, does he have a house in Long Bedian?) He is now living in a big mansion in Miri and at least one in Kuching. So this is the type of ADUN we want, a person who only prays for those in his constituency. Alleluia!!!


Before Sarawak Government can put together an environmental plan, which they claimed can be used to benefit Sarawak they (BN) must understand the type of people that they are dealing with, who are they, what do they believe in, how do they live, where do they live, what do they want, what do they need, etc.

YB Lihan Jok, some food-for-thoughts for you to bring home and reflect---for becoming elected YB, whether you like it or not --- is similar to when playing a game of Chess one first needs to understand the rules of the game, how the board is set up, what pieces you have and how they are able to move around the board.

The game of chess we must be able to have a strategy, a plan on what type of move or moves we want to make, watch the type of move our opponent make or is making, then try to anticipate ahead of time on what move he or she could make or is planning to make, then decide for our own self on how to counter attack and prevent our own people from getting into a situation that one does not want to be in. “Prophet” Lihan Jok should learn from this game of chess, if he cares.

Bothers and Sisters, may I ask on your favor, if there's anyone one of us in this email could help me translating the above to Bahasa Malaysia, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Penan, Iban, etc, for distribution before catastrophe incur.

In my next article, I will do my best to share with you the irrelevance of these dams.



Burak S. Sem

Monday, February 7

Dayak leaders are ‘blind, deaf and dumb’

(The story was first published in Free Malaysia Today)

KUCHING: The current Dayak elected representatives have eaten “taju remaung” (forbidden fruit) so much so that they are suffering from “blind, deaf and dumb” syndromes when issues involving the Dayak community are raised, said Dr. John Brian, a well-known Dayak Baru blogger.

“For example, they are just blind, deaf and dumb on native customary rights (NCR) landsthat are forcibly taken away from the native owners and given to the cronies and companies linked to the powers that be.

“They don’t hear their cries of help,”
Brian told residents of longhouse at Nanga Bidat, Julau.

“We have never heard them talking and protecting about hundreds of thousands of Dayak land that have been submerged by Bakun and Batang Ai dams,” he said.

“They have never protested when the government changed the Land code so that it is easier for the government to take away NCR land. Have they?” he asked.

He said: “What I heard of (Deputy Chief Minister) Alfred Jabu talkingis about developing your land by Sarawak Land Custody and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra). He asks you to give your land to Salcra to develop so that you can become millionaires.

“Don’t trust Jabu, because I have not seen anyone from his own Layar constituency becoming a millionaire for taking part in Salcra. They have been with Salcra for more than 20 to 30 years.

“If the Dayaks in Betong defend only on Salcra for a living, they would be classified as hardcore poor when their monthly dividends are between RM200 and RM300 per month,”
he said.

“Fortunately, they have other sources of income to rely on,” he explained.

Brian, who has been very vocal lately in Meluan, is expected to contest the seat on a Pakatan Rakyat ticket. The incumbent rep is Wong Judat of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party.

The Dayak leaders should think of ways how to improve the people’s health, economic well-being and their livelihood by setting up clinics, rubber and cocoa factories, introduce small holdings for oil palm, pepper and rubber rather than distributing minor rural development projects worth from RM3, 000 to RM5, 000, he said.

Such projects need not involve elected representatives to distribute, he said, pointing out that these projects are not development per se.

He noticed that the majority of longhouses in the constituency lack treated water supply and 24-hour electricity as compared to some of villages in the coastal areas.

“Go to the coastal villages in SCORE. Even farm houses are given electricity,” he said, pointing out that development is not equally distributed in the state.

As a result of lack of economic activities in the State, many of the Dayaks have left for Peninsular Malaysia and overseas to seek employment, he said.

On education, Brian said: “Chinese, Malays and Indians have their own respective universities, but where is a Dayak university? And where is an Iban school?”

“None, but why our Dayak leaders are not asking for them, this is because theyhave eaten the ‘forbidden fruit’ fed by their political masters. They have become blind, deaf and dumb,” he stressed.

Brian said: “You have been voting for Barisan Nasional for 46 years,and what you get in return are only threats. They warn you that if you vote for the opposition, then your children cannot go to schools, because these schools are owned by the Barisan Nasional.

“You will not be given development projects if you go against government.

“How come you are against government? Have you rebelled against government? Have you taken armed like communist terrorist against the government? Of course it is a big NO.

“So you are not against government. What you are against is a Barisan Nasional government.

“However, if you still like them, then you vote for them during election times, and if you don’t like them, vote them out. Don’t be afraid to vote for Pakatan Rakyat for a change in the coming election,” he said.

“Why should you be afraid of the BN leaders?All these are mere scare tactics to frighten all of you,” he said, adding that the BN leaders are scared that the next government could be the Pakatan Rakyat government.

“Give Pakatan Rakyat comprising Parti Keadilan, DAP, PAS and Sarawak National Party a chance to prove their capability to form the next government,” he added.

Friday, February 4

Chinese New Year visits (3 feb 2011)

Pictures taken during the first day Chinese New Year visit to YB Chong Chieng Jen, the DAP Secretary and MP for Bandar Kuching and to YB Dominique Ng, the PKR state assemblyman for Padungan.
Mr Baru Bian, State Liaison Chief for PKR Sarawak (2nd right) at YB Chong's house

YB Chong Chien Jen (seated 2nd right) chatting with his guests

YB Dominic Ng posing for a group photo with his guests

Thursday, February 3

The Broken Shield wishes readers a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

Tuesday, February 1

SNAP’s Sarawak for Sarawakians

KUCHING: Sarawak National Party has been asked to revive its battle cry – Sarawak for Sarawakians – as part of its rebranding programme, said a former leader of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak, Wilfred Gomez at the party’s third symposium on Saturday.

“This was the battle cry of the party in early 70s when SNAP was down,” he said.

“There is nothing wrong with the revival of the battle cry, because there are political parties which battle cry is more extreme in terms of religious and racial extremism for their parties,” said Gomez who was a former PBDS Secretary General.

The battle cry was adopted after Stephen Kalong Ningkan was removed as Chief Minister in 1966 and SNAP was pushed out of the state alliance. That was the start of the erosion of the State rights.

Using this battle cry in the 1974 state and parliamentary elections, SNAP won 18 state and nine parliamentary seats making it one of the strongest opposition parties then.

“What is wrong when we just want to protect and return our rights as enshrined in the 18 points agreement for Sarawak’s entry in the formation of the federation of Malaysia.

“However, if it is considered too controversial, I would propose that ‘Together we thrive for Sarawak.’

“I believe SNAP must be brave if it wants to attract the people to support its rebranding exercise,” he said, quoting Ronald Reagan, the late US President, who said that the “future belongs to the brave.”

In pursuing this objective, Gomez said it should be inclusive of the discontented, the partyless and all those who feel there is a need for change.

“However, do not feel complacent. People need to feel that they belong and identify with the struggle. Only then, will they participate in SNAP’s struggle,” he said, pointing out that they should not put the blame on the ‘black sheep’ and those who caused the failure of the unity of the community.

“On the other hand, we must not forget those who have in their own various ways contributed and have given inspiration towards our cause.

“SNAP leaders should play the role of strategizing and mooting the direction to bring the community together and to move forward,” he said.

He said SNAP is tasked with an unenviable job of leading the alternative to the present BN government in the state.

“Many, except for those aware of the local sentiments and theparticular attitudes of Sarawak, would think it preposterous for SNAP to want to lead,” he said.