Thursday, March 31

Talif is lying, says former colleague

KUCHING: Former Assistant director of Forests Mengga Mikui has accused his former boss Len Talif of lying when he said that the logjam that happened in early October last year was due to the changing pattern of rain in the area.

“He is not telling the truth,” he said at a ceremony introducing him to be the PKR candidate for Tamin.

The logjam spreading over an area of 250 km along the Rajang River had caused untold damage to the marine life, flora and fauna as well as affecting the livelihood of the people who live near Sarawak’s longest river.

Many people including Land Development Minister and President of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PKR) James Masing have put the blame on uncontrolled and illegal logging activities in forests at Sungai Melatai in Masing’s constituency of Baleh, which caused landslides during heavy rains.

But the Director of Forests Len Talif, strongly denied it was due to logging activities and defended the loggers, blaming the changing patterns of rain in the area as one of the causes of the logjam.

He was also blaming the shifting cultivation as another cause of the landslides.

“Len Talif is lying. His reasoning is stupid,” Mengga said.

“He has to lie to protect some politicians who were involved in the logging activities in the area,” he added.

According to Mengga, the loggers cut the logs and had hid and stocked them in the forests, because they did not want to pay the royalty. And when the prices of timber went down, they allowed the timber to rot.

The piles of timber had trapped huge amount of water over the months and years and there would be a time when the water pressure pushed down the piles of timber dragging with them all debris into the rivers, he said.

“I cannot tell you how much the worth of timber being left to rot. But the amount could be very substantial,” he said.

Mengga also accused timber companies of failing to observe the FAO recommendations and guidelines that they should observe the cutting limit, forest conservation, buffer zones along the river banks, sensitive areas, water catchment areas and certain trees upon which animals and birds rely for food.

“The moment you do not observe these guidelines like the buffer zones along the river banks erosions come in,” he said.

“That is why we have the logjam, and only stupid people blame it on shifting cultivation,” he said.

The logjam not only caused a spat between Masing and Talif, but it also caught the attention of the people around world.

Mengga had served under Talif as Assistant Director of Forests and as Deputy General Manager of Sarawak Forest Corporation Sdn Bhd.

Talif is the Director of Forests as well as the Chief Executive Officer of the Forest Corporation.

Mengga said he quit in September 2009 as deputy general manager because he was so uncomfortable working in the government-linked company.

“As forester we never really practise what is the scientific approach to sustainable forest management, although on paper we said that we are excellent.

“And lot of things I feel so uncomfortable with and my conscience is there for many years as I work for almost 30 years with the government and Sarawak Forest Corporation,” he said.

He added: “For whatever best practice is we want to do is only on paper. So I have always been asked if I do not agree with the team, then I better quit.

“I take the challenge and quit and the only way is that we can change the system in Sarawak is through politics and I am going to put my life on that,” he said.

Mengga, aged 55, a graduate in Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) Serdang and later MSc (Human Resources Development) from Unimas, is tipped to contest as a PKR candidate for Tamin.

His opponent is likely to be Edwin Banta, a businessman from Parti Rakyat Sarawak.

The incumbent assemblyman is Joseph Mauh, who is likely to be dropped to give way to Banta.

Sunday, March 27

Top Iban unionists offer themselves as candidates

(The story was first published by Free Malaysia Today)

KUCHING: Three top Iban unionists have offered themselves as candidates for Sarawak PKR in the coming election, and their candidacies have been endorsed by the Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS).

They are the President of Sarawak National Union (SDNU) Mengga Mikui, the SDNU Deputy President Dr. John Brian and the Secretary General Joshua Jabeng who met the Press in the Stampin Office of PKR in the company of Francis Siah, head of MoCS.

They said that they are ready to contest against the Barisan Nasional.

Mengga, who is a former Deputy General Manager of Sarawak Forest Corporation, has chosen his own home ground of Tamin in Mukah to launch his political career. His opponent is likely to be a newcomer, Edwin Banta of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS). The incumbent is Joseph Mauh, who is to be dropped to open way for Banta, a businessman.

Since retiring from the government, Mengga who joined PKR in 2009 has been working almost around the clock in the constituency.

“I have not learnt the nitty-gritty of politics, but I emphasise that my place is Tamin,” he said, believing that this is the time to change the present government.

“If you don’t change this corrupt government now you, then we are going to be slaves. We may one day go to our neighbouring countries for employment,” he said.

“Native customary rights (NCR) land is the issue. I am personally affected and our land of 500 hectares which are also owned by 19 longhouses is given to a company."

The land, he said, is behind their longhouses.

“It is the only piece of land that is left, where our people have been earning their living every day, and I am going to head the struggle to get it back,” Mengga said, pointing out that the people have lived there since 1830.

Brian, an activist and blogger, is tipped to contest the Meluan constituency where his grandparents came from.

Born in 1955 in Sebauh, Bintulu in 1955, Brian is a PhD holder in management from the Southern Cross University, Australia.

He obtained his Master’s degree in business administration from Oxford Group of universities, and a diploma in chartered institute of marketing from UiTM.

He had worked in a number of companies in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, before opening his management consultancy in Kuala Lumpur of which he is the managing partner.

Elected as Deputy President of SDNU, Brian is also the Deputy Chairman of Borneo Dayak forum (BDF) which is headed by DR. Jeffrey Kitingan.

“Our focus in BDF is to declare Borneo as Dayak land. This is parallel to Aborigines to Australia, Maoris to new Zealand and Red Indians to America,” he said.

In the last election, Brian contested on Sarawak National ticket in Kemena when the Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) could not be registered against Stephen Rundi. Despite the lack of funds, resources and logistics, he secured 3,178 votes against the BN man who spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit and promised “instant” projects. Rundi obtained 4,750 votes.

“In the coming election, I am eyeing the Meluan seat,” he said.

He may face the incumbent Wong Judat of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party or Larry Sng, the partyless assemblyman for Pelagus.

Jabeng who was born in Tatau 61 years ago is believed to be the only Iban who is doing very well in insurance business. He is now the Group Agency manager of ETIQA insurance under the Maybank group in Kuching.

He is now the elected President of ETIQA FAA (Financial Advisor Association) Malaysia dealing with management and agency bosses.

“My exposure in this helps me a lot in terms of organizational skills,” he said.

Jabeng said that he is going to contest in Kakus against the incumbent John Sikie of PRS, if he (Sikie) is going to be re-nominated by PRS.

Meanwhile, in endorsing them as the candidates, Siah said the three are not only top Iban unionists, but also very much qualified in terms of educational qualifications.

“We are endorsing them as candidates and the people should support and vote for them in the coming election,” he said.

Wednesday, March 23

Do you believe in dreams?

Dreams have been interpreted to be representations of our subconscious and have a hidden meaning. Do I believe in dreams? Yes, I do. I believe it is a message that the ‘supernatural’ is sending to you.

It depends on how you interpret it. Some dreams do convey good tidings; but others portend evil happenings.

In the old days when Iban warriors went to war, they were guided by their dreams. If anyone (especially the leader) dreamt of something bad, they would not proceed with their headhunting or war expeditions. If they went against the bad dream, something would happen to them.

A friend of mine told me of his dream, the day after the state council Negeri was prorogued. He dreamt that Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud was in a motor boat known as “motor pom” picking his four children.

Three of his children were wearing blue shirts, while the fourth child was seen wearing a grey shirt, and also looked abnormal.

Let us interpret what this dream tries to convey. To me, it can mean the following:

(a) The four children can mean the four component parties of the state Barisan Nasional;
(b) Three wearing blue shirts can signify the BN colours;
(c) One wearing grey can mean one of the BN parties may pull out of state BN; it can also mean that the fourth party can be severely defeated in the coming election; and it can also mean the state BN may lose one-quarter of the 71 seats.
(d) And the motor “pom” can mean the BN state government.

Can anyone come up with better interpretations?

Tuesday, March 22

Good reason to celebrate!

The family members of TAWIE gathered at the house Joseph Tawie on Saturday night 19 march 2011 to celebrate the successful achievement of Rudy who recently received his PhD from a very well-known Korean university, KAIST.

Rudy’s uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews, nieces and in-laws were present to share and congratulate him on his achievement.

In the TAWIE family, there are 12 graduates - one PhD graduate, three holders of master’s degrees, seven graduated with bachelor degrees, one diploma holder, two are due to graduate next year.

The degrees include civil and electrical engineering, economics, accountancy, finance and banking, animal husbandry, information, communication and technology, mass communication, education and nursing.

Wednesday, March 16

Police Reports against Taib

KUCHING: The Movement of change, Sarawak (MoCS) on Sunday 13 March 2011 called on the Commissioner of Police Mohmad bin Salleh to initiate an investigation against Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud for alleged corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.

Head of the movement, Francis Siah, made the call after he lodged a Police report at the Central Police station against the Chief Minister.

Siah said that he made the reports based on allegations by Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) and allegations appearing in Sarawak Report and other websites.

Attached to the report, he said, were ‘documentary evidence’ so that it would be easy for the police to conduct an investigation.

“So I urge the commissioner to initiate an investigation based on the reports and allegations,” Siah said, adding that he would submit a similar report to the Police headquarters at Bukit Aman.

Early this month, Siah handed a two-inch report of allegations against Taib to the State Malaysian anti-corruption Commission in Kuching.

On February 21, the BMF released a black list of names and the company members of 49 companies in eight countries in which Taib and his family are allegedly involved.

Their stakes in those companies are thought to be worth hundreds of millions, if not, billions, of US dollars.

A considerable number of the companies is active in the real estate and property sector.

MoCS is not the only organization which has lodged a report against Taib and his family.

In early December representatives of the Berawans, Trings and Penans from Kampung Long Terawan, Long Win, Long Bangan, Batu Bungan, Long Iman and Sungai Melinau (Mulu), Tutoh, Baram lodged a police report at the Miri Central Police Station Taib on an alleged corrupt practice in alienating their land to Borsamulu Resort Sdn. Bhd. for the purpose of building a resort.

The natives in their report alleged that the Chief Minister in his capacity as the Sarawak Minister of Planning and Resources Management directed the Sarawak Land and Surveys Department to alienate part of their native community’s customary land now known as Lot 7, Block 14 Mulu Land District to Borsamulu Resort.

The Land and Survey Department is under the Ministry of Planning and Resource Management.
The natives in their report stated that the alienation of the customary land “is unlawful” and the Chief Minister has allegedly breached the law, namely the provisions in Section 2 (1) read with subsection (2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 22/1970 and Section 2 (8) of the Eight Schedule in the Federal Constitution.

The report went on to say that the Chief Minister is involved in a corrupt practice as he himself, his children, his sister, his brother-in-law and his niece are the directors or shareholders of Borsamulu Resort Sdn. Bhd. through companies such as Kenyalang Cergas Sdn. Bhd., Mesti Bersatu Sdn. Bhd., Plieran Sdn. Bhd. and DayaSyukra Sdn. Bhd.

Dennis Along, one of the native representatives from Long Terawan making the report said: “We have decided to file this report in the exercise of our duty as responsible citizens of Malaysia to stop a breach of the law or an abuse of power by those in authority.

“As lawful landowners of the affected native customary land who have been wrongfully deprived of our land, we call on the Police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to immediately carry out investigations and take appropriate action,” he said.

In November, Sarawak PKR chairman, Baru Bian handed over to MACC reports by Sarawak Report alleging that Taib Mahmud has 400,000 shares in the highly controversial Royal Mulu Resort.

“These are very serious allegations against the Chief Minister,” said Bian, reminding the MACC that Sarawakians are particularly interested to know what actions the MACC can take.

Wednesday, March 9

Jabu, the recycled minister?

According to The Borneo Post dated March 6, 2011, Deputy Chief Minister and Deputy President of PBB Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang, took a swipe at state PKR chairman Baru Bian and Sarawak National Party advisor Dato Sri Daniel Tajem whom he said are ‘defeated candidates’.

Speaking at the BN convention, where he and everyone ‘apple-polished’ Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Jabu has been recycling his facts and answers for hundreds of times.

He blamed Anwar Ibrahim for not knowing Iban Adat; he blamed DAP for against the development of NCR land; he also blamed DAP for not praising the Dayak heroes in fighting the communists, and etc.

He has been blaming Tajem for failing to develop 30,000 to 40,000 acres of land from Lingga, Sebuyau till Simunjan when he was Deputy Chief Minister. Tajem was appointed Deputy Chief Minister from 2 October 1980 and until Ming Court affair 10 March 1987 (slightly more than six years).

Jabu did not mention to develop the land for what? Was it oil palm? Oil palm only came to be aggressively implemented well after Tajem had left the political scene.

Even if Tajem did not develop the land or had not done as expected of him, what has Jabu done to rectify the so-called mistakes committed by Tajem.

What has happened to the Lingga-Simanggang Road that was proposed by Tajem then? What has Jabu done about the road when he was Minister of Communications and Work?

The man who continuously accuses others of not doing anything is, in fact, trying to cover his own wrong doings, his own failures and his own weaknesses.

The list of Jabu’s failures starts from his own Layar constituency which he has represented for more than 37 years – from lack of roads, to clean water and electricity; the failures of fish mart, the fish fry projects, the kepayang project, cold storage project, the regional growth centres, the fertilizer factory, and the list goes on and on.

How many Iban millionaires has he created? How many Iban students have been given the Sarawak Foundation scholarships? How many thousands of acres of NCR land belonging to other Ibans have been given to his cronies including his son? And many, many questions need answers which are connected to his failures.

But whatever it is, Jabu is good in quarrelling with SDNU, SADIA, SDGA and DCCI. He does not like Iban NGOs other than his wife’s Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak.

Do you think it is abused of power or not to give financial grants from his ministry’s funds to his wife’s SIDS. That happened recently in Miri.

The other good thing about him is that he is an effective cat’s-paw of the chief minister.

Friday, March 4

The High Court rejects stay of execution

KUCHING: The Kuching High Court today (2 March 2011) rejected an appeal for stay of execution by the four defendants (Land Custody Development Authority, Pelita Holdings Sdn. Bhd, Tetangga Arkab and the state government of Sarawak) against the decision of the High court.

However, they will appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Kuching High Court on 20 February 2011 ruled 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 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.