Monday, May 30

Campaign to reject vote buying candidates!

Long house residents happily distributing the vote buying money paid from the state coffer in support of Sarawak BN candidates!

MEO-Net (Malaysian Election Observers Network) feel compelled to present more evidences of vote buying in the 10th Sarawak State elections because of the persistent denial by politicians involved that the pay-off to voters were for the purpose of buying their votes.

Since a politician in the centre of vote-buying accusation Mr Joseph Mauh anak Ikeh has come out to admit to the pay-off to voters in his constituency, we consider that we need not conceal a photograph of those who are caught in distributing cash to the voters in a long house, identified in the politician’s constituency in N52 Tamin.

In addition to this we are putting forward more damning evidences in the forms of payment vouchers from the Chief Minister’s office –dishing out RM15,000.00 in one case to a long house, and in another case, a payment voucher and a cheque of RM1,000.00, for another long house recipient.

A video on the vote buying, which is extended from a previous one on the issue, but added with new damning evidences, is here.

A RM1,000.00 cheque from the Chief Minister's office to buy vote for BN Sarawak.

We were reliably informed by our local observers that the payments were made in the following sequence: After the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly on Mar 21st, prepared cheques, of various amount corresponding to the voters number in the individual long houses are distributed at the BN office in Selangau, to about 200 long house chiefs in the N52 Tamin constituency, who were summoned there.

One payment voucher dated March 25th, where we obtained a photocopy shows an amount of RM15,000.00 made out to a long house chief, while another voucher dated March 25th, and a cheque dated March 27th, of RM1,000.00 was made out to another long house recipient.

The purpose of these payments is for the long house chiefs (`Tuai Rumah’) to distribute at RM500.00 per dwelling (`pintu’) in each of their respective long house. The payment was made in cheques only and can only be cashed, as the chiefs were told, after the victory of the BN candidate.

A voucher from the Chief Minister's office to give cheque to the long houses.

Then on the eve of polling, on April 14th, there was another round of payment to the individual voters which is in cash of RM50.00 or RM100.00 per voter.

In the particular long house Rumah Unban the payment as shown in the video was at RM50.00 per voter.

There are a number of questionable aspects to the payments-chief of which is that they are indisputably meant to pressure the voters to vote for a particular candidate, with the cashing of the 1st payment in cheque conditioned upon the victory of the candidate concerned.

We also discovered that there are cheating involved in many cases where some of the payments in multiple cheques bounced due to probably deliberate misspelling of the name of recipients.

We had earlier disclosed a case in Rh Kuching in the same constituency where a cheque of RM5,000.00 bounced. The claim by Mr Joseph Mauh that the payments were for transport subsidy simply does not conform to the facts deduced from the above material evidence and the more credible account given by our local observers.

Another troubling aspect of these massive payment is that the amount involved can be so huge that they went over the legal spending limits allowed for the campaign expenses of a State Assembly candidate i.e. RM100,000.00 per person. Mr Joseph Mauh himself mentioned it in his reported statement.

If the average payment to a long house is RM10,000.00 (taking a lower figure) the estimated 200 long houses in Tamin would require an amount of RM2 million for the 1st installment of payments! Then the RM50.00 given to each voter on polling eve will amount to RM600,000.00, given that there are 12244 registered voters in Tamin.

Put together this amount to RM2,600,000.00, which grossly over shoot the legal spending limit for Mr Joseph Mauh! Since Mr Joseph Mauh claim that all the payments are for transport subsidies we call upon Mr Joseph Mauh to disclose his campaign expenses account which he is legally required to submit to the Election Commission within weeks of the polling.

This will assure the public that he did not knowingly over-spend in his campaign and therefore he did not win the election by unfair and legally prohibited advantage!

We call upon the EC to disclose Mr Joseph Mauh’s campaign expenses account so that the so-called transport subsidies can be confirmed or rejected once and for all.

Another voucher for another long house dated after dissolution of the State Assembly on Mar 21st 2011.

Other than calling the payment as transport subsidies, Mr Joseph Mauh also branded the payment as consolation payment to the voters (`sagu hati’). He should be told that such consolation payments blatantly violate the Election Offenses Act 1954 as it amount to bribery, whether the voters finally voted for him or not.

His argument that 3,000 over voters voted for his opponent did not show that he did not tried to induce the voters to vote for him.

The 3rd aspect that is troubling is that: the money actually came from the Chief Minister’s office under some development budget, as can be seen from the payment vouchers. As it is well known the election was called following the dissolution of the State Assembly.

Thus any allocation from the state coffer to advantage a candidate’s campaign amount to criminal theft from the state coffer!

Such pay-off to voters is believed by many – including Mr Joseph himself, to be happening in all 71 constituencies in the 10th Sarawak state elections.

Assuming this is true-since we have no reason to suspect his insider’s opinion, the total amount of public fund which was used to campaign for the BN for the whole of Sarawak, with 979,796 voters, come to an astounding amount of RM 208 million, assuming that the RM 2.6 million fund for Tamin’s 12,224 voters represent the average going rate that apply across the state!

This amount to gross criminality against the state and inordinate unfairness to the Opposition as they have no similar access to public fund! Most seriously the results of elections which are significantly distorted by vote buying, are unrepresentative of the real choice of the people and are therefore invalid!

Campaign to reject vote-buying candidates for General Elections

In view of the evidences uncovered so far we call upon the authorities i.e. the Election Commission and the MACC to investigate vote buying incidents and also the extent of the abuse of public fund for the campaign of all the candidates for the 10th Sarawak State elections.

If the authorities fail to act-as most people don’t expect them to, then the last resort in a democracy is for the voters to use the voting power in their hand to reject all vote buying candidates in the coming General Elections.

We give tw0 weeks for the authorities to commence action-failing which we would initiate a nation-wide campaign to mobilize voters to reject all candidates who try to buy votes in the coming General Elections, more so on those who would not stop at stealing public fund to do so!

MEO-Net is formed in 2009 to coordinate civil society groups who are involved in voter registration, voter education and election observation. There are 6 network members: MALVU, SEW, MEW, SAFREL, KOMAS & NIEI.

Endorsers of the statement: Brimas, Empower, Penangwatch, SOS, MEO-Net

Enq. 013-5900339 (Ong)

Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak

~ Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak ~

The administrators of The Broken Shield wish the readers of the blog “Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak, Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai, Senang Lantang Nguan Menua, Betuah Belimpah, Bulih duit Bulih Ringgit”.

Sunday, May 29

PKR women accuse gov’t, police inaction

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR women throw a scathing attack against the government and the Police for being inaction against the perpetrators of rapes on the Penan women and girls.

“The inaction of the Police, the state and federal governments has encouraged the prepreetractors who are mostly timber workers to commit more rapes,” said Voon Shiak Ni, national vice-president of PKR women wing.

She said: Since the last report made three years ago in which 14 rape cases against the Penan girls were reported, seven more new cases have surfaced.

“The latest rape case was reported last Monday by a 20-year old Penan woman who alleged that an Indonesian man she knew had repeatedly raped her after coaxing her into following him to the city in the pretext of finding work,” she said.

The woman also told the Police that there had been similar rapes involving other Penan girls in her village, said Voon.

She said that several reports made by a number of taskforces of non-governmental organisations together with suggestions and recommendations had been submitted to the government, the Police, relevant government agencies, the ministry of women, family and community development and even to Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the prime minister.

“Up to now no one has been charged or investigated by the Police though the ministry taskforce report and the NGO task force report on the allegations of rape by timber loggers confirmed the incidents of rapes,” Voon said.

On remarks made by the newly elected state assemblyman for Telang Usan Dennis Ngau, Voon said that positive steps and actions expected to be taken to redress the issue were long overdue.

“Not only the opposition parties had called for investigations, but the civil society including women NGOs in Sarawak had made numerous statements calling for police investigations and government attention on the matter,” she said.

Following the report made last Monday, Ngau was reported to have admitted that there had been a surge in the number of foreigners in the interior because of the expansion of oil palm plantations and logging activities.

He said he would hold an urgent dialogue with the plantation and logging companies to the discuss the matter.

Ngau also announced that the Barisan Nasional is going to set up a taskforce again to look into the plight of the Penan women to show that the government is serious in fighting against rapes involving Penan women and girls.

Voon said: “Our question is - is there a necessity to set up another taskforce upon another taskforce when rapes are still continuing and ruining the lives of the Penan girls and women?

“Have the government intervened yet to see to the prevention of the crimes inflicted upon them?” she asked.

The government, she said, should have looked into suggestions and recommendations made by various taskforces when the issue of rapes surfaced three years ago.

Voon said that the Penan rape issue is not about prosecuting the culprits only, it is about making the right the system and structure in respect of transportation for the Penan children, looking into the logging activities, the impact of the influx of male workers, on the living conditions of the native community, their women and children.

“It also includes how to provide for the survivors of rapes and the children born out of the rapes,” she added.

“All the recommendations outlined to reduce the vulnerability of the Penan community and to improve on the living conditions are contained in the two taskforce reports.

“These reports have been delivered by us to Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, (Minister of Women, Family and community Development), Alfred Jabu, (Deputy Chief Minister), James Masing, (Land Development Minister), Rosmah Mansor, (wife of Prime Minister), Fatimah Abdullah, (minister in the chief minister department), women bureau and even to the education department.

“It is the inaction of the government that allows rapes to continue to plague the Penan community,” Voon said, calling on the government to act on the matter immediately.

“PKR women challenge Dennis Ngau to bring up the issue in the coming sitting of the state assembly,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nurhanim Mokshan, head of Sarawak PKR women wing criticized Fadillah Yusof, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) youth chief for his failure to look into the plight of the Penan women and girls who complained of being raped again and again.

Fadillah was the one who promised to set up a taskforce to collate information about the alleged rapes of Penan women and girls in an effort to assist police to prosecute the culprits.

He had said that the PBB youth was informed by the police that action could not be taken after the issue because the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who highlighted the issue did not want to share their information.

He also said that these NGOs claimed to have the details but they did not want to share their findings with the police, so it was difficult for the police to act.

In view of that, the PBB youth wing had decided to form a fact-finding taskforce.

“If we found out that there are evidences that such incidents did happen, I myself would lodge a Police report,” said Fadillah, who is also deputy minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Commenting on Fadillah’s remarks, Nurhanim asked: “Why are rapes continuing to happen again and again?

“What are the police doing about it?” she asked.

“I also want to know the progress report of Fadillah’s taskforce. We have not heard anything at all about his taskforce,” she said, asking Fadillah to walk the talk.

Expressing her regrets, she said that another rape case has been reported and she wanted to know what action is Fadillah’s taskforce is doing about it.

“We want Fadillah to answer it. He is the one who pledged to do it,” she said.

She said that PKR on its part had submitted memorandum to various authorities including Rosmah Mansor, wife of the prime minister.

"It is most regrettable that until today nothing has been done about the plight of the Penan women and girls. After all, the Penans are also Malaysian citizens and they too need police protection,” Nurhanim added.

Friday, May 27

Govt robbing landowners only a myth – Naroden

TEBEDU: Every single inch of the people’s land which are acquired by the government for development purposes will be compensated accordingly, assured assistant minister in the chief minister’s department Mohd Naroden Majais.

He said stories about the government robbing the people’s land, as claimed by the opposition during the recent state election, was only a myth.

“The government’s policy is clear. All land acquired for any projects will be compensated. Every single inch will be paid for, even when the projects were implemented for the benefit of the landowners themselves,” he said.

Naroden was speaking at the presentation of land compensation to 100 landowners from Kpg. Kujang Mawang, Kpg. Sain and Kpg. Kujang Plaman at the Dewan here on 23 May.

He said the compensation money amounting to RM508,667 was for the residents from the three villages whose lands were affected by the UPGRADING OF ROADS TO THE THREE VILLAGES.

COMMENT: We fully agree with Naroden that any NCR land affected by development for public purposes such as roads is certain to be compensated just like the above land.

Why did Naroden fail to mention the case of 500 Bidayuh NCR land owners from 10 villages in Tebedu whose lands were destroyed and occupied by a timber company after the forest department which is under Naroden’s ministry were not compensated?

The Bidayuhs were angry when those in authorities like Naroden, Michael Manyin, Richard Riot and the police failed to solve their problems.

Several reports have been made to the authorities until their patience ran out that was when they torched the logging camps and heavy machinery and lorries. The loss was estimated to be RM5 million.

Did the government ‘rob’ their NCR land and give it the company which has connection with the state government?

What will be Naroden’s comment on this?

Tuesday, May 24

Where are the DBNA leaders?

KUCHING: When six Bidayuh villagers who were alleged to have torched seven heavy machinery, four lorries and five logging quarters in Tebedu on May 9, 2011 were arrested, the first thing they did was to look for Nicholas Mujah, Secretary General of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA).

Through Mujah lawyers were arranged to represent them.

The six Bidayuhs arrested for defending their own rights and ancestral lands are Bisa Anak Duda, Papai Anak Atin, Barak Anak Kolol, Mani Anak Marin, Karia Anak Daruh and Peter Anak Laiong of Kampong Mawang, Tebedu in Serian District were brought to court at the end of their four-day remand.

These people are the real heroes who dare to go to jail to defend their rights, and we must salute them for their courage.

They were arrested on May 14 following a report made by a camp manager, Chen Teck Soon after seven heavy machinery, four lorries and five logging camps in Tebedu in the Serian District were torched.

A large crowd of family members and village folk working in Kuching turned up in court to show their support for the suspects.

No charge has been brought against any of the suspects and they were released unconditionally.

Meanwhile, I heard some nasty remarks made by some people against Bidayuh leaders. Many asked where the Bidayuh leaders were. Questions like: why none of the so-called leaders of Dayak Bidayuh National Association came to help them? And why did they ask help from an Iban association? Is the DBNA scared that it may not receive funds from the government even if some of its members are unjustly and unfairly treated?

And where are the Bidayuh ministers and elected representatives?

Where are their ‘pelirs’? Are they between their legs?

These are some of the questions that I have heard.

Monday, May 23

Who is buying who?

Recently two articles have appeared in this blog regarding money politics in the Tamin state constituency exposing how money politics was used to defeat the PKR candidate.

And the party doing it was allegedly Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) together with BN campaigners and agents.

Bounced cheques each with a value of RM15,000 were issued to some 80 percent of 220 Tuai Rumahs. When the Tuai Rumah presented the cheques to a bank, the bank found some ‘errors’ on the cheques - either the names were wrongly spelt, their ICs were incomplete or names not according to ICs, etc, etc.

Funnily, the bank instead of advising the Tuai Rumahs to go to the persons who issued the cheques detained and retained the cheques. Has the bank got the right to retain the cheques?

Another story was also recently published on the distribution of money to buy votes.

Now the same PRS is filing an election petition to declare the Independent candidate George Lagong’s electoral victory in Pelagus as ‘null and void’ as it accused George of using money to buy votes.

Isn’t this funny that PRS-BN is pointing fingers at an independent for using money to buy votes? In other 70 state constituencies, the fingers are pointing at the BN parties.

The petition was filed on Friday 20 May at the Sibu High Court, and if PRS is successfully in declaring the seat ‘null and void’, then there will be another election in the constituency.

Should this happen, another chance of vote-buying is in the offing. The real ‘winners’ will be the voters!

Wednesday, May 18

Vote buying in the recent election

Vote buying and corruption were rampant in the recently concluded state election. Some were done openly in the case of Selangau constituency.

Other ways of cheating were through approving minor rural projects and issuing of cheques to Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs). In the case of Selangau, the cheques bounced.

What is funny is that the bounced cheques were detained and retained by the bank concerned.

Several reports had been lodged with the authorities, but such reports fell on deaf ears.

The BN campaigners did not fear the Election Commission, the Police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), because they know that these authorities would ignore vote-buying and corruption.

Nor did the BN campaigners feel sorry for cheating these ‘innocent and ignorant’ people, because they did not have any integrity left in them.

Their main aim was to win and to win at all cost.

And the people are partly to be blamed; because of their greed for money, they were prepared to sell their souls, their children’s future and their family’s honour.

Many Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu know that their NCR lands and their communal forests have been taken away without compensation being paid, and yet these (stupid) people voted for the BN candidates.

For example, 80 percent of Bidayuhs from 10 villages in Tebedu voted for Michael Manyin in the recent state election, and after the election they realised that Manyin refused to help them when a timber company encroached into their NCR land and forests.

They took the law into their own hands by torching machinery and logging camps and for that action, a number of them have been arrested for their defending their own land. Now they regretted voting for him, and in fact they hated him. But it is too late to regret.

This picture clearly shows how the money was openly distributed among the longhouse folk in Selangau.

Monday, May 16

National budget is full of propaganda, says Chong

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP has described as propaganda Prime Minister Najib Razak’s proposed budget which he claims will be the driving force to drive Malaysia into a high income society in 2012.

“This is a mere propaganda,” said Chong, DAP Secretary, when commenting on the proposed budget 2012 announced by the Prime Minister.

Najib had said that the budget would be inclusive, people-centric and accelerate the transformation efforts.

“It will be another milestone towards a developed and high income economy by 2020,” Najib said.

Reacting to this Chong said: “Since Najib made the announcement of new economic model (NEM) back in March 2010, Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and other plans, we have not seen any benefit coming out from the announcement of such economic models.

“A lot of slogans and a lot mega economic models and yet we have not seen the benefit coming from such announcements.

“Instead we feel the pinch with the increase in prices of sugar and RON97,said Chong who is the MP for Bandar Kuching.

He said that sugar was RM1.45 per kilo in December 2009, but now it is RM2.30 per kilo. Likewise, RON97 was RM2.10 per litre in July in 2010. Today it is RM2.90 per litre.

He said that car owners are forced to change to use sub-standard petrol.

“My questions to Najib are. Has he overspent during the Sarawak state election in order to lure voters to vote for the Barisan Nasional?

“Has he spent too much in 1Malaysia parties, 1Malaysia gifts, and 1Malaysia lucky draws so much so that now he has to increase the petrol and sugar prices in order to pay the debts over the expenditure of 1Malaysia parties,” he said.

That seemed to be the case especially when the prices of sugar and petrol have been increased just after the Sarawak state election, said Chong who is the newly elected Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

Asked whether it is an election budget, he said that every year Najib made slogans saying that ‘1Malaysia: the people first and performance now’.

He said that in the proposed budget Najib also mentioned the same thing that ‘people first and performance now’.

“This is May and five more months before the budget will be presented, he has already made the same slogan ‘people first performance now’.

“This is all hot airs,” Chong added.

Quoting a report of the World Bank, he said that brain drain from the country continues, and Sarawak is one of the worst scenario cases.

“In the report, Sarawak’s brain drain is among the worst of the worst. This is because it lacks job opportunities and high costs of living with very low pay,” he said.

Saturday, May 14

Two Pakatan leaders demand immediate action against Taib

KUCHING: Two Sarawak Pakatan leaders today (14 May) demanded an immediate investigation to be taken against Chief Minister of Sarawak Abdul Taib Mahmud following reports by Sarawak Report that the President of Swiss Federation Micheline Calmy-Rey has revealed Taib’s assets in Switzerland.

Calmy-Rey has forwarded the information about Taib’s assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body FINMA (the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) for investigation.

The Swiss President said that Switzerland takes extremely seriously the concerns that have been raised internationally about Taib’s alleged profiteering from timber corruption and are unhappy that such assets may have been invested in Switzerland.

In a statement on the report, Sarawak PKR Chief Baru Bian said: “For the President of a foreign country to acknowledge that her government has begun investigation into Taib Mahmud’s assets is indeed an indictment on the credibility of the Chief Minister.

“It is also, no less, a huge blot that dents Malaysia’s image internationally which Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, self-styled First Lady Rosmah Mansor, have been desperately trying to advance over the last year with their unending international PR exercises and tours to curry global favour.

“For months now Chief Minister has stubbornly refused to respond to the numerous reports at the whistle-blower website alleging his corruption.

“The MACC, despite receiving a profusion of reports from the public and NGOs, has not been able to give us a clear answer on what it is doing about such reports,” he said.

Bian, who is the newly elected state assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan said; “It is now clear that silence is no more an option.

“It is incumbent upon the Chief Minister to respond to these reports publicly. The MACC must also stop hedging before it loses all credibility with the public. The Prime Minister cannot anymore ignore the elephant in the room,” he said.

Sarawak Report further states that Calmy-Rey also makes clear that under international money-laundering agreements it is up to the Malaysian Government to make a request to Switzerland to freeze potentially illegal assets.

On the other hand the Swiss President specifically refers to the recent freezing of assets belonging to the leaders of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, which have been possible under existing provisions of Swiss legislation.

“In light of this international investigation, an implicit request by the Swiss authorities to freeze Taib’s assets and an appallingly embarrassing slur on our country Malaysia, will Prime Minister finally do the right thing or will he continue to fail to act?” Bian asked.

He pointed out that the "onus is on Najib to redeem Malaysian’s tarnished image abroad and I reiterate that elegant silence on the part of Taib and MACC has ceased to be an option as Malaysia’s reputation is now in question and heavily at stake.

“The public demands answers and they demand them now. More so we the people of Sarawak,” Bian added.

Meanwhile, in a separate Press conference, Sarawak DAP demanded that Taib issue a ‘ministerial’ statement with regard to the allegations made against him by the Swiss authorities either through the newspapers or through the state assembly which will meet this June.

“These allegations by foreign authorities are very serious indeed putting Sarawak in a bad light that the chief minister is involved in corruption.

“Taib must make a stand and issue a ministerial statement either through the media or through the state assembly that will meet this June,” said Chong Chieng Jen, DAP Secretary.

This was the second allegation against Taib being involved in corruption, he said, pointing out that the first one was regarding a Japanese tax agent that was paid into a commission for the exportation of timber from Sarawak.

“But the latest one is the most serious and Taib must issue a statement to clear the air,” he said.

Chong who is the state assemblyman for Kota Sentosa said that he will raise the issue in the coming meeting of the state assembly.

“We demand Taib to answer the allegations,” he added.

Meanwhile, several Sarawakians while welcoming the report react with anger after reading it and want immediate actions to be taken against the chief Minister.

Some describe the report as the best news while others declare the revelation as a ‘Gawai’ gift for Sarawakians especially the Dayaks who celebrate gawai on June 1.

But state BN leaders when contacted refused to comment on the allegations.

Thursday, May 12

Jabu is the best successor, say pensioners

KUCHING: About 100 former high ranking civil servants believe that Deputy Chief Minister and Deputy President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang should be the best person to succeed Chief Minister and PBB President Abdul Taib Mahmud in the event he steps down.

“Jabu is the most qualified in terms of his seniority as Deputy Chief Minister to Taib Mahmud for the past 30 years, and in the party hierarchy, he is holding the second top post.

“And thirdly, his KPI (key performance indicator) must be good otherwise Taib will not want to keep him for the last 30 years,” said Dr. Elie Luhat on behalf of the group.

Elie, a Kayan, was a high ranking officer in Sarawak Timber Industry Corporation (STIDC) before he retired a couple of years ago.

He is now a very successful farmer dealing what he calls in ‘smart farming’ such as rearing ‘ikan empurau’ (Sarawak’s most expensive fish), planting high rubber clones, and gharu.

The group comprised former schools principals, permanent secretaries, Residents, district officers and corporate figures.

“In our group, we have about 100 persons who discuss topics of the day, issues and problems that affect the day to day life of the people.

“We meet every morning over cups of coffee without fail,” he said, adding that they are usually having ‘brain storming’ sessions.

“The latest issue is of course a successor to Taib Mahmud. In our assessment, Jabu is the best person who should take over from Taib.

“In the event that Jabu declines, then we have to scout and look around in the party as to the one who should be considered as the next chief minister,”Dr. Elie added.

“That person must also be in line to take over the leadership and his selection should also follow the normal procedure.

“Failing to observe the seniority of the party members, there could be chaos in the party,” said Elie, who also considered himself as a social activist.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, May 11

Villagers torched machinery


KUCHING: About 500 villagers from 10 Bidayuh villages in Tebedu on Sunday 8 May burnt seven heavy machinery, four lorries and five logging camps after their elected representative Michael Manyin and the Police failed to look into their complaints.

The value of the destroyed properties believed to be worth several millions of ringgit.

Last month they met Manyin and lodged a number of Police reports regarding a certain timber company allegedly encroached into their native customary rights land.

Instead of peacefully settling the issue, Manyin who was recently elected as the representative of Tebedu said that when the problem was reported to him he was told that the villagers initially rejected their land being used for road construction.

According to Manyin, when the company offered them lucrative compensation, the villagers agreed and the only ‘trouble makers’ were the ones whose land was not affected.

He said: “They were not part of the group that received RM40 per square metre compensation for land affected to build the timber road, and they demonstrated by blocking the access road.

“They also destroyed a timber bridge,” he said.

But Manyin’s statement was hotly disputed by Bisa Duda, a spokesman of the villagers who demanded Manyin to apologise to them.

His statement that they were not offered the lucrative compensation was considered by the villagers as “insulting and embarrassing”.

Bisa said that the villagers were not interested in the compensation as they do not want the company to encroach into their NCR land.

“We are not after the money. We do not want the company to use our land and the jungle in our area as these are our ancestral properties,” Bisa said.

He accused Manyin of telling lies as the villagers never agreed to and allowed their land to be used for the construction of the timber road.

In Yesterday’s incident, the villagers went to the camp at about 10 am and torched seven machinery, four lorries and five workers’ camps.

The Police who also arrived at the scene could not do anything as they were not only outnumbered, but the villagers were emotional and angry.

When contacted today, one of the leaders who did not want to be identified said that they had to take the law into their own hands as their elected representative and the authorities failed to safeguard their interests.

They had failed to stop the logging activities and the villagers could not tolerate it any more.
“We have made several reports to the authorities and yet the logging activities still continue,” he said, pointing out that their crops, fruit trees and their land have been destroyed.

He also said that they had warned the workers to stop the logging activities, but they simply ignored their warning.

“We give them ample time, and when they fail to adhere to our warning, we have to take action. We have to burn down their camps and machinery.

“We really mean business,” he said.

Serian Police Chief ASP Awangku Ahmaddin Awang Wang who was present at the scene was not available for comment.

It is not certain whether anyone has been arrested.

Monday, May 9

SNAP leaders must resign

By Joseph Tawie (From Free Malaysia Today)

Beleagured SNAP's 'pullout' from Pakatan is 'immaterial' as its current leadership has 'lost all credibility', said a former top party official.

KUCHING: A former Sarawak National Party (SNAP) vice-president has demanded that the party’s entire Central Working Committee including its president Edwin Dundang resign en bloc and take responsibility for the April 16 polls fiasco.

Declining to reveal his name, the former Sarawak Assistant Minister said: “They know who I am … they should all resign.

“They should be courageous enough to claim responsibility for the dismal performances of their candidates who all except one lost their deposits,” he said adding that it was irrelevant whether the party remained in Pakatan Rakyat or not.

The former Julau assemblyman described SNAP’s ties with Pakatan as ‘immaterial’ as party had ‘lost its credibility.’

“Whether SNAP is out of the Pakatan Rakyat or not is immaterial.

“The most important thing is for the CWC members – from the president downward – to resign and elect new committee members in order to bring credibility and integrity to the party.”

He was commenting on reports quoting SNAP secretary-general Stanley Jugol who on Friday said the party had severed its ties with Pakatan.

Jugol was quoted as saying that the 50-year-old SNAP had decided to quit Pakatan after it was sidelined following disagreements on seat allocation.

“We are no longer in Pakatan. We are now on our own,” he had said adding that it was meaningless for the party to remain in the coalition as it was no longer invited to attend any functions or meetings organised by the opposition alliance.

No credibility

Speaking to FMT yesterday, the former SNAP vice president said: “SNAP has lost its credibility and cannot claim itself to represent the Dayaks anymore.

“The recent state election clearly showed that the Dayaks have rejected the party especially under the current leadership.

“SNAP cannot rely on history and its past glory to win back the Dayaks’ support for the party, especially the young Dayaks who do not know even who SNAP’s Stephen Kalong Ningkan was.

“These young people cannot be bothered with past history as they are more interested with what the party can offer them in the future,” he said.

In 1974 SNAP won 18 state seats and nine parliamentary seats in the Dayak majority constituencies. Its leader, Ningkan was made Sarawak’s first chief minister. But their immaculate pedigree was of little use in last month’s polls.

Going into the election SNAP was already at loggerheads with PKR over seat allocation.

Refusing to compromise SNAP went ahead and contested in 27 Dayak majority constituencies with Dundang boastfully declaring they had the support of Dayaks.

In the end 26 candidates including Dundang lost their deposits.

Personal opinion

Meanwhile, Jugol today clarified his Friday statement.

He said it was his personal opinion that SNAP should pull out of Pakatan.

“The CWC members have not met to discuss the issue (pulling out), but I believe it is the general feelings of the CWC members as well as members of the party that it should leave the Pakatan Rakyat.

“What appeared in the local press that the party has severed its ties with the Pakatan Rakyat was my personal opinion,” he added.

Meawnhile Sarawak PKR information chief See Chee How when contacted said that it was not surprising that SNAP pulled out of Pakatan considering what its leaders did and acted before the state election.

He said SNAP had some good grassroots members, whom he thought would be good SNAP leaders in the future.

“But now some of them have started to join PKR… now they realised that the party is only an empty vehicle which is not able to serve the interests of the party and members of the Dayak community,” he said.

Wednesday, May 4

Sarikei longhouses may not be named after headmen

One interesting article appearing in The Borneo Post today (4 May) is about the views expressed by the Resident of Sarikei Michael Dawi Alli on longhouses in the division that may not be named after their headmen.

Michael said: “His office has listed changing the longhouse naming system as one of its key focus activities (KFA) for this year’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

“A special meeting would be held for all longhouse chiefs in the division soon,” he said.

Michael mentioned the proposal during the meeting between community leaders and Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum in Pakan on Saturday.

He explained that the idea was mooted because of administrative problems caused by the naming of longhouses after their respective Tuai Rumah.

The most common problem was that longhouse names needed to be changed whenever a new longhouse chief was appointed.

“This is where and when such problems surface. This can happen many times to a longhouse and when there is no effort made to update the records with the authorities concerned, many problems crop up.

“The postal service provider will face problems in delivering mails or parcels as the names of the longhouses do not exist in their records.

“Similarly, the various agencies face problems in tracing residents after they change their longhouse names,” he said.

The Resident’s office has suggested longhouse be named after geographical features such as river, place or mountain, he said as these names would remain even if all the residents moved out.

This is a very good suggestion by the Resident of Sarikei Division, a suggestion other divisions should adopt.

The only longhouses in Kota Samarahan, Kuching and some in Sri Aman divisions where they are named after trees, rivers, mountains and even animals. They are called Kampung Gayau, Kampung Isu, Kampung Sematong (a type of jambu), Kampung Sibau, Kampung Nangka, Kampung Sungai Pinang, Kampung Jagu, Kampung Tekura, and so on.

But in other divisions like Betong, Sibu, Kapit, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang, the longhouses are named after their headmen.

Their biggest problem is that they need to change their identity cards with the change in the names of their longhouses. When they register themselves as voters, they need to update their ICs now and then following the change in their longhouse chiefs.

The problem now has been made worse when the government appoints longhouse chiefs and replaces them once a while.

The longhouse people no longer elect their own headmen.

Michael’s suggestion is really food for thought.