Friday, March 30

PKR cautiously welcomes Rio Tinto’s decision

KUCHING:   Sarawak PKR today advised the people of Sarawak especially those living in Similajau near Bintulu not to be too happy with the decision of Rio Tinto to pull out of the agreement with CMS to build an aluminium smelting plant.

“We cautiously welcome the decision of Rio Tinto Alcan to pull out of the proposed RM7 billion aluminium smelting plant project in Similajau, Bintulu,” said PKR vice-chairman See Chee How when commenting on the decision of Rio Tinto and CMS to scrap the decision to build the smelter project.

“Losing the ‘anchor’ aluminium smelting plant project could be a blessing in disguise as it is opportune for the Sarawak state government to review its decision and drop its plan to construct the 12 mammoth (hydro-electric) dams in Sarawak.

“However, we are aware that Press Metal Sarawak may step in to replace Rio Tinto Alcan,” said See, who is the Batu Lintang Assemblyman.

“Together with the other multi-national conglomerates which are interested to exploit our cheaper hydropower resources and our relaxed environmental protection legislatures and policies, Sarawak will be pervaded by the world most polluting industries in aluminium smelting, manganese smelting, ferro-alloy smelting and polycrystalline silicon plant.

“Until today, Sarawakians are kept in the dark as to the environmental impact these industries will have on the state and the Similajau region in particular.

“Further, we are sceptical that these industries will create job opportunities for local Sarawakians as it is reliably learned that one of the manganese smelting companies had doubted the capability of locals to withstand the heat and it has already engaged an employment agency to recruit workers from India and China.

“In addition, these industries will not be generating revenues for the state as they are enjoying a 10-years tax exemption which is the very reasons these industries are setting up their smelting plants in Sarawak.

“Besides, Sarawak provides the cheap hydropower resources and that other countries are imposing stringent environmental protection and conservation measures on these industries,” he said.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, whose family owns the CMS, is not worried about the termination of the agreement between CMS and Rio Tinto as there are two other investors waiting on the list.

It is reliably learnt that Press Metal is one of them. After all it has already set up its first plant in Mukah and has been in operation since September 2009 producing some 300,000 metric tonnes of various aluminium products.

Press Metal is a Malaysian-based aluminium company with extensive global presence. From modest beginnings as private owned local aluminium Extrusion Company in 1986, Press Metal has come a long way to become a public listed global integrated aluminium player in the world today.

The existence of this plant in Mukah came to light last year after  longhouse residents at Rumah Bansan, and five other longhouses in  Mukah,   claimed they have been suffering from a ‘mysterious’ illness causing their skins to be itchy, various skin diseases, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties and other health problems.

Fish, vegetables, fruit trees and the surrounding areas are also affected, claimed the villagers.

The villagers alleged that the source of their illness came from the nearby aluminium plant.

Wednesday, March 28

More for Jabu, Fadillah Yusof and Billy Abit

KUCHING: Sarawak Youth Keadilan has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) against Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang and Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and PBB Youth chief Fadillah Yusof and MP for Hulu Rajang Billy Abit Joo for allegedly enriching themselves at the expense of the people.

Led by its youth chief Ahmad Najib, the PKR youth urged the MACC to carry out an immediate investigation against the three public figures following allegations made by Sarawak Report.

“The allegations are very serious, and the MACC must conduct an immediate investigation,” Ahamd said.

According to Ahamd, the MACC might contact him in the next few days for his statement to be taken.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Report alleged that Jabu, Fadillah and Billy have extravagant wealth which contrasts so painfully with the poverty of their constituents.

“It is indeed remarkable that so much of the plunder that has been carried out by BN YBs has been against their own people in their own constituencies.

“It seems a BN YB likes nothing better than to champion the ‘development’ of their constituency, through land grabs, logging and plantations, so that they can exploit their political influence to steal as much of the profit as possible.

“What BN YBs never do is work to make sure that a fair share of those profits goes back to their own native communities, who have lost their lands and their living to the so-called ‘development’.

 “These BN YBs think that they can keep the communities obedient, as long as they pay small salaries and kickbacks to the local longhouse chiefs, threaten with penalties and job losses if they allow their people to vote against BN.

“This was the point of Wargana Consortium, which Awang Tengah alleged was owned by the people of Bakun, but which turns out to be owned by MP Billy Abit Joo and his business cronies, along with one share each for local headmen,” said Sarawak Report.

Likewise Jabu has amassed a vast series of plantations, which he has put into the hands of his family, much of which is native customary land, allegedly snatched from his local people in his local region of Betong.

The Report listed a number of companies allegedly owned by Jabu and his family members which include Durafarm, KACC construction which contracts worth more than RM500,000, Durayield, Sarako (timber company), Jarenang Sdn Bhd (which was awarded 36,000 hectares of timber), Obyu Holdings, Utahol (plantation), Herba Aromatics (plantation),  Tintingmas (construction) Sdn Bhd, Javel engineering.

Fadillah’s family members have also some shares in those companies.

 “Has anyone explained to these greedy BN YBs that it is a highly corrupt conflict of interest for elected MPs to be involved in any way in companies that are receiving state contracts and lands that have been taken from their own constituencies?” asked Sarawak Report.

Likewise,  Billy Abit Joo has not just contented himself with massive timber concessions and stealing control of his local people’s ‘cooperative’, Wargana Consortium he too has set up a company, Sarabrand Sdn Bhd to take on more state contracts, despite the corrupted conflict of interest this represents.

Sarabrand Sdn Bhd has received a goodly amount of contracts worth RM35 million handed out by the state under the guise of ‘bringing development to the people’.

“No wonder Billy Abit Joo says he wants to hang on as the MP for the Bakun area.  He must surely have his eye on all those future possible contracts, that will, of course, be branded as ‘helping his people benefit’ from the dam,” said Sarawak Report.

Sunday, March 25



*PLEASE bring along your own pencil ERASER. It is VITAL that we get this information across to as many people as possible.

*Just take note, people...  Read on. *

*The Voter Agent training recently conducted at the PJ Civic Centre brought to the fore some very critical issues which every voter ought to know. *

*These are as follows:

1.    As soon as you enter the polling station, you will be ushered to Kerani 1, who will check your personal identity against your NRIC. He/she will then read out your name, NRIC number and the Siri/Bilangan number in accordance to the list provided by the Election Commission (SPR).

2.      Once all that is verified, Kerani 1 will pass your NRIC to the next officer, Kerani 2.

3.      Here, Kerani 2 will hand you a ‘Kertas Undi,’ which is identified by its Serial Number. As a voter, please know your rights. You have the constitutional right under our Election Laws to NOT accept the ‘Kertas Undi’ that the officer assigns to you. You CAN and should ask for a different ‘Kertas Undi’ from a different book. To do that, just say to the officer, “Encik (or Cik), saya minta Kertas Undi dari buku lain atau dari bawah.” Translated, that is, “Sir (or Madam), I like to request a different ballot paper from a different book or from below.” This must be done so that the voter CANNOT be identified via the SPR’s master list. It will take just ONE voter to upset the whole sequence**, which will eventually affect the SPR’s master list for that voting centre. The aim of doing this is to SAFEGUARD every voter’s identity. No one has the right to know how you want to vote.

4.      Once your ‘Kertas Undi’ is issued to you, just stand there and do NOT leave immediately. Instead please CHECK BOTH SIDES of the ballot paper in order to ensure that there are NO pencil markings or any other form of suspicious markings on it. If there are, REJECT the ballot paper issued to you and instead request for these markings to be either erased to your satisfaction or for you to be issued with a new ‘Kertas Undi.’ Also do NOT accept any loose-lying ‘Kertas Undi,’ which may have been strewn about because it was rejected by someone else earlier. ALWAYS ask for a fresh ballot paper from the book. An alternative, as suggested by certain other people via email, is to bring along your own eraser so that when you see any pencil marks, you can rub them off completely yourself.

5.      Kerani 2 will then hand the ‘Kertas Undi’ to the next officer, Kerani 3. Kerani 3 carries a seal, which will be used to stamp your ‘Kertas Undi.’ PLEASE watch carefully that the officer stamps your ballot paper FULLY and CLEARLY. After that, see that it is folded into two before the ballot paper is handed over to you.

6.      You can now proceed to the voting booth.

7.      At the booth, please ensure that the ballot paper has only your ONE marking of a single X. If for whatever reason, suspicious or otherwise, you overlooked some pencil marks of numbers or markings on the front or back of the ballot paper (ie other than your own mark), please ERASE those markings completely. REMEMBER, these markings can and will render your ballot spoilt – so be extra cautious. The most careful approach is to check your ‘Kertas Undi’ thoroughly before you accept it from the officer. REMEMBER to check it in front of the relevant officer so that if you have to reject it, he is right in front of you.

8.      Do not be afraid or cower in fear when you have to express your objections because there are representatives from the various participating political parties who will be there to observe the whole voting process and they are there to assist you as and when you need.

As mentioned earlier, it is this kind of information that BN/UMNO does not want others to know. They thrive on public ignorance so that they can do whatever they feel like brazenly.

One way to stop them is to send this information to as many of your friends as possible so that everyone, on voting day, knows exactly what to do, knows his/her constitutional voting rights and is aware of Print this out and keep it safely. When Voting Day finally arrives, it will be handy for you to access and read again.*

Thursday, March 22

Sarawak PKR says Salcra is short changing native landowners

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR has accused the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) of short changing native participants in its schemes.

Nicholas Bawin, who leads the party’s Lubok Antu division, said that despite Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang’s “big talk” about dividends accruing from the Salcra oil palm estates, the payout to the natives was paltry.

He cited the amount received by families living in Rumah Empirong, the 30-door longhouse he comes from. “This year, each family is getting only RM350.”

Bawin was commenting on a recent statement by Jabu that Salcra’s profits were high because of prudent management. Jabu said the 16,374 landowners participating in Salcra schemes would receive RM100.9 million in dividends this year.

Salcra was established in 1976. It has about 51,000 hectares planted with oil palm. However, Bawin said, it had brought little benefit to native landowners.

“Salcra is supposed to help the poor native landowners, but with the small dividends they receive each year, how can their economic wellbeing be improved?” he said. “Is it worthwhile for the NCR (native customary rights) landowners to participate in Salcra?”

Bawin is a former deputy president of the Council of Dayak Customs and Traditions.

He also complained about the unreliability of water supply to 21 longhouses in the Batang Ai resettlement scheme. These longhouses were transferred from areas now submerged by the Batang Ai dam.

Bawin said there should not be any problem supplying water to these families because the source is the huge Lemanak River. “But what we experience regularly is that there are often interruptions of water supply to our homes.” -  Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT: Who is to be blamed for this blunder? Of course Jabu, as he is the man who has personally selected someone as general manager who lacks experience as an oil palm planter. He is only an accountant? Or did he pass it?

Because of his lack of experience Salcra oil palm estates have not progressed. Not even a plant had been planted under its expansion programme in the eighth, ninth and tenth Malaysia Plans. But the GM is very arrogant blaming everybody for his failures. Most of the senior staffs who have been with Salcra for the last 20 to 30 years are really expert on oil palm plantation, but the GM would not listen to them.

Many could not tolerate his arrogance so they either asked for early retirement or asked to be transferred to other departments which need their expertise. Now filling those posts are mostly his relatives or cronies who are given much higher salaries than the senior civil servant in Salcra. The way it looks, Salcra is not making money. But it is projected to pay millions of ringgit of dividends.

Now that Land Development Minister is back to control Salcra, he should do something about it before it is too late.

What do the readers think?

Tuesday, March 20

HINDRAF Chair Waytha Moorthy: Time to correct historical wrongs. Time to dismantle Article 153

Good evening to all participants of Forum on “Article 153 of Federal Constitution and Equality of All Ethnic Communities”. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to present my thoughts on this taboo subject in Malaysia.

The supreme law of our country is the written Federal Constitution of Malaysia drafted by the British along with the then elites of Malaya. Any law or policies that do not adhere to this written law would become redundant as it would be unconstitutional.

Several articles from the Constitution that contradicts Article 153 in its manipulation can be observed in Articles 5, 8, 10, 11, 12 by the conduct of the present-day government, not a situation that prevailed at the time it was written.

Under article 153, His Royal Highness, the Yang Dipertuan Agong is expected to protect the “special position” of Malays, not “right” to do the following:-

• To exercise his functions under the Federal Constitution in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special position of the Malays and Natives;

• To ensure the reservation for the Malays and Natives of positions in the public service, scholarship, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges, any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law in such proportion as he may deem reasonable;

• To ensure reservation for the Malays and Natives of places in any university, college and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) or its equivalent in such proportion as he may deem reasonable in the event the number of qualified person for any course or  study is more than the number of places available.
The responsibility conferred to the His Royal Highness (HRH) is subject to clause (2) of article 153. Clause (2) provides that the responsibility shall be exercised by HRH the Yang Dipertuan Agong in accordance with article 40. The authority to protect the “special position” to HRH in article 153 is not exercisable by HRH at his discretion at all, but only on the advice of the Cabinet or any Minister acting under the general power of the Cabinet or the ruling government.

How these powers have been usurped by the present government defeats any reasonability for its people and its citizenry on the basis of human rights and purported democracy in Malaysia.

If you look closely, the injection of “reasonableness” into Article 153 to protect the “Special position” of the Malays shows the yesteryear on the predicament of the Malays then, and not the current scenario in 2012 for all Malaysians and those who are jus soli.

It is expressly stated in Article 153(1) that “It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interest of other communities”.

The legitimate interests of other communities provided by the Constitution have been totally disregarded the phrase ‘legitimate interest of other communities’ means that original intention of the federal constitution does not allow simply any kind of preferential treatment in favour of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak similar to a ‘blank check’, but merely confers reasonable powers on the government and parliament, pursuant to Article 153 under the purview of the Agong, to act reasonably without derogating from the principle of equality and equal protection of the law.

Such is the current scenario where 90% of the public service, scholarship for education, 80% of business permits are solely tailored and allocated for the majority Malays.

Clause (9) in Article 153 says 'Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays.'

If that is the case, then why do government projects should be awarded only to majority Bumiputra owned or where we have directive in law firms that you will need a Bumi Partner with more than 51 % ownership before a firm is accepted into any panelship to provide legal work in government related agencies which later stretched itself into the many other private industries such as finance, shipping, oil & gas, insurance, education and banking industry with such directive. 

The manoeuvred special position and the manipulation of Article 153 have even entrenched itself into the private sectors, the executive branch of the democracy organ, the judiciary including cultural and religious practice that seems oblivious to protect the legitimate interest of other communities that form part of the nation.

Article 153 is bound to Review 15 Years after the Implementation of the Constitution In revisiting the archives, it was very clear that the Alliance and the Reid Commission had every intention for Article 153 to be a transitional one to be reviewed after 15 years.

This is what Sir Alan Lennox-Boyd represented in the House of Commons on the 12th July 1957 said.

Now, a word about the balance achieved between the rights of Malays and Chinese. The special position of the Malays was recognized in the original treaties made by His Majesty in previous years, and Her Majesty Queen Victoria and others with the Malay States. It was reaffirmed when these treaties were revised. It was confirmed in the 1948 Agreement, and reference was expressly made to it in the terms of reference of the Reid Commission. So the Malay privilege clauses in the articles of the Constitution do not, in the main, introduce any precedent, but give recognition in the Constitution to the existing situation.

Observation - This statement was made deliberately to mislead the House of Commons into agreeing the provisions of the special privileges for the Malays. The original treaties with the Malay Rulers only state that the Sultan has to accept all advice given by residents except in matters involving the Islam religion and Malay custom. There was no mention of Malay privileges in the treaties.
This was what the Secretary for colonies had to say to justify the permanent feature of the Special position in the Constitution.

The Reid Commission found very little opposition in any quarter in Malaya to the continuance of the present system for a time, and it made certain recommendations which hon. Members will have read. The Alliance Government—this was accepted by the three parties composing the Alliance—wanted a number of changes, which have been made. They relate mostly to quotas in the public service, to permits, scholarships, and land reservations.

Very generally, the proposal to review the quotas after fifteen years has been dropped within the framework in the constitution. The responsibility of the High Commissioner is transferred to the Head of State, but—and it is a genuine safeguard for other races—the Head of State will act on the advice of the Cabinet, and the Cabinet is bound to be sensitive to the feeling of public opinion at any time.

HINDRAF is of opinion that the non-Malays were short-changed and irresponsibly left at the mercy of the majority Malay politicians and the Head of State by the British Government at that juncture. Even in 1957 the component parties, MCA and MIC were held at ransom by UMNO. The British Government conducted Legislative Council elections in 1955 where apparently alliance swept into power with overwhelming majority and confidence of the Malayan electorate. This was a sham as almost 90% of eligible Chinese and Indian voters were denied their right to vote in the elections. MCA and MIC had depended on UMNO to win the elections on the seats they contested. Justification for such an unbalanced and inhumane provision is against basic tenet of human liberty.

UMNO distorted the Federal Constitution and deprive other communities of their legitimate interests Malaysia is a secular country and in their representation to Reid Commission in 1956, the Rulers have specifically agreed that Islam should be for ceremonial purpose and that they did not intend to make Malaysia an Islamic state nor dilute the basic human rights of Non Malays in Malaysia to live a life without fear, favour or restriction.

The original Federal Constitution only bears a biased mirror of its original model against the minorities on a pretext of Article 153 for the benefits of the UMNO-based politicians.

In real terms, the poor and marginalized communities, including those aborigines, have been recolonized by the UMNO Malay ultras for their hegemony at the expense of human liberty and human rights for Malaysians.

HINDRAF is not against fellow Malays, but as a representative of a Malaysian nation, it stands tall to ensure that human liberty and freedom should not be subjected to one’s race, religion or creed, but to ensure equality is across the board, starting with the poor and marginalized. In this light, HINDRAF stresses the need to have a special economic and social program to specifically tailor for the almost 800,000 displaced estate workers who contributed to this country’s economy for almost 200 years, who today live in shacks and rumah panjangs as illegal squatters. They live a life of indignity as a result of institutionalized racism practised by UMNO for the last 55 years. We speak for the marginalized Indians on this need. Likewise we welcome all other groups to similarly speak for the respective communities they represent, and let us all join forces in a concerted manner, to fight the injustice perpetrated by UMNO under its 55 years’ rule.

Article 153 conveniently forgot the Orang Asal’s who were the aborigines of Malaya, the Chinese Babas, and Indian Chittys of Malacca who were all part of the early Malayan people. Migrant Indonesians were given citizenships as early as the 1950’s as the Malays felt threatened with the number of the Chinese community.

Are we to be treated as “pendatang” and “second class citizens” forever? After 55 years of Merdeka, millions of other Malaysians, just like me, are sons of this soil, but we are permanently termed as pendatangs and treated as second class citizens. Given another 45 years, when we celebrate our 100th Anniversary Independence celebrations, we would still be pendatangs.

What do we tell our great grandchildren when they question us as to why we are termed pendatangs. They would be the 8th – 10 generation Malaysians then.

The non-Malays may account to about 15-20% by then, if we are lucky, as a result of Bangladeshi’s, Pakistanis, Philippines, and Indonesians being made Bumiputras simply because they are Muslims. Sabah and Sarawak too would be filled with Muslims from the region and they would be equally disenfranchised.

The elite and upper class Chinese and Indians would be settled overseas. We can see this trend even this day. The remaining non-Malays and Borneo natives would be the underclass. The Malays who believe that their race is the master race just like the Nazis, would treat the non’s like slaves. I dread to imagine that day. More temples, Churches and Chinese temples would be demolished. I can imagine The Scott road Hindu temple would be demolished as there would be no more Indian elites left in the country, and the government would justify their demolitions, as this temple sits at a prime location. The Chinese temples in the caves along Jalan Kuala Kangsar Ipoh would have been history, as they would say the caves did not belong to the Buddhists. The familiar “illegal temples” term would then stick on to Chinese temples and Christian churches.

The Hindraf's law suit against the British is much more than the demand for compensation for the Indian communityHINDRAF is pursuing the legal civil suit against the British government. It is with merit as there is clear negligence on the part of the past British rulers and the conduct of the present government for the last 55 years, without safeguarding the interest of the non-Malays, who continue to face uncertainty and regression in their socio-economic development due to the maligned provision of Article 153. When it comes up in the UK courts, the case would reveal the deceit and manipulation of Britain and UMNO. Winning or losing the case does not matter, but Malaysians must be given the chance to prove the truth. On behalf of Hindraf, I invite all lovers of truth, justice, equality and democracy to join us, and contribute in whatever ways possible to that end. The civil case in Britain should not only be an Indian case for reparations, but a case of all Malaysians who care for the future. We must build Malaysia as a home for our grandchildren to live in peace and equality. Let not our grandchildren suffer the indignity and racial prejudice we have suffered from birth to death.

The Malays must understand that a provision favouring their race as the supreme race which deserves something better than others, is really a conspiracy of the elite, and everybody loses - Malays Chinese, Indians, Orang Asals and the Borneons. Article 153 is evil in nature. 

All religions in the world and conventions and covenants of the United Nations speak about equality of all human beings. The Yang Dipertuan Agong is falsely placed in a difficult position to perpetuate this conspiracy. The legality of Article 159 (5) which restricts amendments to Article 153  is disputable as the Agong is a Constitutional monarch, who is bound to act upon the directions of a 2/3 amendment to the Constitution.

I call upon the Yang Dipertuan Agong (Malaysian King) to openly call his Government and Cabinet to introduce a bill in Parliament with a view to amending Article 153 and restoring the lost dignity of all Malaysians for the past 55 years.
There can be no dignity without equality.

Thank you.

P. Waytha Moorthy 

(Note: Subtitles are added by the editor)

Sunday, March 18

Land grabs: More natives take law into their hands

KUCHING:    Sarawak DAP today warned that more and more frustrated landowners taking the law into their hands as the state government continued to take advantage of the law to take away native customary rights land from the natives.

“The clear example was an incident in Simunjan on March 13, 2012 when several machineries belonging to Tabong Haji were burnt down allegedly by angry native landowners,” said DAP Secretary Chong Chieng Jen.

“I think the administration of NCR land by the state government is appalling on the way it is dishing out land and giving it to crony companies of state assemblymen resulting in a lot of dissatisfaction and frustration.

“The government is using the law and amending it to its advantage and taking advantage over the native landowners.

“That is why nowadays there are demonstrations against the government in respect of their NCR land,” said Chong, who is the Kota Sentosa and MP for Bandar Kuching.

He said that there are more than 200 NCR land cases in court whereby the landowners are seeking claims on their NCR land, pointing out that going to court is not the way to solve the problem.

“The only way to solve the problem is to change the policy; otherwise we are seeing more and more frustrated landowners taking the law in their own hands.

“The clear example is the Simunjan case where by some machineries of Tabong Haji were burnt a few days ago,” he added, saying that the government was trying to cover up the incident and all the main stream media did not report it.

“I think this is not the way to solve the problems, because at the end of the day more conflicts and more unhappy incidents and even violence will happen. This is something we do not wish to see,” he said.

Chong was commenting on the failure of 65 landowners from Balai Ringin who wished to see the Director of Lands and Surveys at the Land and Survey Headquarters on Friday morning to find out the status their complaints.

Two months ago the same landowners met with the officers of Lands and Surveys regarding their land which they claimed was leased to companies without their knowledge.

“Today the same group came down to find out the status of the investigation when they received no response from the department.

“What happened is that we were stopped by the guards and were not allowed to enter the Land and Survey headquarters even when it was raining heavily.

“We were all drenched outside.  And after waiting for more than three hours, we had no choice but to burst into the building. And only then a legal officer of the department came to see me and a few of the landowners,” said Chong.

He said that the director was not in and advised the landowners to write in making an appointment in one month’s time.

“I told him that one month is too long and the landowners will come back in two weeks’ time. They will campaign near the Land and Survey Headquarters until the director comes to see them,” he said.

During the meeting, Chong urged the officer to ask his department to issue a stop order against the companies from carrying out works in the affected NCR land.

The officer promised to look into it.

In January, some 50 landowners led by Augustine Bagat met with officials of the Lands and Surveys at its headquarters in Kuching urging the department to withdrawal the provisional leases on their land awarded to a number of companies having close links with the state government leaders.

One of the companies is allegedly owned by the former Kedup assemblyman, Frederick Bayoi Manggie.

His company is said to have been awarded 5,500 acres of land, the bulk of it is NCR land.

Friday, March 16

Why are we angry?

SIBU:  Why are we so angry when some people say that the Ibans eat worms, fried insects, and so on?

I was at the Central Market in Sibu recently when I saw an old lady selling worms which she collected from durian leaves. These worms feed on young durian leaves.

When I asked her the old lady said that these worms which she had poured hot water on them are selling like hot cakes in Sibu.

One plate costs RM5.00.

That morning alone she earned some RM100.00.

She said Ibans, Chinese and other natives like to eat these worms which they say are tastier than the sago works.

She asked me to taste one of the worms, but I politely turned down the offer.

She said that those worms could be fried just like you fry sago worms.

Anyone interested can purchase the worms from her at the Sibu Central market.

Tuesday, March 13

16 tractors torched by Iban landowners

KUCHING:   Sixteen excavators/tractors worth several million ringgits belonging to Tabong Haji (TH) were alleged to have been torched by Iban landowners early this morning.

The incident happened between Kpg. Temiang and Kpg. Keniong, Simunjan/Punda road, Simunjan.

More than 300 landowners from about 20 longhouses were alleged to have been present in the area. So far five persons have been arrested.

The majority of 300 landowners insisted of being arrested in order to show their solidarity and at the same time they wanted to be fed by the Police.

A spokesman for the landowners said that Tabong Haji and its workers have been warned not to encroach into their land and to destroy their farms and fruit trees.

Several Police reports have been lodged against Tabong Haji, but the Police have not responded to their complaints.

Two weeks ago, the landowners brought their case to the Human Rights Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) in a public hearing in Serian.

Contacted by FMT, Dominique Ng, a legal counsel for the landowners said that he was informed that 16 excavators or tractors were burnt, pointing out that it could be the work of the workers themselves in order to put the blame on the landowners.

He said that the landowner had accused the TH of relentless and illegal encroachments into their NCR land despite many protests by the natives and continued to destroy their farms and fruit trees.

Ng, the former Padungan assemblyman said that it was also the same area where Rimunan Hijau had amicably settled the dispute with the landowners in court.

Ng was their lawyer.

Several NCR land cases in Sarawak are involved TH and Pelita, many of which are pending hearing in the High Court.

Meanwhile, the Officer in Charge of Simunjan Police station was not available for comment.

Monday, March 12

Baru Bian on Iban

KUCHING:  Another ‘Marina Undau’ dilemma has come back to haunt the Iban children whose fathers are Ibans and mothers are Chinese as they are not considered Ibans. 

Thus, their applications to study in UiTM are rejected.

What happened to Marina in 2009 occurred again to Esther Bartholomew whose father is an Iban from Nanga Bunut in Kanowit district and her mother is a Chinese. Her application to study at University Teknologi Mara (UiTM) has been rejected as she considered non-Iban.

Reacting to this, Sarawak PKR Chief Baru Bian made a very strong appeal to both the Federal and State governments to amend the Federal Constitution and Sarawak constitution in respect of offspring between a native a non-native.

“The law must be clear on this,” he said, saying that he caught by this news where an Iban is not an Iban

“I think this is the issue of Iban father married a Chinese and the daughter cannot get into UiTM because she was told she is not an Iban. 

“You recall this was a big issue about Marina Undau a few years back. You recall I brought it up the issue in the last sitting of the State Assembly, and our stand then and still now is that the law on this must be made clear.

“And therefore it is important that the law – the Federal and State constitutions – must be amended in order to make it very clear,” he added.

“I mentioned it in the Assembly sitting, and I was told that it was a (Federal) cabinet decision. I told the assembly that it will not prevent the same incident to occur in the future,” said Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan Assemblyman.

“Now exactly the same problem, the  same scenario happened so therefore again we call for amendment to the relevant laws to make it very clear  otherwise you are dealing with the matter piece by piece, which will cause  lot of problems and trauma for those just this lady.

“Her entry to university will be delayed again for another term or another year,” he said.

Article 161A (6) the Federal constitution says “in this Article ‘native means – 

(a)  In relation to Sarawak, a person whom is a citizen and either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the state or is of mixed blood deriving exclusively from those races;

 “(7)   The races to be treated for the purposes of definition of ‘native’ in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kelabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Malanos, Murut, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits”.

 (Sea Dayak, Land Dayak and Murut have been changed to Iban, Bidayuh and Lun Bawang respectively).

Meanwhile, Esther’s father Bartholomew Aji Lanyau claimed that UiTM student selection committee had told her that she was not a bumiputera because her mother is Chinese.

He said that he could not afford to send his daughter to a private college as his income as a retiree was insufficient to cover the cost.

Esther, 23, has written an appeal to Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang, Land Development Minister James Masing and Social Development Minister William Mawan Ikom and the state education department.

In the letter she said that a Malaysian like her whose father is a Dayak should be recognised as a bumiputera following a decision made by the federal cabinet on Marina’s case.

She is yet to receive any reply.

Like Marina’s case, Esther’s non-bumiputera issue is certain to cause uproar in Sarawak especially when the general election is around the corner.
COMMENT:  Why are our Iban leaders who speak vehemently against small issues like eating fried ants, sago worms, etc and wearing Apai Saloi’s loin clothes are keeping quiet?  Why bother to deprive Frusis Lebi of his entitled welfare allowance?

They should come together and urge the government to change the law. Show to UMNO and PBB that we are united, and only then they will respect us.

Otherwise thousands of Iban children from mixed marriages cannot be considered as Ibans and will lose all the so-called privileges granted to Ibans, if there are any.

Saturday, March 10

MACC report lodged against Masing and Mong

(No wonder Masing and Mong regard themselves as towkays. Read the following story)

KUCHING:  After being exposed for writing letters to Heads of Department of Agriculture and Department of Welfare to cancel subsidies and welfare assistance to handicapped Frusis Lebi for supporting the Opposition, which caused an uproar in Sarawak, yet another scandal involved the assistant minister is being exposed by Sarawak Report.

This time it involved an alleged fraud land deal, where he allegedly asked for ‘kickback’ of RM70 million from the sale of 70,000 acres of land belonging to his own constituents.

The land at Kelingkang Range, Bukit Begunan, Sri Aman was to be developed into an oil palm plantation.

In a letter dated  June 18, 1997 allegedly written by Mong, he asked for RM1000 per acre from Megarume Sdn Bhd and after deduction of the up front to LCDA the balance would be divided 50% to him and 50% to one Kho Chee Pheng (broker).

“I also agree that any of the three companies, Noble Reserves Sdn Bhd, Noble Resources Sdn Bhd or Noble Rewards Sdn Bhd to be used for the joint venture with the investors. Together herewith I enclosed my personal and curriculum vitae and also three photocopies of our nominees identity cards, namely Bawang Ak Deru (IC NO.660424-13-5886), Leyta Kupa (IC NO.651120-5532) and Henry Yan Masing (IC NO.KP553094) for you to register into any of the three companies,” Mong was alleged to have written.

According to Sarawak Report, Bawang Ak Deru is Mong’s wife, while Leyta Kupa in the wife of Wilson Ugak and Henry Yan Masing is James Masing’s brother. All the three are directors of Noble Rewards Sdn Bhd.

Based on Sarawak Report, the women wing of Sarawak PKR this afternoon lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against Land Development Minister and President of Parti Rakyat Sarawak James Masing and Dagang for alleged misuse and abuse of power in a land deal.

Lodging the report on behalf of the wing was Nurhanim Mokshen who handed over some documents, letters and reports.

Nurhanim who is head of the wing called on MACC to investigate the allegation and to investigate the allegation and take necessary actions to clear the names of the minister and the assistant minister or to commence the process of cleaning up our public offices.

She was accompanied by a lawyer Simon Siah.

The MACC told them that the Commission was aware of the case and had been instructed to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, when contacted NCR land lawyer See Chee How confirmed that the area is already subject to court case brought against the partners and LCDA by the native landowners who had rejected first the logging and then the plantation of their land.

See, who is also the Batu Lintang assemblyman said that more than 50% of the landowners had rejected the plantation and many had also rejected the paltry RM1,000 per family that had been offered for the areas valuable timber by these politicians.

Nevertheless the project was pushed through by Masing and Dagang on the basis that the local people would benefit.

“It surely comes as little surprise that the native landowners are yet to receive any dividends from the enterprise after the first six years.

“This qualifies as fraud,” said See because Dagang and Masing had been trying to convince people they would be able to take a 30% share of the joint venture and share the profits in return for their land.

They tell the people ‘let the LCDA develop your land and you will get 30% of the joint venture and profit. However, the people were not told about this huge kickback. Under the joint venture that money should have been shared among the people, not paid to nominees of the very politicians who were talking them into the scheme,” See said.