28 Jun 2012

Justice Versus The Law In Sarawak

Justice Versus The Law In Sarawak

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

Ulu Niah (previous story) - Is it just that the courts are so often failing to protect the rights of poor local communities against the greedy land grabs of Taib's timber and plantation cronies?

All human beings can understand justice. Where there is injustice it is up to our law-makers to legislate to prevent it and then for our courts to uphold those laws.

But in Sarawak, where growing numbers of poor communities are being forced to desperate measures to save their lands and livelihoods, we often see the courts enabling the laws to work against the justice they were designed to uphold.

Take, for example, the recent crucial High Court ruling against a joint petition by Penan and Kelabit people in Limbang to save their forest lands from the greed of Taib’s timber and plantation cronies.

The companies concerned represent some of the Chief Minister’s key business cronies, who have been happy to reward him and his family with huge payouts, shares and hefty subsidies at election time to help him bribe the small number of people in Sarawak that he has risked entitling to vote.

Penan and Kelabit communities unite against Taib's greedy logging and plantation cronies to save their Native Customary Lands

For example, Ravenscourt Sdn Bhd is owned by the billionaire Yaw family of the timber giant, Samling Global (who have handed a tenth of their company shares to Taib’s cousin Hamed Sepawi and to his Bomoh, Ahmad Suut), while Billion Venture Sdn Bhd, belongs to another of Taib’s wealthy cronies, the Hii family.

No duty to inform?

Land slides - this log pond created by one of the Defendants in the action the company Lee Ling Sdn Bhd caused great damage crashing into the river in Limbang

The communities, represented by the Native rights lawyer and PKR State Assembly member See Chee How, made the valid complaint that their lands had been cut down and destroyed by Samling and then planted with oil palm by the Hiis.

The timber licence had been handed out by Taib’s government as early as 1984, while the plantation licences had been issued in 2004 and then another in 2010.

The Penan and Kelabits of Long Napir and Kampung Bahagia explained that the Defendants:

“Entered, encroached and trespassed into their NCR lands to cut and harvest timbers and to maintain planted forests for merchantable timbers”.

It comes as little surprise that the billionaire businessmen had not even compensated the poor people for this destruction and disturbance.

Surely, all human beings would understand the simple justice of the plea of these communities that they:

“have a legitimate expectation that their rights, traditions, cultures and livelihoods would not be disrupted and that they had a right to be heard before the licenses were issued ….[and] that as natives of Sarawak they should have been given the lands instead of the Defendants” [Civil No MR-21-4-2011 High Court, Miri]

Indeed, such rights are not only enshrined in Sarawak’s Native Customary Laws, but in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Malaysia is a signatory.

However, the judge in this case identified a major ‘flaw’ in the plaintiff’s arguments.  A case, which Samling, Billion Venture and their co-defendants in the State Government had already chosen to describe as “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious” !

Did't you know to find yourself a lawyer? Surely, it is the duty of the government to assist and inform indigenous peoples when their lands are being encroached!

The judge pointed out that the natives of Limbang had failed to file their legal complaint within the 36 month period allowed under the law.

He defined that period as having begun from the moment Taib’s Forestry and Land & Survey Departments had issued the licences to their pet business-partners and political supporters.

Now everyone knows that in Sarawak such licences are far from publicised or held up for tender!  To the contrary they are handed out secretively and in return for kickbacks and shares for Taib family members.

So, we ask how were the locals in the distant forests of Limbang to know these licences had been issued to log and plant their native lands?

Often such licences are carefully sat on for years by the canny recipients for this very reason.  By the time they turn up causing trouble on the land the period for complaint will have expired!

So, how can this ruling represent justice?

In any genuinely democratic country there would be a strict obligation on the body issuing the licence (in this case the State Government of Sarawak and the Forestry Department) to consult and notify the local people well in ADVANCE of any timber or plantation licences being issued.

We don't regard this as a legitimate form of protest - you need to hire an expensive lawyer and launch a proper civil action against the billion dollar logging companies before we can recognise the villagers' complaints!

Failure to do so amounts to mere trickery and fraud.  How are the barefoot people of Sarawak’s jungle supposed to check each day in the Forest Department of Kuching as to whether a licence may have suddenly been issued on their native lands?

Yet, the judge goes even further.  He acknowledges in his own judgment:

“the fact that they [the natives] might not know the exact date when the licenses were issued”,

but he opines that they should have at least taken action once they became aware that people were logging in their jungle and trespassing their lands.

Clearly, the waves of blockades, brutally suppressed by the police, did not constitute the form of complaint and action that the judge had in mind in this respect.  Because there were of course very many such complaints.

So, did he instead expect the barefoot natives back in the 1980s to have summoned up a 4 -wheel drive or helicopter and made it out to Kuching to hire lawyers and launch a civil case against the logging companies?

Dressed for a trip to town? How were the Penan to set about hiring lawyers to fight their case against Samling back in 1985?

Yet, these people had no money and no education.  They had never heard of lawyers, let alone being in a position to pay them.

They lived a different life and it for this reason the UN passed the Declaration to defend their rights against exploitation by people like Taib’s loggers.

The very minimum duty of the State of Sarawak under such circumstances would have been for officials to have gone to visit and consult them and to offer these peoples the means to defend themselves through free legal advice.  At the very least the option of compensation should have been offered.

However, the greedy Chief Minister (law alumni and honorary doctor of Adelaide University, Australia) and his henchmen failed on each and every count. These plunderers destroyed this precious habitat and left these communities to survive on what little left they could find to eat.

And now, instead of penalising Taib for this naked exploitation, judges are still willing to stick to the letter of the law, while ignoring every count of natural justice.

Time to right wrongs

At last the people of the interior have woken up to the actions they need to take when faced by predators armed  with suspect licenses.  Native Rights lawyers have come to their rescue and are providing the advice they so badly needed and were deprived of back in the 1980s and 1990s and even recently.

So, it is time the judges of the Malaysian court system start voicing disapproval at the litany of corruption, fraud and theft by Sarawak’s rulers against their people.

An image logging companies hate, because it sums up what's been going on in Sarawak under Taib

Billions have been made from the sale of Sarawak’s timber and billions more from the plantation of Native Customary Lands.

Those billions have gone to Taib’s license-holding friends and to his own family members, like Ta Ann’s Hamed Sepawi, who has received tens of thousands of hectares of ‘alienated’ lands out of the state’s land bank.

Also, Taib’s own son, Abu Bekir, whose company Titanium Management has been handed vast plantation areas as well.

The time must come very soon when this outrageous injustice is recognised and it must be put right.

The natives of Sarawak deserve to benefit from at least some of the profit from their lands.  They should enjoy at least some of the comforts that money can buy in return for the destruction of their culture and their habitat.

It is time the courts started exacting some fines from the likes of Samling and Billion Venture and those fines should be very heavy ones indeed.

 

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  • BunyiPutra

    Look how different the Dayaks 150 years ago compared to Dayak BN Goons now!

    Rentap the uncaptured Dayak warrior till death easily no match to all Dayak Goons now combined!

    Such a fucking shame eh!

    Rentap fought the Rajah Brookes but remain uncaptured to protect his Dayak folks!

    But the Dayak BN Goons now simply so damn stupid defended Taib to let him munoh Dayaks folks at will!

    ____________________

    Where are the Iban Warriors In Politics?

    Voon Lee Shan blog Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Iban people were traditionally brave people. They feared no one and were well known for their bravery. History told us that they also had good leaders, who were capable to enter into military alliances with one another and able to moblilize hundreds of followers under their direction for territorial expansion. For newly opened region or territory during their head hunting days, their tuai menoa allocated settlement areas to their followers and their young men who displayed courage in the battlefield were entitled to called bujang berani or “brave bachelor”. In the old days, they were truly warriors and they led and were never wanted to be led by other people. So, they fought against the Rajahs.

    Their bravery helped young Malaysia grew to what it is today. Malaysia needed them in early years and in time of peace, they still served the nation well. Iban were good trackers and their service in the Royal Malaysian Rangers was exemplary and many were awarded with bravery awards for their prowess in fighting the insurgencies. Their display of bravery was consistent with their motto, “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban”.

    In Rangers, they also displayed not only exceptional courage, but, also exemplary leadership and discipline.

    Brookes Changed Iban Leadership

    Things now changed. They no more led, but, were led by others through their leaders. Why and how could this happen?

    One thing for sure about the iban people was that, the iban or dayaks in general were good, honest and obedient followers. The Brookes were smart and when they ruled Sarawak, they appointed Iban warriors as native chiefs. It was through these native chiefs that Brooke’s rule became more peaceful and Sarawak’s territory then expanded. The British who took over from Brookes also did the same thing and this strategy worked well to keep the iban in peace with the government. Iban people lived simple lives and were never demanding and it was their culture that taught them to respect and be obedient to their elders or tuai. In the longhouses, their tuai who headed their longhouses were called tuai rumah. These tuai rumah were powerful figures and they provided the link with the government.

    The anakbiaks in the longhouses in return for their loyalty and obedience to their tuai rumah will get some subsides in terms of fertilizers, some granite for their roads which normally were distributed to them as “election installments”. That is, these subsidies will only normally be distributed when elections were around. However, the iban could not simply get these subsides unless their tuai rumah were obedient and loyal to the government. The BN government held them under political ransom and the present system will continue to make them so.

    Therefore, until today the system of tuai rumah has been maintained and given the few hundred ringgits as monthly allowances, these tuai rumah had then been instrumental in controlling and influencing their anaknembiaks to be obedient and loyal to the government. With the exceptional loyalty as their trademark and embedded as a culture, the Barisan Nasional government has until now since independence ruled Sarawak through iban patronage. That also prolonged Pehin Sri Taib, a melanau and a muslim as the Chief Minister of Sarawak. With that, Taib may wish to perpetuate the melanau dynasty which began from his uncle Tun Rahman, in ruling Sarawak, by making his son, Sulaiman as the next chief minister.

    Kuala Lumpur followed Brookes

    When Malaysia was formed in September 16, 1963, the federal government in Kuala Lumpur also followed Brooke. They knew, Apai Jugah was too influential among the Ibans and other dayaks. They respected and were loyal to Apai Jugah. So as not to rock the peace already established through Brookes’ rule, the federal government then appointed Apai Jugah as a Federal Minister. With Apai Jugah, the iban just continued to get some subsides. The iban together with the melanaus and malays in Malaysia were bumiputera, but, the iban until today could not enjoy what the malays could normally get.

    Gone was Apai Jugah, the BN government perpetuates iban loyalty to the government by absorbing iban leaders and politicians into the government. These leaders were given posts and many perks and in order to enjoy these perks, they found it difficult to regroup under one political party to pull their strengths together to help their people. They have to help themselves first. They have to form as many political parties as possible so that they could become party presidents. This is because by becoming party presidents or holding important party positions, these leaders will then be in a position to get benefits for themselves and be appointed ministers by UNMO-run BN government.

    The few leaders, like Jabu, Moggie, Masing, Mawan, Entulu, were said very rich. So, the the dayaks being led by others will continue through them. The iban never since Brookes’ days led, but, was led by others through their leaders. What the iban got until noalthough we are already independent from the clutches of foreign powers, were subsidies and not capitals for the development of the community. The present political strategy of UMNO-PBB will see the majority of the iban to continue to be poor. While their leaders lived in big towns and cities, could enjoy piped water and driving luxurious cars, with oil palm plantations from NCR lands giving them perpetuating income and wealth, the majority of the iban or dayaks will see themselves poor and to live without proper water and electricity supply.

    In return for their wealth they got from their positions in the government, these iban leaders who presently are in the government will continue to be obligated to tell the iban people that only BN government could give the iban subsidies in the longhouses. This was of course true, but, the iban did not realize that the giving to them subsides will continue to make them poor. It would be different, if Pakatan Rakyat takes over the government. Instead of subsides, the iban will get capitals to start their lives.

    The iban now has no political warriors who are capable to lead the community against the Barisan Nasional and against the dominance of the melanau-malays in Sarawak politics. Ningkan, an iban from Betong who was supported by many Chinese tycoons in his days was too aggressive. His display of the typical dayak arrogance and bravery was seen a threat by the federal government led by the malays from UMNO. Political manoeuvreing saw Ningkan being kicked out of his chief ministership. Ningkan who displayed exceptional political courage and leadership of an iban warrior, Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban, was seen a threat to UNMO rule through the BN government in Sarawak through melanau-malays. These melanau-malays were mostly muslims, but, is not a large group in the state.

    Had Ningkan not been toppled, iban today would be under a better umbrella and could have enjoyed better lives. Maybe, it was and still is the policy of federal government to see that iban should not become the governor and chief minister of Sarawak and should continue to be led and not to lead by other races. This was made more difficult in recent years after the amendment to the State Constitution because, it seems that to be a governor, the governor must be a muslim and in the case of iban, this would be something almost impossible as most ibans are Christians. Due to the amendment to the State Constitution, the iban, like the Chinese, would also find themselves difficult to become Speakers of the Dewan Undangan Negeri.

    Iban Must Change

    DAP and PKR with some help from SNAP and STAR are here to change the iban lives, but, if Iban people refuses to change nothing much DAP and PKR could do. Iban leaders like, Jabu, Masing, Mawan, Sylvester Entri, Peter Nyarok and Francis Hardin, being senior iban politicians could bring better change to the iban community, but, it seems that they prefer to be led and not to lead. They should be the iban political warriors to take the lead to bring the iban and other dayaks to greater heights. They should realize that iban being the largest race in Sarawak should lead and not be led by the minorities.

    Never, at anytime I heard them speaking against any of the policies put up by the government. They lacked political courage to speak against the evils of the government and when they saw Taib coming to the Dewan Undangan Negri, they all rushed towards him, trying to get Taib’s attention. Sometimes, I observed that when Taib saw them coming, Taib just shook their hands with them, but, with his face turning away looking at others around!

    So if iban people want change, they should no more be dependent on their present leaders. Instead, they have to take the lead themselves, throw away their present leaders and change the government. The iban people have lost its grip in power and the only way to overcome this is to change the government.

    So, the coming Batang Ai by-election will a testing ground for Iban Baru or New Iban. Whoever be fielded by the Opposition against the BN in Batang Ai, the iban people, please rise up to the occasion to support the candidate for a change. He is your Iban Baru!

    Good luck, my dayak friends! DAP are with you!

    ____________________

    Quest for Brooke-era fortress in Sarawak

    By James Ritchie, Borneo Post 2001

    BETONG: A much-fabled fortress on a mist-engulfed Bukit Sadok commanded the Iban heartland in Sri Aman Division in Sarawak. My mission was to trek over at least four peaks to reach the summit of Bukit Sadok, at one time the bastion of Iban nationalists who opposed the troops of the invading White Rajahs 140 years ago.

    After three expeditions between 1857 and 1861, Charles Brooke and his army of several thousand finally captured Chief Rentap’s Fortress only to discover that the wily old chieftain and his band of 24 warriors had abandoned it.

    Rentap “Earth Tremor” whose real name was Libau, was never captured. Even after his death, his remains were concealed until recently when the Iban chieftain was accorded a hero’s burial by the present Sarawak Government at Ulu Wuak in the Julau district.

    Fascinated by his heroics, I decided to revisit the Rentap trail. It took “Rajah Muda” Charles eight days to trek from Nanga Tiga to the peak of Bukit Sadok. Charles finally captured the fortress on October 28, 1861.

    During the ascent of Bukit Sadok, the saga of Rentap’s valour and his fortifications unravelled as two descendants of his band of warriors —”Tuai Rumah” (headman) Kanyan anak Jiram, 38, and Linggi anak Lamat, 47 from Rumah Jambu Kerampak — guided me on a sojourn through time.

    After the five-hour journey from Kuching to Betong and Nanga Tiga, our four-wheel-drive vehicle finally lurched to a halt at the foot of Rumah

    Jambu-Kerampak. It’s the last longhouse before the steep ascent.

    It was a cold and windy night as the village folk gathered at Kanyan’s “bilek” to reminisce about Rentap and swap tales about ascending the Sadok.

    I rouse from sleep at 2 a.m. Strong winds howled all around. Armed with a torch light, I head for the toilet in front of the longhouse and return to the couch where Kanyan has put me up for the night. At 5 a.m. I wake up a second time. There is a sense of excitement and I look out from Kanyan’s back room and see the outline of Bukit Sadok rising majestically on what was to be a clear day.

    We set off at 6 a.m. I knew it was to be an arduous climb but looked forward to it, very much like ten years ago when I first scaled the 7,950-foot Gunung Murud, the highest in Sarawak. I wondered if there would be a tantalising story at the end of it.

    Kanyan and Linggi dressed in their longs. I followed suit, because part of the trail would meander through thick undergrowth. It was a bright day as we pass the pepper gardens of the villagers of Rumah Jambu-Kerampak. I am told that last year alone, the villagers sold some RM18 million worth of pepper products, making them a quite well-to-do community.

    Unlike the days of the Rajahs when Ibans were relegated to the roles of “soldiers, porters and labourers”, the Iban farmers of the Ulu Layar region have the Government to thank. Kanyan said their longhouse is fitted with a RM300,000 solar power set donated by Betong MP Douglas Uggah several years ago.

    As we leave the village, Bukit Sadok peeks out behind the mountain range. Thirty minutes into the initial trek we spy our first hill and

    checkpoint—Bukit Batikal. Along the way we pass rolling slopes and valleys covered with hill paddy which the Ibans have cultivated for two centuries — long before the arrival of the White Rajahs. Charles Brooke on his expedition to Sadok noted in 1858: “The hills had just been burnt clear of every leaf for farming and the paddy in some of the places was already planted.”

    The sun rose as we enter the dewy forests. Strong winds gusted. “Ribut (storm),” exclaimed Linggi who is pleased that it shall be a cool and

    comfortable trek.

    Thick undergrowth had camouflaged the track which had not been trodden for at least seven months. I noticed many freshly-dug holes on the pathway and asked if these were made by wild boar. “Jugam (honey bears)..there are many in the area,” said Kanyan, reminding me that the bears are probably the most ferocious animals in the Borneon forests. Female honey bears (also called Sun bears) with six-inch claws have been known to maul trespassers who approached the cubs. Earlier in the day Kanyan said that it would take about two hours to reach the peak. However, an hour after leaving Rumah Jambu-Kerampak, we had only reached the second hill, Bukit Sanggau. Bukit Sanggau is also known as Bukit “Tanam Tunsang” or “Upside Down Hill” because nearly everyone taking this slippery route ends up on the seat of his pants.

    The next peak we must scale is Bukit Tugong. Here we pass through “Tongkat Ali” (supposedly a powerful aphrodisiac) country; the plants grow wild and is plentiful. Linggi says that we must observe the “adat” (law) while passing this area. Everyone needs to toss a stick or piece of wood on three piles of branches. If not, the visitors will come down with a severe headache and have shivering spells.

    By now we have manoeuvred past the steep slopes and are totally soaked by the dew and sweat. But Kanyan and Linggi, both standing no taller than five-foot-five, have no problems because they often help older folk up and down the hills in a “tambok” (basket). They would have helped me had I been unable to proceed further.

    In his memoirs “Ten Years in Sarawak”, Charles Brooke describes what it was like for an outsider to scale the hill for the first time. “It was now fiery hot…one of our Europeans was completely exhausted; he had only lately arrived from England and was not yet inured to our broiling climate. On a good road in the old country he would doubtless have passed us, but now was so thoroughly “ikak” (exhausted) as to be obliged to be carried on the back of a Dayak.

    “He was a man over six feet in height, and heavy in proportion. The Dayak who carried him up hill after hill, as if he was an infant, was only five feet two inches without shoes.”

    The last hill before the final stretch along a narrow ridge is Bukit Rapu which is the beginning of the “Tatai” (Range) Sadok. By now, it is 9 a.m. We reached Genting Karak where one of Rentap’s loyal followers Nanang, the owner of the famous cannon named Bujang Timpang Berang (the One-armed One), had established his own “langkau” (farm hut).

    “Nanang built his fortifications here because there is a stream nearby which was his source of water,” said Kanyan who is somewhat of a local authority on the legendary hero. Kanyan, who first scaled Bukit Sadok at the age of 12, narrated: “Over the years I have heard many stories about Rentap’s exploits and activities on the mountain from village elders including my father Jiram and maternal grandfather Igoh.”

    Hanging from the rafters are some 30 skulls, some of which were believed to be prized heads taken during the White Rajah’s three expeditions to capture Rentap

    Ten minutes from Genting Karak we reach Lempa’ Pinang, a spot where Rentap established his “langkau” because a second stream also provided a sufficient supply of water for him and his warriors. As we trek along the slippery and narrow ridge measuring between 12 and 14 feet towards Rentap’s eyrie I could imagine how treacherous the terrain could have been and how Charles and his brave warriors felt as they launched their assaults in vain.

    In the failed 1858 Expedition Brooke described one particular incident.

    “I rushed out of the stockade.. (towards Rentap’s Fortress)…and had not passed over meant to demoralise the enemy. “For example if one is injured by the bamboo spikes, he would be weakened and an easy target for Rentap’s men. If he did not retreat back in time, he would be finished off very quickly.”

    Once inside, Brooke discovered that Rentap’s fortifications “proved to be a house within a very formidable stockade impervious to rifle shots, with almost perpendicular declivities on two sides of it” and to be almost impregnable.

    Minutes later we reached the middle portion of the fort with a rocky outcrop called “Melaban Bedil”. This was where Rentap had stationed six “meriam” and “bedil” (cannons) including the “Bujang Timpang Berang”. It was here that Rentap’s men would take cover behind the rocks and fire their cannons at the Rajah’s forces.

    Just before 10 am we reach the Sadok peak which rises to about 3,000 feet. Before us lay the vast Iban hinterland, the Saribas plains and the South China Sea. Even Brooke was amazed by the picture-perfect scenery. He wrote: “When the weather cleared we had a magnificent view of the country around, comprising many of the rivers as well as the sea; this is truly the grandfather as the natives call it, of the surrounding hills.”

    It is from this “grandfather” of mountains that little streams cascaded down the range to form the Layar, Skrang and Tiput rivers. The return journey is more of a trudge as fatigue, the humidity and Bukit Tanam Tunsang took their toll. Back home, Kanyan announced his determination to improve the trail to the ridge. He also hopes to build a jungle hideout for visitors. “You would have noticed that I have marked the trees along the way with red paint. But if the trail is not maintained regularly it will be covered with undergrowth.

    “As the authorities have not told me whether they are going to formally establish a trail to Bukit Sadok, I have decided to go ahead with my own plans and get the village folk involved in improving footpath and building our own jungle house. We want to make this famous hill accessible to outsiders and capitalise on the tourism business,” he said.

    Backing the move is the State Government, with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu anak Numpang as the prime mover. A RM18 million road from Nanga Tiga to Bair in Ulu Layar is being built.

    “Once the road is completed and tar-sealed the Ulu Layar region will be accessible to everyone allowing the people to enjoy the beautiful Iban outback. All of this is our country, our temuda and I have told my people not to wait too long but to take advantage of the natural heritage our ancestors have left behind for us.”

    Reducing colonial troops to cannon fodder

    ONE-ARM BANDIT…Rentap’s famous “one-armed” cannon named Bujang Timpang Berang which was used against the White Rajah’s troops. The left “trunnion” (arm) of the cannon is broken

    SARAWAK’S most famous cannon nicknamed “Bujang Timpang Berang” lies, almost forlornly, like a forgotten piece of ordnance in front of the

    Betong district office.

    Even though it stares menacingly at visitors, it is now a shadow of what it represented when turn-of-the-century chieftain Rentap used the cannon to fight the forces of the White Rajahs. Owned by one of Rentap’s generals “Pemanca” Nanang, the Bujang Timpang Berang or “One-armed One” was taken in a battle between Iban forces from Sarawak and the Malays of Sambas in the 1830s.

    The three-inch M.L. Gun Dutch-manufactured cannon dated 1515 fell into the hands of villagers in Sambas, West Kalimantan during the Dutch rule.

    However, in a famous skirmish between Iban fighters and some members of the Sambas royalty, Nanang managed to capture the gun, although the left trunnion (side arm) broke in the heat of the battle.

    It was taken back to Sarawak, and Rentap used it as part of his armoury to defend the fortress at Bukit Sadok.

    Six-cannon Rentap

    According to headman Kanyan anak Jiram, Rentap had six cannons stationed in the middle of his fortress at a spot called “Menalan Bedil”, with Bujang Timpang Berang as the centrepiece. Menalan Bedil or “Site of the Cannon clearing” is an interesting piece of artefact because part of the rocky outcrop is broken—possibly after being hit by the Rajah’s cannon shots with his equally formidable 12-pound gun (it had to be slung on a pole and hauled up Bukit Sadok by 60 men) named “Bujang Sadok” (the Sadok Bachelor).

    In his book “Ten Years in Sarawak”, Charles Brooke states: “Our first shot went through their port holes and killed the principal man watching their guns (at Menalan Bedil); besides this, there were remains of three or four others killed, but Rentap had gone, and the sly old fox I fear, will get away among the holes and corners of this mountain.”

    Not far from Menalan Bedil was Rentap’s “langkau” which was precariously perched on top of a precipice with a sheer 1,000 foot drop. Brooke said that if a landslip took place (and it rains incessantly in that part of the region) then “Rentap and his shell (langkau) must have gone to the bottom and been dashed to pieces.” Added a pensively sanguine Charles, “How a man and his family could have lived for so many years on such a spot is marvellous, and nought but a most determined spirit of resistance could have supported him in such discomfort and danger.”

    After the Battle of Bukit Sadok the cannon was abandoned on the summit for at almost 70 years before is was retrieved and brought back to Betong by Brooke office G.R. H. Arundell and Penghulu Unji in 1928. The cannon was lashed to a sled and, held by ropes, slowly lowered down steep slopes to Betong.

    “The Bujang Timpang Berang is part of the “Ensera” of the Iban and we take pride that it is part of out rich heritage,” said Kanyan. “But I am told that Rentap had an even larger cannon which was used against the Rajah.”

    Kanyan said that the larger cannon which had to be carried by at least 12 men, sank into the river when the boat of the fleeing warriors of Rentap’ army sank. “I am told that the cannon sank somewhere in the foothills and has now been covered by rocks over the years. It will be difficult retrieving the cannon.”

    Kanyan said that among the artefacts in the possession of his village are two cannon shots which were found at the foothills and 160 heads, some belonging to the Rajah’s warriors, which were taken over the last 200 years.

    _____________________

    My boss Taib is innocent, says PBB sec-gen

    Malaysia Kini, Friday, June 10, 2011

    The charges made against him are mere allegations, unless there is proof to show otherwise, says Dr Stephen Rundi.

    Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Dr Stephen Rundi has declared that his party boss and Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is innocent of a series of corruption allegations hurled at him.

    “Yes, I believe he is innocent. The charges made against him are mere allegations, unless there is proof to show otherwise,” Rundi (right) told persistent reporters after opening the Sarawak Health, Wellness, Beauty and Halal Expo in Kuching today.

    “We should just let the authority concerned (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) conduct the investigations against him,” he said, referring to the MACC’s confirmation that it was currently investigating the billionaire chief minister over the series of allegations.

    Among the citizens’ groups that have lodged reports with the MACC are Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and Sarawak PKR, besides a number of individuals.

    A series of police reports have also been lodged against Taib.

    MACC commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed has confirmed that the commission was gathering information on the allegations.

    The Swiss Anti-Corruption Agency recently froze Taib’s assets in Switzerland, country over the allegations of corruption against Taib linked to Sarawak multi-billion ringgit timber industry.

    According to a foreign news report, Switzerland’s President Micheline Calmy-Rey is said to be aware of the allegations and had forwarded the information about Taib’s assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, for action.

    Rundi said the corruption allegations and the on-going MACC investigation would not affect the state’s image in the eyes of the international community.

    ‘We don’t prejudge (guilt)’

    “We don’t prejudge (that Taib is guilty), but we should leave the matter to the authorities to probe,” said Rundi, who is also the state Barisan Nasional secretary-general and assistant minister of environment and public health.

    “As of now, we don’t have many comments to make on the allegations,” he said.

    He said he had read the allegations against Taib on the whistleblower website Sarawak Report, and other websites.

    “Well, any such information or allegations are mere allegations until they are proven,” he insisted.

    Asked whether the state government was aware of the on-going investigation by the MACC, he said: “It is not a matter of being aware or not. It is the right of the authorities to conduct the investigations.

    “Let them investigate… they have the right to investigate if they want to investigate. They have to prove that the allegations are true,” he said.

    Rundi was little upset with a reporter who asked whether he or the other state ministers and assistant ministers would cooperate with MACC if asked for their statements to be recorded.

    “Are you questioning me now… ? “But of course, we will (cooperate with the MACC),” he said.

    _______________________

    Masing believes Taib clean

    Borneo Post, June 23, 2011, Thursday

    CENTRE OF MEDIA ATTENTION: Reporters crowd around a speaker in the Media Room as Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud delivers his personal statement regarding the investigation by the Swiss Federation into his alleged assets in Switzerland.

    KUCHING: Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said he believed Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is innocent of all the corruption allegations hurled at him.

    The Baleh assemblyman also lauded Taib for being brave enough to tackle the issue head on yesterday.

    He said this when asked to comment on Taib’s explanations to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday that he does not own a Swiss bank account or assets and investments in Switzerland.

    “It is very good for him (Taib) to tackle the issue straight on.

    “That is what I expected a leader to do. As a politician you must not hide anything. If you have nothing to hide then go straight on because we are judged by public perception,” Masing said.

    Masing added that he was “impressed and satisfied” with the Chief Minister’s answer and he eagerly awaits the Swiss authorities to respond.

    “The onus of proof is from the other side,” Masing stressed.

    Asked whether the public would be convinced of Taib’s innocence, Masing lamented that members of the public always make judgement based on emotion and not the law.

    That, he added, represented one of the toughest obstacles which all politicians have to endure.

    “We are not judged by the fine lines of the law. We are judged by allegations, half truths and lies.”

    Meanwhile, Second Minister of Finance Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said what Taib did yesterday was to make it known to the whole world that the graft allegations were unfair to him.

    “Of course once the allegation is made and published in the press, not only the image of the Chief Minister but the state government of Sarawak may be tarnished,” he lamented.

    Therefore, he added, it was important for Taib to make the statement in DUN to redeem himself and to clear his name.

    “I think it is the right thing to do,” Soon Koh said.

    Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s statement failed to impress PKR leaders.

    State PKR liaison chief and Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said it was “quite unfortunate” that Taib’s statement was not put up for debate.

    He pointed out that there was no mention of whether the Chief Minister’s letter had been replied to and that PKR would be interested to know what Taib wrote and the reply, if any, to it.

    “As it has been reported that this involves MACC, we hope that the whole investigation will continue on in spite of the explanations he (Taib) made in the Dewan…as it is only an explanation. If there is really truth in it, then of course it is of concern to the public at large, especially Sarawakians,” said Baru.

    When asked whether the Chief Minister’s denial would help to assuage public concerns, Baru said he did not think so as there was nothing particularly significant about the statement.

    “You need to have concrete facts and evidence and decisions made either by the Swiss President or authority of Switzerland, or even from MACC. The report we hear is about an ongoing kind of investigation, so as for now, we’ll leave it as it is.

    “Unless they come up with a conclusion, it’s nothing that would wipe out any doubts or anything for that matter.”

  • BunyiPutra

    Formula:

    (Poor + Sick + Uneducated + Hungry)Dayaks = Taib BN UMNO Rule Forever!

    Look how easy that formula proven and tested time and time again to rule over Dayak

    Rajah Brooke invented it so Taib simply keep it as ‘If Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It’

    (Poor + Sick + Uneducated + Hungry)Dayaks = Taib BN UMNO Rule Forever!

    (Poor + Sick + Uneducated + Hungry)Dayaks = Taib BN UMNO Rule Forever!

    (Poor + Sick + Uneducated + Hungry)Dayaks = Taib BN UMNO Rule Forever!

    _________________________

    Sarawak Iban remain poorest community

    by Tony Thien, Malaysia Kini, 25 Sept 2004

    Poverty rates vary markedly among Sarawak’s diverse communities with the Iban having the highest at 10.5 per cent, according to latest data for 2002 made available today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    The Iban is Sarawak’s largest race forming 30.1 per cent of Sarawak’s 2.5 million population. It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of the Iban live in several thousand longhouses scattered throughout the largely riverine state.

    In a paper on ‘Paradox of Poverty Studies’ at a one-day seminar focusing on poverty eradication issues related to Malaysia’s bumiputra minorities in Sarawak or the non-Muslim bumiputra groups, Dr Richard Leete, UNDP regional representative said Sarawak’s poverty rates 2002 was 5.8 per cent.

    The seminar was organised by the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) in response to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call for an all-out war against poverty affecting all groups in the country, especially bumiputra minorities in Sarawak and Sabah.

    Taking the Muslim and non-Muslim bumiputras as one, the average bumiputras’ poverty rate was 8.0 per cent.

    Under the bumiputra sub-groups, the highest poverty rate was the highest among the Iban (10.5 per cent), followed next by other indigenous bumiputras such as Bidayuh/Kayan/Kenyah/Lun Bawang/Kelabits (6.8 per cent) and the Malays (5.2 per cent).

    The poverty rate among the Chinese, the second largest race forming 26.7 per cent of the population, was the lowest with only 1.0 per cent.

    Leete said in terms of progress in poverty eradication in the state from 1990 to 2002, Sarawak was behind Melaka, Pahang, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur but ahead of the remaining states – Sabah, Terengganu, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak and Perlis.

    A rather alarming statistics is that 17 per cent of Sarawakians aged 6 and above in 2000 never attended school at all, and that 44 per cent of those who did only attended primary school.

    This compared with the national figure of 10 per cent who never attended school.

    Slow literacy progress

    Another alarming revelation from UNDP statistics is that Sarawak’s progress in literacy from 1990 to 2000 was the slowest in the whole country, even behind neighbouring Sabah.

    If it is of some comfort, only 10 per cent of the communities are not covered by rural water supply system in Sarawak. Kelantan fares the worst with Sabah next.

    Leete said there has, however, been significant progress overall in improving social and economic outcomes in Sarawak “but sharp differentials persist.”

    He added that there was a need for policies and programmes that would put equity at core and contribute to reducing inequities.

    He called for such issues as access to social services, including environmental services such as water safety and loss of biodiversity, as well as basics on infrastructure to be addressed urgently.

    The UNDP man qualified his observations by saying there was a need to improve on data collection to allow for what he called better identification of vulnerable groups.

    ______________

    MP regrets deaths of 14 Penans from measles

    BY STEPHEN THEN, The Star, Thursday January 27, 2005

    BAKUN: The deaths of 13 Penan children and an adult in a measles outbreak in Sungai Urun, Belaga district, recently, “should not have happened at all”, said an elected representative.

    Ulu Rejang MP Billy Abit Joo said the loss of lives was tragic because no one should die from measles nowadays in a country like Malaysia, not even native groups living in the deep interior.

    “The deaths are especially regrettable because these Penan longhouses are not too far away and it is not too difficult to reach them. There are timber roads going into these areas and the health authorities have helicopters and flying doctor services,” he said.

    The state Health and Medical Services Department, he added, should be more proactive in getting to the Penans and medical teams must visit the interior settlements as often as possible.

    “These Penans are ignorant of such health issues as they are not educated.

    “Furthermore, they are very poor. They do not have the money to go to urban areas for immunisation,” he said yesterday.

    He was responding to the statement by the state health authorities that the 14 who died were not vaccinated against measles and it was difficult to reach the Penans as they lived in the interior and were semi-nomadic.

    Sungai Urun is located in the Ulu Rejang parliamentary constituency in central Sarawak, which is the country’s biggest. It takes six hours to reach the affected longhouses, some 200km from Bintulu town.

    At present, Abit noted that there were only a handful of medical assistants stationed in the Sungai Asap Resettlement Scheme and they were supposed to be responsible for the 20,000 people living in the entire Bakun region.

    Meanwhile, a six-year-old Iban boy was admitted to Bintulu Hospital yesterday with suspected measles, reports SHARON LING.

    Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said the boy, from Bintulu, had measles-like symptoms of fever and a rash and his father reportedly had had contact with the people of Sungai Urun.

    However, medical authorities were still investigating the case as the boy had been vaccinated against measles, he told reporters at his office in Kuching yesterday after receiving donations for the National Disaster Relief Fund for tsunami victims.

    Besides the boy, there were 18 patients in the isolation ward in Bintulu Hospital as of yesterday.

    ________________

    Dayaks education lagging behind other bumiputeras: Moggie

    by Tony Thien, Malaysia Kini,17 Feb 2003

    The launch of the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud last weekend is seen as a move to bring in all Dayak leaders and intellectuals together o­n a non-partisan platform to discuss policies and issues affecting the community.

    It is also seen as a bridge across the political divide among the Dayak community, recognised as a minority group in Malaysia, to address the problems facing the community in joining the mainstream of economic development.

    The association, whose president is Professor Dr Dimbab Ngibang of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, has received overwhelming response from Dayak intellectuals representing the various groups such as Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.

    In Sarawak, the Dayak form the largest single racial group, followed by the Chinese, Malays and Melanaus.

    In his paper delivered at a SDGA-organised forum on the social transformation of the Dayak, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Leo Moggie – who is also Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) president – highlighted some of the difficulties facing the Dayaks today.

    Minimal equity shares

    He said: “The achievements of the Dayak, being a minority bumiputera group in the country, are relatively lower than that achieved by other bumiputeras.

    “Bumiputera minorities have the highest incidence of poverty, the largest number of poor households, the highest rate of unemployment, and the lowest in educational attainment,” said Moggie.

    “In the corporate sector, bumiputera minorities equity share is very minimal.”.

    Moggie said the Dayaks must acquire sufficient knowledge to manage the challenges of the new era and benefit from the opportunities available.

    However, based o­n the population census data, he said the Dayaks have yet to respond to the demand of the new economy as reflected by the limited number of skilled and professional Dayaks in all sectors of the economy.

    No knowledge of ICT

    Equally alarming, he added, was the result of a study o­n information communication technology (ICT) awareness among the Dayaks.

    The study, involving 1,500 Iban “biliks” (individual units of housing in longhouse) in Kuching and Sri Aman, showed that 86 percent have no knowledge of computers, and 88.7 percent have never used a computer.

    The study also revealed that 62 percent of respondents do not consider knowledge of computers as a relevant skill for employment.

    Moggie also said that the number of Dayaks enrolled in tertiary education and skill-training institutions is relatively low compared to other Malaysians.

    He cited the high incidence of school dropouts among the Dayaks as o­ne of the major contributing factors.

    “Poor households, and especially those in the rural areas, where students often travel long distances to get to school, are most vulnerable to pulling their children out of school,” said Moggie.

    He added: “The low educational level of parents and guardians also contributed to the high incidence of school drop out.”

    Parental control over their children, particularly among school boarders, is also weakening because of their sojourn away from their home, he said.

    Leonard Linggi Jugah, the former secretary-general of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), said during the forum’s questions-and-answers session that Dayak political leaders from different parties must sit down more often to discuss the problems affecting the community.

    “Examine policies, look at the weaknesses and take them up with the authorities,” he said.

    Be more united, Dayak leaders told

    His remarks were greeted with loud applause as he named several Dayak leaders who he said should meet more often and discuss matters affecting the Dayak community in Sarawak.

    “Dayak leaders in Sarawak should get their act together and identify ways to synergise for the betterment of the bumiputera minority in the new millennium.”

    “I would like to call upon all Dayak leaders to take cue from the chief minister’s call and set aside our differences for the common goal of uniting and bringing the community to greater heights.

    “I would like to call upon (PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister) Alfred Jabu, LeoMoggie, (Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party president) William Mawan, PBB vice-president and Housing Minister Michael Manyin, (SPDP secretary-general and Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications) Dr Judson Tagal to sit down together more often,” he appealed.

    Linggi said the Dayak could have achieved greater success if their leaders had been more united, adding that the “community would not be able to fully capitalise o­n the privileges if they were to continue to do things in their ways.”

    Need not depend on family name

    In his opening speech, Taib told the Dayaks that they could achieve success in their undertakings without having to depend o­n family name and influence.

    “You don’t have to be the children of an Abang, Wan, Tuanku or Penghulu to be successful in life because intellectual prowess and opportunities do not recognise this,” the chief minister said.

    He urged the Dayak community to broaden their social and intellectual horizons by grabbing the opportunity

    to acquire a good education that would enable them to become part of the globalised world.

    “That is why it’s important we create mobility in society, both physically and socially so that we can move in tandem with changing times and make adjustments to meet the needs of our ever changing world,” he added.

    “Every race can look after itself now and people can feel the change creeping in… faster and faster by the day.”

    Reminding the people of the challenges posed by the borderless world and emerging new economic dragons, he said changes had to come from within the people “because government efforts alone are not enough, reaching only the very select group that lies o­n the surface of interaction.”

    ________________________

    Sarawak DCM shocked by claim that Penans are starving

    Bernama News, Saturday, 1 August 2009

    Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan was shocked over news reports about 3,000 Penans in the remote settlements in upper Belaga in the Kapit Division facing starvation due to shortage of food.

    “I’m very shocked…it is impossible. If nobody helps them, the Penans can still survive in the jungle easily as they can hunt for animals and forage for edible plants,” he told reporters here today.

    Dr Chan was asked to comment on today’s newspaper reports which quoted Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun that famine had hit about 3,000 Penans in Belaga following crop failure in their five major settlements, and they were crying out to the government for help.

    Entulu, who was with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and six MPs at the government-built Penan service centre in Lusong Laku early this week, said the Penans were facing starvation over the last three months, relying on tapioca, wild sago and jungle products but supply had run out.

    The five settlements are Long Abit, Long Kajang, Long Tanyit, Long Malin and Long Lidem.

    Meanwhile, Ulu Rejang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo also expressed shock over the news reports, but also amusement, saying that “shortage of food does not mean the Penans are starving”.

    “There are about 1,000 Penans in the six settlements and they are not starving.

    “The Penans have always faced food shortage due to the destruction of their food source, but this year they had poor rice harvest because the crop had been destroyed by insects and monkeys,” he said.

    However, Abit said the Penans’ harvest could still last about seven months. “The Penans will share their harvest, hunt for animals and look for wild sago as their staple food. They will not starve,” he said. – Bernama

  • Daniel Kopial Anak Matthew Jikeh

    The whole system need to be revamped. There should be a limit to how many terms someone can hold a political office. Because human is very prone to corrupt whether PR or BN…holding an office for far too long can in a way corrupt a person. Throughout history, this symptom has repeated itself generations after generations.

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