What Justice For The Victims Of Sarawak’s Timber Gangs?

What Justice For The Victims Of Sarawak’s Timber Gangs?

7 Jul 2012

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified), Iban, Malay

Minggat Anak Nyakin – beaten and strangled by gangsters last year

Fear of gangsters is widespread in Sarawak and with good reason.  These are the operators outside the law who enforce the greedy land grabs and logging concessions handed out by Taib to his cronies.

By using gangsters, Taib and his business partners avoid being directly implicated and can pretend to have nothing to do with illegal methods.

However, the police know better.  They stand aside and turn a blind eye to the thugs, because they know who they really work for and it is not for the poor natives whose lands and livelihoods are being taken away.

We featured one such attack on Sarawak Report last year. Minggat Anak Nyakin and his son Juan Anak Minggat were beaten to within an inch of their lives by vicious gangsters who were teaching them a lesson for protesting against the destruction of their lands by loggers.

So what justice for the victims of gangster attacks?

Juan anak Minggat – beaten mercilessly

A year later a team from Radio Free Sarawak have just revisited the family to discover what justice they have received since the attack.

Minggat is still permanently affected by the violent attempt to strangle him and cannot easily speak.

However, he told his story in hoarse tones to Radio DJ Peter John Jaban, reliving the evening in February 2011 when he and his son were brutally beaten and left for dead.

The pair had arrived in their fruit gardens at Pulau Galau above the Sarikei water catchment area (Gerugu Dam) to find that loggers had been destroying their trees.

Angered, he remonstrated with the towkay of the logging company working the neighbouring concession, threatening to go to the law over the desecration of his property by lodging a police report.

Father and son – reliving their ordeal. But, so far no one has been prosecuted for this offence

He then recounts how, as he turned away, he felt a massive blow to the back of his head which laid him out cold on the ground.

The rest of the savage beating was carried out as he lay unconscious and totally at the mercy of the thugs. His glasses were splintered on his face and he just thanks God that he was not blinded.

His son rushed to his aid but was also brutally beaten by the gang, though he later managed to crawl away into the bushes, walking two hours into the jungle before being rescued by a Chinese farmer.

As Sarawak Report wrote in its original coverage, Minggat was left for dead on the steps of the Company Manager’s office. In fact, Juan tells RFS that his hope at the time was only to recover his father’s corpse, so sure was he that the attack had been fatal.

In the end it took 4 days before Minggat recovered consciousness in hospital and it has been a long, painful road since.

So, over a year on, what have the police done about this shocking attack?  Minggat says he is still waiting for progress on the case, even though he and his son were able to identify the criminals. Only one of the gangsters has been arrested, but the case has not been pushed forward against him and this man is now free to roam Sarawak.

According to Minggat, the man is even continuing with in his illegal logging activities unhindered elsewhere in the area.Understandably, this law-abiding citizen who still bears the scars of his ordeal, is angered by the apparent lack of interest the police have shown in his plight.

Driven to take justice into their own hands?

Waiting for justice more than one year later

Worryingly, Minggat, like others who have been subjected to land grabs, threats and intimidation, is running out of patience.

As he himself says, he is getting older and does not have the time to wait for a resolution.

In his interview he told Radio Free Sarawak that his frustration is such that he is tempted to take matters into his own hands again, because after more than one year he has started to despair that the authorities will ever do anything to bring his case to justice.

Despite years of failure by the Forestry Department, the Land and Survey Department and the police to act over his numerous reports of illegal logging in his 3,000 acre plot, he had still maintained some hope that they would not ignore such an outrageous attack on his own person.

That confidence has now been shaken.  How much longer can Sarawak continue to be run for the benefit of thieves and thugs and the ordinary people left to suffer under them?

The full interview can be accessed via podcast on www.radiofreesarawak.org.

Victims should not be forgotten




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  • PucauPutra

    If Foochow are good in doing business done by hook or by crook, very hard for Taib to say no so Taib let them be lah why so anti-rich lah


    Taib praises Foochow spirit

    The Star, Sunday November 21, 2004

    KUCHING: Foochows can play a meaningful role in the globalised world because of their pioneering spirit, co-operation and goodwill towards others, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said.

    He said the Foochows were well-known for their pioneering spirit in turning difficult situations into opportunities for success.

    “This was the spirit of the 1,118 Foochows who came to Sibu one century ago under Wong Nai Siong. I hope this spirit will never be lost among the younger generation because it is a great asset,” he said when opening the eighth convention of the World Federation of Fuzhou Associations here yesterday.

    TOKEN OF THANKS: Organising chairman Ling Beng Hui (left) presenting a souvenir to Taib during the World Federation of Fuzhou Associations convention in Kuching yesterday.

    The community, he said, were resourceful, willing to face challenges and prepared to put in all their effort in order to succeed.

    Moreover, the Foochows had learned to maintain values of charity and goodwill towards others, he said.

    Taib said the Foochows’ active participation in business and trade served as an example for others in Asia to follow suit.

    The federation’s president Datuk Seri Burhan Uray said Foochows were known to be hardworking, dedicated and result-oriented.

    “I hope future generations of Foochows will continue to possess these qualities,” he said.

    He added that the convention was an opportunity for Foochows around the world to make contacts and create strong networks among themselves.

    Nearly 3,000 Foochows from 16 countries attended the three-day convention which began on Friday.


    ‘Anti-rich’ politics slammed

    by Philip Kiew, Borneo Post, Saturday November 6, 2010

    MIRI: Attacking successful local Bumiputera entrepreneurs during State Legislative Assembly sittings is a new trend of the opposition, said Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

    He called those involved in it ‘anti-rich people’ and their brand of politics ‘retrogressive’.

    He warned that the government would not tolerate such politics as it went against the grain of modern economics and Sarawak’s successful template of transforming the state physically and economically over the past decades.

    “Sarawak would not have developed without these people. My policy and that of the federal government has always been to encourage entrepreneurs and businessmen to succeed,” he said at the earth-breaking ceremony for a dual carriageway linking Taman Tunku and Taman Jelita to Miri-Bintulu road.

    Pointing to China and Russia, Taib said they failed to develop and progress in the old days due to shackles on entrepreneurship,

    but they changed track and transformed into thriving global economies today.

    “The lesson is not to be anti-rich, anti-businessmen and anti-corporation as we all know that our economy is very much dependent on private sector investments as the main engine of growth,” he said.

    He called on Sarawakians to reject politicians who perpetrated ‘anti-rich’ sentiment as it would only hamper the state’s quest for greater progress.

    “There is no such thing as a very thriving economy without businessmen and entrepreneurs,” he said, adding that the state would not have progressed without the support of responsible corporate leaders who were willing to invest in projects with slow returns. Taib said these businessmen and entrepreneurs had successfully diversified the state’s economy which used to depend solely on natural resources like timber and oil and gas.

    He said the debates in the current sitting of the assembly had revealed a disturbing trend, that is, the running down of successful entrepreneurs and big businesses by the opposition.

    “Yesterday I saw a debate in the assembly. They ran down all the rich people, attacked Malays, bumiputeras, but left out the Chinese as they did not want to lose their support. This is very bad. The government will not stand this and the people should reject it,” he said.

    “I am very much opposed to this brand of politics from Peninsular Malaysia as I have 20 over years of peace in Sarawak where ordinary people have friendly relationships with businessmen and corporate bodies.”

    Pointing to the rapid pace of local development, he recalled that this town was stuck for two decades with a stagnant population of 100,000 until the participation of big corporate players in its development turned it into a beautiful bustling city of 300,000 people now.

    Taib said the big players undertook projects which had long gestation period including some which had yet to be profitable after 10 years despite having to service bank loans.

    He rued criticisms hurled against him for picking Datuk Raziah Mahmud of Kumpulan Parabena Sdn Bhd to spearhead the development of the first five-star hotel here 15 years ago, saying it had yet to make a profit.

    The group was also the developer of Taman Tunku Residential and Industrial Estate, which was overtaken by plans to develop Curtin University, Senadin and Permyjaya township in the north of the city.

    This southern sector is expected to become a lively hub with Parabena investing RM15 million on the 5.5km dual carriageway Taman Tunku and the nearby Taman Jelita to the state trunk road and eventually the coastal road.

    Taib said the corporate sector in the state had been complementing government plans to boost the economy and carry out physical development.

    “Today, the state government does not have to spend money on land development as this is undertaken by the private sector where there are rich Sarawakians, while the 10th Malaysia Plan and new high-income economic model bank on 70 per cent funding from the private sector,” he said.

    He said this city was fortunate to have corporate leaders in Tan Sri Ling Chiong Ho, executive chairman of Shin Yang Group, Tan Sri Yaw Teck Seng (Samling Group), and other corporate bigwigs who contributed much to her development.

    Earlier on, Lambir state assemblyman Aidan Wing said Taib’s dynamic leadership had unfurled unprecedented development and progress in the state.

    Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Environment Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, Assistant Minister of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Larry Sng, Rich Venture Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Yee Ming Seng and managing director Hii King Chiong, executive chairman of Shin Yang Group, Tan Sri Ling Chiong Ho, Parabena’s executive director Datuk Robert Geneid, Datuk Seri Lau Kiu Kiong, Miri Resident Antonio Kathi Galis were among those present at the function.