Hornbill Unleashed

October 23, 2010

Raziah – Protestors jailed

By Sarawak Report
In a recent story Sarawak Report exposed the shocking attempt by the firm Quality Concrete to force Iban villagers to hand over their rights to 3,035 hectares of Native Customary Rights Lands in Sebangan for just MR 250 (US$ 80) per family.

The company, of which the Chief Minister’s sister Raziah is one of the Directors,  is after the millions of dollars’ worth of rare and valuable hardwood trees in the area.  However the Ibans are refusing, saying they want to preserve their forest for future generations.

Now, the leading protesters named in that story have been thrown in jail on the pretext of a fire that broke out at Quality Concrete’s logging camp on Monday.  There is no evidence about what happened, however ten local people were originally arrested and three have still not been released: these are Numpang Suntai, a retired worker for Shell; Nicholas Mujah, who runs Sadia, an NGO supporting Dayak rights, and one of the local headmen, Tuai Rumah Sadon ak Ason.

There is no evidence against any of these men yet the political motives are clear.  Both Suntai and Mujah have been helping the locals with their vocal campaign and they have supported villagers who carried out a blockade against illegal logging by the company in their territory.  Yet neither were anywhere near the outbreak of the fire and it is clear their arrests are purely a response to their legitimate protests on behalf of their community.  The pair came to Simunjan local police station in answer to a request by the local police chief, DSP Choo Yin Kok (whose telephone number is 082 803779, Mobile : 019-8583016) and have not been released.

So who are the real criminals?

There is no evidence that local people were behind the fire. Indeed, since Quality Concrete’s provisional licence to log the area runs out next month, the motivation on their side is arguably stronger in terms of a potential insurance pay-out.  Meanwhile, the logging camp itself remains illegal and Sarawak Report has documents showing that Quality Concrete has been banned by the Forest Department from carrying out further logging in the area until and unless the dispute is settled.

Therefore, Sarawak Report and several local and international NGOs are questioning: on what grounds are these people being held?

Abuse of power

Behind this scandal lies the malign influence of Raziah Mahumd, one of the Directors of Quality Concrete.  She is the sister of Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, and she has like the rest of the family has built her vast fortune from exploiting her access to planning permits via her brother, who controls them.  The only reason for having Raziah on the board of Quality Concrete, which is otherwise owned by the Sibu-based Tiang family, is that it is through her that they will have got the permit.

In return Raziah and her brother Taib will get their sizeable cut of the profits.  Timber industry insiders have testified to Sarawak Report in considerable detail how the system works and we estimate that the Chief Minister and his sister stand to make several hundred million dollars out of the destruction of this area, which they are then planning to turn over to Oil Palm plantations.

Things have gone too far in Sarawak

The scandal of what is happening in Sebangan is a sign that the Mahmud family have lost all sense of reason and proportion in their continuing mismanagement and plunder of Sarawak.   In this case Raziah and her brother have been caught with their fingers in the till, stealing what is not theirs.  Their reaction has been to bring in the police to persecute those who are standing up to their corrupt practices.

Of course this is not the first time Sarawak’s ruling family has done any of these things, but their record is catching up with them and the glare of world publicity is on them.  We are just one week after the Sibu river disaster which Taib’s own minister and ‘Chief Cheer-Leader’, James Masing acknowledged was a man-made catastrophe caused by illegal logging allowed by Taib’s regime – a key sign that the old man is losing his grip.

What is more, Sarawak Report’s original report on Raziah’s raid on Sebangan was networked across the globe to concerned groups and publications and received a huge response online.  The issue of the Ibans of Sebangan has also sparked a campaign in the United States and their plight has become a symbol of the corruption and injustice of Taib’s government.

Tonight, a distraught Christina Suntai, Numpang’s sister in Florida, called Sarawak Report to say he and his innocent friends are still in jail. “My brother has never done anything wrong, he is totally honest, all he has ever tried to do in his life is good”, she explained.  If only the same could be said for the current rulers of Sarawak!

Surely the Federal Government, which has charge of the police, must intervene in the name of good sense and prevent this abuse of power and symbolic example of rampant corruption in Sebangan?   To allow innocent protesters, who are of high standing in their communities, to remain in jail in such a public case can only reflect even more badly and counter-productively against Taib and his faltering grasp of reality.

Note: We value your comments and encourage debate.  However please keep these clean or else you discredit your own views and we will have to start censoring them!


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  11. Probably it is the best time that all anaembiaks of Sebangan should unite themselves and demand for their shares to sacrifice together with the leaders for a stay in the police jail. This ‘sa bilek’ unison force may create a starting point to deter further daylight robbery which likening to happen closer and closer to our door steps each day, mind you where is Sebangan. The no arrest on trespassers shows there is a dishonesty in the enforcement of Barisan Daching. Let’s look forward to a modern digital PR4 instrument of governance then a clearer and brighter future. Remember Vote For Change.

    Comment by Miaowkia — October 23, 2010 @ 10:55 PM | Reply

  12. Beat your war drum every morning & evening until your enemy retreats.

    Comment by FairPlay — October 23, 2010 @ 7:50 PM | Reply


      If the police are quick to arrest and detain Sebangan Dayaks without any reasons they should have more reasons to arrest and question Raziah Mahmund and her company directors for trespassing on the people’s land, illegally erecting structures there and causing damage to their land etc.

      As this is not likely to happen, the people could consider doing the job for the police and make a citizen’s arrest of Raziah and her company directors. The next step is to hold a people’s court to try them for their crimes against the people. Maybe this will happen when the time arrives….

      The more practical suggestion is to beat the drums. This is a novel idea and should be tried. It will send a strong psychological message to the timber loggers and police. Perhaps a series of drumming over fixed periods (morning noon & midnight) in different parts of the jungle so the whole place will resound with drum beats.

      Don’t think it is an offence to beat your drum- especially in the jungle. It is an effective form of peaceful protest.

      In fact the land rights defenders should make this a feature of every protest. It will put fear in the authorities and their licensed plunderers!

      Everyone must realise that the Penans and Dayaks are not just defending their land but they are defending the land of Sarawak for all of us. So much of our beautiful virgin jungles have been wiped out with the communities who lived there for centuries.

      200 villagers offered themselves to be arrested following the Sebangan arrests. This is real courage. Don’t let them shame us for our lack of action. Not proposing a “people’s action” that a few thousand of us get together and offer ourselves for arrest in portest against the logging (happened somewhere in the world). But don’t stand by and watch and let our brothers and sisters do the fighting alone. The least we can do is to show our unity with them by supporting them with providing food, water, clothes. Ask them how we can help???!!! No use just letting off steam in the internet. They may not be aware at all.


      Comment by Abang — October 24, 2010 @ 5:17 AM | Reply

  13. How are the Dayak likely to respond to the theft of their land and resources and the arrests and detention of their kinfolk? I suppose, I’m interested in what has been tried before and was it successful? What options are open to them?

    Comment by Adam Response — October 23, 2010 @ 6:55 PM | Reply

    • this has been tried? where?

      Comment by qwerty — October 24, 2010 @ 9:50 AM | Reply


    Events have moved very fast for the Sebangan anti-logging blockaders and the Taib Family.

    A timber camp has been burnt down (not yet clear who burned it). The blockade leaders have been arrested. Some have since been released but some including Numpang Suntai are still being detained for interrogation.

    More than 10 days ago Christina S. Suntai, sister of Numpang Suntai posted a letter in HU
    “To All Dayak Leaders In PBB, PRS, SUPP and SPDP. Dayaks are no longer your political pawns whom you can squeeze and intimidate to vote for BN in return for developments.”

    This letter showed that the affected landowners are in no mood to be led on another merry go round dance by the PBB BN government.

    The publicity on the new land grab by the Taib family and the consequent Dayak people’s opposition to this and defence of their ancestral lands exposes the greed and shameless face of the Taib family. Nothing is enough for them. Nothing is sacred to them as they want to grab the people’s ancestral land.

    This explosive event comes on top of the string of scandals involving the Taib Family- ex-employee Ross Boyert died in mysterious circumstances, expose by the Boyert letter, Sarawak Report expose on Taib fanily wealth overseas, Oxford demonstration against Taib, popular uproar over the Rajang Log jam, scandal about Taib’s missing son….

    The scandals just pile up and have shaken the Taib empire to its roots. The tremors must also affect the CM’s cronies who can see the imminent collapse of their empire built on greed and theft of the people’s land and wealth.

    Strong as the tremors may be they are not yet enough to shake the rotten apples from the tree.

    As many writers are saying we must put aside our differences and unite with SADIA to resist this further attack on the people’s right and Taib family land grab.

    All genuine opposition political parties must show their real colours and stand with the Sebangan people. If you don’t do it now you will not win over the majority of us or any election.

    The people are fearlessly taking the lead to defend themselves. So PKR, DAP & the rest don’t be left behind by history……Be there for them!

    We must not fail them when they now need our full support. Organise and supply material aid – food and water for them so they can withstand the long siege and maintain the blockade of the Taib trespass into their land. Organise public support..Organise legal aid…Organise medical aid if required…

    Comment by Abang — October 23, 2010 @ 12:03 PM | Reply

    • It’s your own land anyway. How about doing some arresting of your own? Are those police stations built illegally on stolen land backed by falsified documents never witnessed by the wishes of the natives? Call in the UN backed by Malaysian Constitutional lawyers to legalize your actions in sending in your own bulldozers because its YOUR NCR LAND to begin with that was stolen and illegally built on.

      Need witnesses and such? Put up live cam streams (more than 1 cam in case of damage or lost feeds) on the web showing the abusive thugs or illegal arrests by policemen who are acting to maintain stolen lands. How many are they as opposed to your great numbers? You are the masters of your own lands, YOU will do the arresting and if they get violent over lands that do not belong to them or try to kill any natives, teach what it is that headhunters do.

      You don’t have a MyKad or a birthcert, so they sure as hell cannot arrest you on YOUR OWN LANDS or even tresspass to begin with . . .

      You will have no future if your lands are stolen, they might as well be killing you. So act accordingly. Not necessarily by head hunting but by taking back what belongs to you.

      You have the numbers, hence you have the power. In fact anyone who is not a Sarawak native could be told to LEAVE Sarawak. The Chiefs would hold the life or death of any trespassers on native lands. This would of course need peacekeepers from UN or any friendly nations to work. I hope the greedy and evil men that have invaded your lands will turn away, because I am sure you guys could make the entire lot of them disappear into the forest or turn them into hood ornaments if need be, but have not yet because the Chiefs have not sounded the drums for the true owners of Sarawak to be on the warpath . . .

      Comment by wdydi — October 24, 2010 @ 2:11 AM | Reply

      • The people have the power to change things…

        All Sarawak born people are Sarawakians regardless of their race religions or beliefs. This is the ideal we should strive for.

        Comment by Abang — October 24, 2010 @ 10:10 AM | Reply

  15. The Police are quick in taking action againts the protestors……this issue been around for month; why not put the trespasser in the jail!

    So to the people of Sebangan and to the people of sarawak…RISE…RISE…RISE…start drumming the war drum… show the white hair the warriors in you!Drive him and his cronies out of sarawak….

    SHOW THEM THE INCARNATION OF RENTAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by headhunter 2 — October 23, 2010 @ 11:53 AM | Reply


      There are 1 million headhunters out there. All of us should go to the aid of our kinsfolk.

      Comment by headhunter1million — October 23, 2010 @ 12:10 PM | Reply




      Comment by Head Hunting Time — October 24, 2010 @ 2:21 AM | Reply

  16. We have just received the news that the Malaysian police have arrested Nicholas Mujah, the Secretary General of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and six Iban villagers, including the headman of Kampung Bajong in Sebuyau, Sarawak.

    We must be united to rally behind SADIA and its officials when they are fighting against injustice and humanity crimes committed against the rural poor. We urge the police not to go for a wish hunt and allow those who were arrested access to legal representations.

    Rural Dayaks no longer perceived themselves as weak and hopeless when they faced fragmented determination to defend themselves against the high and might logging operators, plantation owners and contractors and last but not least some law enforcers working in cohort with the rich towkays.

    All concerned NGOs, Pakatan Politicians and MoCS should also be united in their stance against these bullies who relied on their political connection to flaunt the laws to plunder and destroying habitats, environments and livelihood of the rural poor.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — October 23, 2010 @ 10:16 AM | Reply

  17. One wonders, just how much do the Taib family want? Is there no end to their greed? They are all already billionaires and all through putting their hands in the till as SR puts it and not through their own sweat and tears as the rest of us do. My hat to SR for continuing to expose the Thief Minister and his family. We just hope that Sarawakians will be able to come to their senses especially those who continue to vote for the BN.

    Comment by fcukbn — October 23, 2010 @ 8:48 AM | Reply

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