Hornbill Unleashed

November 14, 2010

Update : Lawas blockade

The arrests pictures expose police collusion with SS Gas Pipeline contractor

November 13, 2010 by democracy4now

The pictures from the arrests scene are finally in-which expose the collusion between the Lawas police and the SS Gas Pipeline contractor. Even done in the quiet away from the public and media view-technology is empowering the people to record such astrocious action of the police-who keep quiet when the land owners complained about the land encroachment for a long time, but spring into action after 1 week of the blockade! 4 persons were arrested on the 1st day-and they had all been, under public pressure, released by now.

2 released-3 more still inside lock-up

November 12, 2010 by democracy4now

Akal and Sulaiman are out of the police station at 3.40pm after giving their statement. They were picked up last night around 3.30pm. Many friends including John Labo were crowding around the police station to give support to their fellow folks who set up the blockade to defend their NCR land rights.

3 more who are picked up today are still waiting to give their statement, after which they are expected to be out as well.










  1. Mr. Jd Sigar commented on the Lawas Blockade at the Sarawak Indigenous Community News web page. He said: “It seem’s that our country is not democracy but communist law country”.

    A response by Economics101 is reposted here:


    “JD Sigar is right on the point that “our country is not democracy” but misapplies the argument against the communist land reform policy.

    One of the well known communist land reform policies is to give “Land to the Tiller” and or landless peasants whose original traditional owned land had often been illegally seized by the rich and powerful connected to the ruling class. This type of land reform policy is in a way related to the NCR law which has now upheld and affirmed by the High Court in its landmark Kawi’s Case on 15th November 2010.

    Encyclopedia Britannica defines this policy as:


    Deliberate change in the way agricultural land is held or owned, the methods of its cultivation, or the relation of agriculture to the rest of the economy. The most common political objective of land reform is to abolish feudal or colonial forms of landownership, often by taking land away from large landowners and redistributing it to landless peasants. Other goals include improving the social status of peasants and coordinating agricultural production with industrialization programs. The earliest record of land reform is from 6th-century-BC Athens, where Solon abolished the debt system that forced peasants to mortgage their land and labour. The concentration of land in the hands of large landowners became the rule in the ancient world, however, and remained so through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The French Revolution brought land reform to France and established the small family farm as the cornerstone of French democracy. Serfdom was abolished throughout most of Europe in the 19th century. The Russian serfs were emancipated in 1861, and the Russian Revolution of 1917 introduced collectivization of agriculture. Land reform was instituted in a number of other countries where communists came to power, notably China. It remains a potent political issue in many parts of the world.”

    In Sarawak the principle of native land rights is based on 2 laws:

    1. Adat law: in a large number of cases the ownership of land is based on traditional ancestry rights (basically rights established by “long user” of land now as in Kawi’s case).

    2. Native Land Code: This ownership has been legally recognised under the Native Land Code (as amended) as “NCR” for at least 150 years from the time of Brooke rule. This Code was very advanced in its time as in many other colonial situations local people lost all their rights to the colonial occupier.

    Since achieving “democracy and independence in Malaysia” in 1963 we have witnessed a reversal of the “land law” established in Sarawak whereby the Dayaks and other natives had more or less worked out their territorial ownership of land when the Brooke rule began. (The original paragraph has been re-written).

    Instead of getting land, the traditional land ownership rights have been taken away by government policy through amending the law, illegal and often violent (using police, FRUs, gangsters) forcible seizure of such land (native land, NCR and so on) which is sold for private commercial enterprises against a background of enormous corruption by those in power.

    The PBB BN Rahman/Taib government has with great ease misappropriated the people’s land and benefitted from the sale and subsequent development. Taib a qualified lawyer (and “democratically elected representative”) abused the powers entrusted to him and acted in breach of his public duty and trust and in conflict of interest for personal gain.

    Taib has therefore done the exact opposite in his “democratic system”. He has been taking land away and practically giving it to himself and or cronies and family for their own unjust enrichment. This is not the stated communist policies and objectives. These land grabs have also been happening in Malaya and Sabah.

    Some points to chew over:

    1. Kuala Lumpur government is opposed to the establishment of a communist system since the communists will take back the land the UMNO BN regime has stolen from the natives like the Dayaks and return it to the people.

    2. Anthropologists recognise the Dayaks peoples’ social system as one similar to communism as they have always led a “communistic” lifestyle.

    They live and work together and share the fruits of their labour. They practiced democracy by holding meetings to make decisions and electing their leaders (now Gov’t appointed- so they lost their basic human right and freedom to choose for themselves).

    This is one of the unspoken reasons why the democratic Government is seizing Dayak land so as to break up the Dayak social system and unity.

    3. It is argued here that all the seizures of Native lands since 1963 is illegal as the government had changed the Land Code which was intended to preserve the people’s inalienable land rights. This law can be now seen as an advanced environmental law which also preserves the country’s forests and jungle lands for the benefit and enjoyment of all Sarawakians under the guardianship of the traditional land owners. Unfortunately the greed of those in power have irreversibly laid waste our heritage along with the mountains and rivers.

    4. This national disaster has happened because Sarawak is still a colony under a new foreign ruler. The new colonial master has allowed the ruthless termination of the people’s basic human rights and dignity and source of survival by its local puppet PBB BN regime. (new para added)

    5. The Dayaks who resisted Brooke conquest have been so pacified that they have offered little resistance to the land grabs in the past 47 years. Have they lost their fighting spirit? Why?

    Think about it.

    Comment by Economic101 — November 18, 2010 @ 4:42 PM | Reply

  2. With the current Lawas Land Rights on full swing it would interest readers to read this interview of a Land Rights Fighter which has a lot of human interest and posted from NUT GRAPH.


    By Gan Pei Ling | 15 November 2010 | Read [1] Comment | Print This Post Print This Post
    Mujah in Sadia’s office in Kuching, Sarawak.

    Mujah in Sadia’s office in Kuching, Sarawak.

    IN Oct 2010, indigenous rights activist Nicholas Mujah was arrested and remanded for three days with seven others from his village for an alleged fire in a logging camp.

    The Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) secretary-general has been fighting for the rights of Sarawak indigenous peoples to their native customary land since around 1980 and is no stranger to arbitrary arrest.

    He became politically conscious after his arrest by police in 1983. He had helped seven European activists who wanted to stage a sit-in protest to block timber exports from Baram. The activists had asked Mujah for directions to get to the ship.

    “I was still very ignorant [about these issues back then]. The old ladies met me in Miri and asked me how to get to the barge. I told them how to get there and because of that, the police thought I was their person-in-contact in Miri,” says Mujah.

    He would later meet lawyer cum activist Harrison Ngau Laing from Friends of the Earth and learn more about these issues. Mujah returned to his village in 1984 and 1997 to defend his native customary land against loggers’ incursion. He was arrested on both occasions.

    Mujah spoke to The Nut Graph on 24 Aug 2010 in Miri about growing up in an Iban village and the challenges of being an activist in Sarawak.

    TNG: Where and when were you born?

    Nicholas Mujah: I was born in 1960 in a traditional longhouse in Kampung Ensika Sebangan, Simunjan, Kota Samarahan.

    Can you trace your ancestry?

    Both my parents are Iban. My ancestors came from a place called Tampun Juah in Kalimantan, Indonesia and settled in Sarawak eight generations ago.

    It takes about three hours’ walk through the jungle from the Sarawak-Kalimantan border to get to our original village. We are still in contact with our relatives over there.

    Tell us some of the stories you remember the most from your grandparents or parents.

    Mujah’s mother Ramon anak Mani (in red shirt) and father Ason anak Mani (sitting next to her) at their long house in Kampung Ensika Sebangan.

    To the Dayaks, the entire island of Borneo was our motherland. Our people were only separated into Dayak Sarawak and Dayak Kalimantan because of the Dutch and British colonialists.

    Actually, many lands near the current Malaysian-Indonesian border that are now considered Indonesian territory used to belong to Sarawak [and formerly the British]. And those that now belong to Sarawak were considered Indonesian [and formerly Dutch] territory.

    The boundary between Sarawak and Indonesia was separated using the watershed principle — all rivers that flow into Kalimantan belong to Indonesia, [while] rivers that flow into Sarawak belong to Sarawak.

    In 1965, the boundary was redefined. Maybe with more advanced technology, [the authorities] discovered that the rivers which they thought were flowing into Indonesia were actually flowing into Malaysia [and vice versa].

    Because of the new land delineation, Indonesians who are now in Malaysian territory were considered Sarawakians [while] former Sarawakians became Indonesians. My cousin is a Sarawakian because the place where his family stays is [now considered] Malaysian territory but his father is Indonesian.

    It’s easier for Sarawakians-turned-Indonesians to get citizenship from the Indonesian government but more difficult for Indonesians-turned-Sarawakians [to get Malaysian citizenship]. Many still hold their Indonesian identity card until now.

    What was growing up like?

    I went to a school near my longhouse. Our school was very poor, it was built using nipah palm as it was near the sea. It was about a two-hour walk [everyday] from our village, down from the mountain to the school.

    I entered a boarding school for secondary school. It was about six hours by engine boat from our village. After that I studied Form 5 and Form 6 in Kuching and later entered Kolej Pertanian Malaya (now Universiti Putra Malaysia) in Serdang, Selangor to study economics under a government scholarship.

    At that time there was no university in Sarawak and only a few universities and colleges in the country, so it was considered [a great] privilege to be able to enter college. I worked in the Statistics Department after I graduated but I didn’t like the job so I quit and joined an oil company.

    How did you end up becoming an activist?

    Mujah’s bond papers when he was arrested in 1997.

    I was working in the oil industry when I met the seven European ladies and later Harrison. Not long after I became aware about these issues, I had to return to my hometown. Our lands were leased to logging companies and our elders were arrested [for resisting their intrusion].

    My father brought a parang to chase away the loggers, but I thought we had to change strategy [to be more effective in our resistance]. From there I led the protest and I was arrested.

    I was charged for illegal assembly in our own lands. The second charge against me was for instigating the people. I was remanded for two weeks while others were released after their statements were taken.

    I’ve been remanded four times in my life. That was the first time. After that, neighbouring communities [who were facing the same land struggle] came to look for our help, and we helped them [to resist the logging companies’ intrusion].

    After that my name was blacklisted by the police. Whenever a blockade happened, they would call me and ask me if I was there. Sometimes the community was too honest and told the police frankly I was there. (Chuckles)

    Besides the police, have other authorities harassed you for what you do?

    Every time I want to go to Peninsular Malaysia or overseas, I will be questioned by Immigration. They will ask me: “Where are you going? Why are you going there? Why is it always you?”

    If I’m going for a seminar or training in Bangkok or Indonesia, they will demand [to see] the invitation letter from the organisers and question me about the event and host.

    The police also monitors my movements; they have called my staff [in Sadia’s office] to ask them about my whereabouts.

    What about the logging and oil palm companies?

    I have been intimidated by loggers twice. Once they called me up: “Why are you involved? This is not your problem. You want your life? [Do you] still want to have your food?”

    Another time they blocked my car, I was a little panicked but fortunately the local community happened to be near there, and the thugs went away.

    They have tried to bribe us, too. Once, someone from the forestry department called me: “The company wants to negotiate, how much do you want?” I told him there was nothing to negotiate, the [indigenous] people don’t want their forest to be logged, that’s it.

    A ceremony where a shaman blesses paddy seeds before the start of farming season.

    How do you connect with these stories as a Malaysian? Are there times when have you struggled with your identity as a Malaysian?

    I don’t know if I can really call myself a Malaysian or 1Malaysia in [the current] context, or if such labels carry any real intention or meaning with them because:

    For one, as a Dayak Iban, and correct me if I’m wrong, there is no provision in our constitution that says a Dayak Iban belongs to [this] land called Malaysia.

    Secondly, I can proudly call myself a native of Sarawak, Malaysia, and [even] article 161A or 153 of our constitution placidly says that special attention must be given to [the natives], but in any legal documentation or form, there is no place for me, only Malay [Malaysian], Chinese [Malaysian], and Indian [Malaysian], what a Malaysia.

    Thirdly, I’m very afraid that the Ibans [will be] prohibited from using “Allah” in our mother tongue [when no other word] can replace its meaning.
    Mujah (front row, third from right) were among the civil society activists who visited Long Teran Kanan in Baram, Sarawak to investigate the on-going land conflict between the locals and IOI Group.

    Mujah (front row, third from right) were among the civil society activists who visited Long Teran Kanan in Baram, Sarawak to investigate the on-going land conflict between the locals and IOI Group.

    Describe the future you would like to see for Malaysia or your children.

    I don’t hope much, I just hope to see some political changes.

    We’ve a lot of resources if we look into our own backyard. And if we look at countries like Australia, the rich people are the [farmers]. If we can educate our children well in agriculture, they can cultivate their own lands [and prosper]…The situation in Sarawak is unique, the indigenous people are the majority, they should have control of the political situation but often, they don’t.

    Some people are angry with this situation, but what’s the point? [We could do better] by educating and empowering our own communities, then we can control and decide our destiny in our own lands.

    Comment by ABANG — November 16, 2010 @ 8:37 PM | Reply

  3. another bn project against the wishes of the people. 1malaysia ka?

    Comment by pkr — November 14, 2010 @ 7:58 PM | Reply

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