Hornbill Unleashed

February 20, 2011

Nervous watch for police at anti-Taib family event

NONE

Keruah Usit

Police in Simunjan, a quiet district town two hours’ drive from Kuching, showed exemplary caution when facing a crowd of 300 Iban villagers gathered in support of Numpang Suntai this Wednesday.

Only 20 of the supporters were allowed into the courtroom in Simunjan, where Numpang (right) was facing a charge of ‘criminal intimidation’ against Loyal Billion, a logging company contracted to extract timber for a wealthy conglomerate, Quality Concrete.

The remainder of the crowd remained outside, braving the heavy rain.

Numpang was charged with threatening employees of Loyal Billion with a shotgun. “My brother never handled a gun in his life.
One of his arms is partially paralysed due to a stroke he suffered in 1997,” Christina Suntai, Numpang’s sister, stated on her website.

NONEQuality Concrete shareholders include the sister of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, Roziah@Radziah Mahmud (left), and their cousin Hamed Sepawi.

The villagers have a lawsuit pending against Loyal Billion and Quality Concrete, alleging that the companies had trespassed on the villagers’ ancestral Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

This NCR dispute has angered Iban villagers from 16 longhouses in the Sebangan area, near Simunjan, because the owners of the logging concession are stripping their forests to profit Roziah Mahmud and Hamed Sepawi, two of the richest people in Sarawak.

Sneaking around the Bench

The natives claim Loyal Billion has been working outside its concession area, and even after an injunction imposed on the company, the villagers say logging is still continuing.

Numpang was arrested last October as one of the ‘Sebangan Seven’, after Loyal Billion alleged the natives had set fire to its timber camp.
The other detainees included Nicholas Mujah, a respected land rights activist from the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia).

lundu native arson case 071207 nicholas mujahAccording to Mujah (right), a Loyal Billion camp worker had told police Mujah had been at the camp at the time of the arson, even though he had witnesses placing him 400km away at the time.

Besides Numpang, none of the others have been charged. International NGOs denounced the police action as harassment of the villagers.

Civil society has urged the police to act against Loyal Billion and Quality Concrete for illegal logging and for hiring gangsters to threaten villagers opposing the companies’ intrusion onto the NCR land.

“I am still wondering, who is intimidating who in this case? They are the ones who encroach (on) our land, they are the ones who steal our trees.

Mysterious ways of the law

“They are the ones who use the gangsters to intimidate us, they are the ones who utilise the police to harass us.

“And yet I am the one who is going to be charged for criminal intimidation,” Numpang told the press.

“Within (our NCR) area, there are pulau galau, forests that have been deliberately preserved for future generations in pemakai menoa (our territory). I have every right, like anybody else, to (talk about) and fight for the rights of everybody in the area,” he explained.

NONEHe added that the fight was all about ensuring what has been theirs for generations, their native customary rights remain with them.
“If all that’s taken from us, we don’t have anything,” he said.

Numpang pointed out that the issue was not specific to Sebangan , but all of Sarawak, from Lundu to Lawas…(whether) Malay, Lun Bawang, Kayan, Kenyah, Iban, it doesn’t matter.

“It stems from the simple fact of how the country is administered, how laws are made…I don’t like being locked up in jail, I don’t like to do a blockade up in the mountain, not enough food, not enough sleep, but the strength I have comes from the fact that I know I am doing the correct thing.”

The court heard submissions from Numpang’s legal team of Baru Bian, See Chee How and Desmond Kho.

The next attempt at crowd control for the police will be on March 2, during the hearing of legal team’s submission that Numpang has no case to answer, with the court ruling expected on March 10.

 

KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist – ‘anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia’. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalised Malaysians. Keruah Usit can be contacted atkeruah_usit@yahoo.com

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15 Comments »

  1. […] Nervous watch for police at anti-Taib family event […]

    Pingback by “Together, we safeguard our NCR land from land grab” « Hornbill Unleashed — March 10, 2011 @ 3:38 PM | Reply

  2. […] Nervous watch for police at anti-Taib family event […]

    Pingback by Interim injunction granted against Taib-linked companies | MoCS — March 7, 2011 @ 1:40 PM | Reply

  3. […] Nervous watch for police at anti-Taib family event […]

    Pingback by Interim Injunction granted against Taib-linked Companies « Hornbill Unleashed — March 7, 2011 @ 11:12 AM | Reply

  4. LET THIS BE A VALUEABLE LESSON TO SARAWAKIANS WHO STILL VOTE THE CORRUPT REGIME. COMMON SARAWAKIANS,LET SHOW THE REST THAT WE ARE NOT STUPID.LET US KICK OUT PEH MOH N HIS CRONIES ONCE AND FOR ALL.

    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — February 20, 2011 @ 8:30 PM | Reply

  5. If only this kind of news reach the people at the longhouses, a great deal can be reached to make them feel obliged to vote for a new Sarawak Government. Out of ignorance the people kept giving majority to BN under Taib, may be because of the influence of their own ADUN, not knowing that each time BN got the majority Taib was the first man to smile and saying deep down his heart to himself “these people are stupid. Yesterday,they rightly accused me cooruption, of taking away their land, etc, but today I am still the winner”

    Sarawakians have to let go their BN ADUN, no matter how good, inorder to get rid of Taib. Taib may win his own seat because of his wealth but he will soon run away into self-exile if he fails to get the majority. If we keep on giving the majority to BN while knowing that Taib and his cronies are corrupt,we are just providing them more rooms for more corruptions.

    It is really high time we change the government. We will not die of starvation yet even if the new government is worst still.

    Comment by Ayen Piyat — February 20, 2011 @ 8:19 PM | Reply

  6. The Bruno Manser Fund plans to expose Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s alleged family business empire – spanning eight countries – next week.

    Each concerned citizen in Sarawak should make one police report each against the thief minister Taib Mahmud. We hope to see Sarawak Report and partners of Pakatan Rakyat and NGOs organise an anti corruption campaign and mobile at least 200,000 Sarawakians to lodge police report against Taib throughout the police stations in Sarawak.

    Sarawak to lead Malsysians in power power and jungle power.
    Hidup kuasa rakyat dan hidup kuasa hutan !

    Comment by Mata Kuching — February 20, 2011 @ 5:02 PM | Reply

    • correction..people power and…jungle power

      Comment by Mata Kuching — February 20, 2011 @ 5:04 PM | Reply

  7. DON’T BOTHER WITH “SELAMATKAN MALAYSIA”- SELAMATKAN SARAWAK!

    Scrap Malaysia into the dustbin of history!

    We want Sarawak Independence!

    Comment by Ayamkurus — February 20, 2011 @ 11:22 AM | Reply

  8. This mentality of re-electing the same gov’t dates back to day one. Nothing has changed to any significant degree, except for the urban voters who may have initiated the shift to alternative representation in the legislative assembly. But otherwise, the rural folks will only know 2 letters ….. BN! The plunder & ravage will continue unabated, unless & until KL says enuf is enuf, which is obviously not gonna happen …. not for a long long time yet.

    It’s incomprehensible why the malays, most of whom must be aware of the high-handed systematic amassment of wealth by the “royal family” will persist in allowing it to continue. Maybe they do regard the family as royal that rightfully deserves the special previlege to rob as they wish. Or maybe they feel it’s better than being governed by the opposition.

    Comment by foreigner — February 20, 2011 @ 8:00 AM | Reply

  9. 300 ibans? reminds me of 300 spartans from the movie “300” directed by Zack Snyder.

    Comment by Rentap — February 20, 2011 @ 3:12 AM | Reply

    • A SINGLE SPARK CAN START A JUNGLE FIRE!

      MAY BE HOPEFULLY 3000 WILL TURN UP ON 2ND MARCH 2011.

      SARAWAKIANS MAKE IT OUR DAY OF UNITY AGAINST STATE OPPRESSION!

      IF YOU CAN’T BE IN SIMUNJAN, YOU CAN EXPRESS SUPPORT ON THE NET OR DISTRIBUTE LEAFLET AROUND YOUR AREA TO AROUSE AWARENESS.

      SPRAY PAINT SLOGANS ON THE WALLS OF THE TIMBER COMPANIES’ BUILDINGS & RELATED COMPANIES

      Comment by Freeman — February 20, 2011 @ 11:17 AM | Reply

      • Why only 3000 thousand?

        Why not all the Dayak/Iban turn up?

        Spraying paints is an coward act…why not just confront the Loyal Billion tauke….better still; the CM sister….set up camp infront of their resident!

        Comment by anak sarawak... — February 20, 2011 @ 6:51 PM | Reply

      • Please note the word “hopefully”. 300 was already great number but 3000 would be a bit hard to hope for!

        All Dayaks should turn up but would they?

        Spray is suggested since it would be hard to expect anyone to take any action more drastic than that. Even if done will have certain impact on the targeted people and on the public awareness that we are not still asleep.

        Agreed to confront Loyal Billion – set up a big camp outside their compounds. Why not?

        Would our Dayak brothers be prepared to take this simple step?

        Unite for action?

        If so Sarawak can expect real change!

        Comment by Freeman — February 20, 2011 @ 7:30 PM | Reply

      • The big problem with we Iban nowdays…..talk big and boastfull about everything…fe.. money, job, car, strong, fights, brave, etc… but when comes to the real thing we go backward or making U turn! So how to confront these people?

        long gone the spirit of Rentap in the Iban now; they are only become agrressive after few bottle or ‘Cap Apek’!

        Comment by H2H — February 21, 2011 @ 5:06 PM | Reply

  10. That is the way to go Ibans, Kadazans, Dayaks, Melanaus, Chinese, Indians and all Sarawakians! Do not allow the Taib/BN Government to bully you anymore! Enough is enough!

    30 years of misgovernance had made Sarawak, one of the richest States in Malaysia to one of the poorest! Sarawakians, you stand to benefit immensely if there is good Governance in the State. Stand up and be counted in the coming GE!

    The Iban/Kadazans/Dayaks all Sarawakians, they should spread the words around. Do not be sweet talked when Federal leaders visit your place during the GE, because after the GE, probably you will never see them again! Just thank them for whatever they give you, but, always demand for more! And if your roofs are leaking, if your hose needs a tv set, or a computer, electricity, water, just demand and they will be given. Make sure it is given to you before the election, because after the election you will not see their faces again!

    Sarawakians, wake up and be smart! Do not be gullible, trust no one especially from BN! They will promise you heaven and paradise but once the votes are being counted, “Words” are all they offered you! They will never fulfil their promises!

    It is the chance of your lifetime, when the BN government is shaky, they are desperate and will give you anything as far as you promise them your votes. It is now or never Sarawakians, just ask for anything, motorbikes, bicycles, everything. Once the election is over, there is nothing for you!

    Remember, take whatever they give you and ask for more BUT Vote Pakatan Rakyat! Sarawakians boleh! Selamatkan Malaysia!

    Comment by Osama — February 20, 2011 @ 2:08 AM | Reply


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