Hornbill Unleashed

May 1, 2011

‘Best solution to NCR issue is gov’t change’


Kuek Ser Kuang Keng

Sarawak natives may have won a landmark case in 2009 at the Federal Court to protect their natives customary land rights (NCR), but activist lawyer-turned politician Baru Bian concluded that the fastest way to resolve the long simmering issue is a complete change of government.

Currently handling over 100 cases of NCR land disputes, the Sarawak PKR chief believed that the core problem lay with the Sarawak government that has consistently defied court rulings and continued to grant land concessions to private companies that encroached into NCR lands.

“We can take the case to court but it takes years to reach a final decision. By that time the land would have been harvested and money pocketed,” Baru told some 40 people who turned up for the ‘The Tarik Session with Baru Bian’ organised by news portalMalaysia Digest in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Thus the fastest way to put a stop to it is to change the state or federal government through the ballot box, he said.

“Although we failed at the state election but we still can win the federal government in the next general election,” said the newly elected Ba’Kelalan state assemblyperson.

The landmark case of Nor ak Nyawai vs Borneo Pulp Plantation Sdn Bhd in which the High Court recognised NCR land, had started as early as 1999 but it was only in 2009 that the nation’s highest court reaffirmed the decision.

Baru reiterated the Pakatan Rakyat election manifesto that an independent land commission would be formed to study and find a solution for NCR land disputes should the opposition coalition take office.

Gov’t fanning fire with policy

He warned that more violent clashes over NCR land disputes will occur because the state government had shown no sign of stopping its trouble instigating practice.

“This is dangerous for Sarawak’s future if nothing is done.”

Discussing the outcome of the recently concluded Sarawak state election, Baru said the party had learnt its lesson that early preparation is crucial to win in polls, especially the early selection of candidate.

NONEPKR managed to grab three out of the 71 seats in the election, including two native-majority seats of Ba’kelalan and Krian, which were formerly BN bastions. Political observers had attributed the victory to early preparation and pre-selection of candidates.

Baru conceded that the groundwork in other constituencies started late, delayed by the party’s internal problems and the existence of more than one potential candidate in those areas.

Hence, he said, the party will try to replicate Ba’kelalan and Krian’s success formula in the next general election, through early selection of candidates who will immediately be put to work on the ground.

“The fear of announcing the candidates early is that they could be bought over (by the rival) but we can identify the candidates first without announcing them,” he told Malaysiakini after the event.

Setback blessing in disguise

Baru added that the state election had eased the parliamentary candidate selection process.

“We can gauge their performance and experience in the last state election, whether we can trust them or not.”

On DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang’s proposal to merge Sarawak DAP with Snap on the grounds that it could strengthen Sarawak Pakatan, Baru remained doubtful, pointing out that the polls result showed that Sarawakians had turned their backs on Snap.

All 26 Snap candidates, except one, had lost their deposit in the election, failing to obtain one eighth of the total votes cast.

NONEHowever, Baru said that the proposal is understandable as DAP wants to widen its perspective after being tagged a Chinese chauvinist party when it snared almost all the Chinese-majority seats during the polls.

“DAP only worked in Chinese constituencies and only focused on Supp in the past 40 years. So now it is restricted to Chinese seats. Although it had tried to expand to non-Chinese areas like Bukit Kota, it failed,” he added.

Hence he repeated the *party’s invitation* for DAP to help PKR to cover more non-Chinese areas in the coming general election.

“We were not greedy (to contest 49 out of 71 seats) but we wanted to make sure no seat would be won uncontested by the BN.”

Earlier, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli had called on Pakatan partners to share the ‘burden’ of contesting in Sarawak’s ‘black’ constituencies, but none were willing to fight for in the last state election.

This had overstretched the PKR’s resources during the campaign period, he said.



  1. Good advice to those candidates who couldnot make it. Now is the time for you people to get familiarize with the people and their problems. Dont show yourself only during election times even if you originated from the area. The PKR candidate for Semop is for example is an unknown. How did he get to be selected? The day his name was announced most people in the area knew already that the Semop seat is gone already. PKR dont just dump your candidate for the people to elect. If you dont have any candidate just leave the area for somebody else.

    Comment by Awang Samiun — May 1, 2011 @ 7:42 PM | Reply

  2. QUOTE

    … to form an independent Land Commission, to “study” and “find solution” to NCR land dispute … ?


    That’s all ? To “study” and “find solution” ? And only for those “disputed” NCR ?!!

    And oh yes, what might the solution be, eh ?

    This is what Dr Aera means, “Change” to PKR fan boys means – to win the election ONLY, thereafter “to study, and find solution”. Cross the bridge when you get there ? Invent the policies… as you go ?!

    Which, as well …it should be noted – that the 1st statement in the Manifesto, to declare Sarawak a secular state …. was not reflected in Buku Jingga or 100 day plan, with a parallel declaration to revise the Federal Constitution that Islam is official religion in Malaya, except in Sabah and Sarawak.

    Was the Manifesto cooked by bonehead in a shady back room, somewhere ?

    Of course no one question Baru Bian’s role in defending NCR land issue.

    But, why was the expertise not used to fully reform NCR from legal, economic and social standpoint ?

    In retrospect, Pakatan (perhaps except DAP) was not ready to govern Sarawak. Its a blessing that they lose the election.

    Now – for the upcoming GE – I want to see a preparation to govern, more than the preparatin to win the election (with screaming billboard type argument in blogosphere).

    Refine Buku Jingga. Refine 100 day plan. Show the full package for Sabah and Sarawak in philosophical and pragmatic terms.

    Show that we are the colony no mo .. should PR takes over Putra Jaya. Inspire us with details, not slogan.

    Comment by MERAMAT TAJAK — May 1, 2011 @ 10:30 AM | Reply

    • Yes…we want full autonomy…not another Malaya colony in different wrapping!

      Show us the details of how PR will govern the states…not just finding solution!

      By the way, what is Baru Bian havng session with people in KL? He should be meeting people in his constituency…to thanks the poeple to voted for him! Having teh tarik session?

      Comment by Very Angry Swakian... — May 1, 2011 @ 1:27 PM | Reply

  3. The Chinese community will readily work with the government BUT NOT with an abusive, repressive, corrupted and oppressive UMNO controlled BN government. A government change is the only way to overhaul and reform our deeply corrupted institution and system of administration. I believe other communities who supported Pakatan Rakyat also have no illusion about how Nagypt and UMNO work.

    The Malay/Melanau and all candidates in PKR who lost in the state election should work harder to gain the trust and confidence of the voters and learn from their mistakes.They should restrain from blaming external factors other than their own popularity in their constituency.Many of the candidates had not walk about in their constituency before , during and after the election. The party machinery through their respective branches and service centres should be serving the people and attending to their problems all the times.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — May 1, 2011 @ 7:22 AM | Reply

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