Hornbill Unleashed

March 16, 2012

Simunjan flare-up: Five held, excavators torched

Keruah Usit

In another heated dispute over Native Customary Land Rights in Sarawak, police have arrested five Iban villagers in Simunjan for allegedly setting fire to 13 excavators of an oil palm company.

The company is a joint venture between two government heavyweights: federal investment arm Tabung Haji, and a statutory body, the Land Consolidation and Development Authority (LCDA).

According to Nicholas Mujah (left), secretary-general of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), an NGO defending native land rights, six Iban men had initially been arrested on March 13.

One man, said to be a government teacher, referred to only as Ismawi, was released by 6pm the same day.

NONEThe five remaining detainees appeared at the Simunjan magistrate’s court at 9am yesterday . The magistrate granted the police four days’ extension of remand.

The villagers are Kudie anak Jampong 52 and Brandon anak Kudie, 36, from Kampung Temiang/Mumong, Mang anak Maggat, 55, from Kampung Keniong, Sebi anak Daka, 51, from Kampung Sengkalan, and Kendawang anak Mina, 65.

The detainees were represented by Dominique Ng.

Simunjan: Exploding emotions’ flashpoint

Eyewitnesses say 200 local people turned up at the court, in a show of solidarity for the five detainees.

NONEThis latest spate of arrests recalls the detention of the ‘Sebangan Seven’ on Oct 22, 2010, for setting fire to machinery and buildings at a Loyal Billion timber camp, also in Simunjan.

Loyal Billion was the logging contractor operating on a timber concession belonging to Quality Concrete, a consortium notorious for having Roziah @ Raziah Mahmud, sister of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, as its director.

As minister for land and forests, Taib had, as it happens, awarded the land to his sister’s outfit, despite the local Iban villagers claiming Native Customary Rights to the area.

The ‘Sebangan Seven’ were eventually set free without being charged. Nicholas Mujah was among the seven detainees in 2010, accused of sparking off the protest and fanning the flames – from 400km away.

Yesterday, Mujah drove to Simunjan as soon as he heard the news of the latest arrests. On this occasion, however, he was not arrested.

Mujah explained that there had been widespread dismay among local Ibans over the clearing of their ancestral forests, fruit trees and farms by the Tabung Haji/LCDA oil palm joint venture.

Desperately battling  conglomerates

In 2009, Mujah said, the same disputed land area had been leased to Rimbunan Hijau, a gigantic logging and plantation conglomerate owned by media tycoon Tiong Hiew King, for the planting oil palm, even though the development proposal had originally marked the land for forestry plantation.

NONEThe community challenged the lease at the Sarawak High Court and won an out-of-court settlement – a stirring moral victory – from Rimbunan Hijau in April 2010.

However, early this year, the same land was handed out by Taib to LCDA and Tabung Haji. Just as in Sebangan in 2010, Iban communities protested, and made several police reports, but their NCR claims were ignored.

Mujah said one interesting tactic adopted by the oil palm
company was that “Tabung Haji engaged other indigenous peoples from other communities, villagers who have no rights over that (pemakai menoa) territorial domain”, to make separate NCR counter-claims on the same land – clouding the issue of local villagers’ claim to the forests.

“Within the last few months, many engagements with all stakeholders and police were held, but the Tabung Haji insisted on ignoring the advice given by police and district officer (to accede to the villagers’ requests),” Mujah said.

Frustrations at every turn

Mujah described the Ibans’ frustrations at every turn, until on March 13, some “300 angry NCR landowners went to the field to chase away the workers.”

“I was informed that the company security guards used shotguns to threaten the landowners and the situation became chaotic, and that may have led to the fires on the machinery,” Mujah observed. No injuries were reported.

These local Simunjan Iban have fought and bested the mighty Rimbunan Hijau, one of the most powerful plantation companies in the region.

They must now fight the institutional strength of Tabung Haji and the state-owned LCDA.

lundu iban blockade 310707 log barrierThese sporadic outbreaks of starting fires reflect the despair of native communities losing their land to greedy “developers” all over Sarawak: they are like seething bubbles of pain and anger breaking through the surface.

Taib and his family have grown wealthy beyond belief on land deals, but many Dayak landowners have lost everything they and their future generations own, to giant logging, plantation and construction companies.

Can the Dayaks unite against the domination of Taib’s 30-year reign? It appears unlikely.

Networking remains virtually non-existent among communities fighting for NCR throughout the state, Facebook notwithstanding.

But if Pakatan Rakyat manages to spread the news of these (very local) NCR rebellions against corporate invaders, among all of Sarawak’s 1.4 million Dayaks, the political balance in Sarawak – and therefore Malaysia – would shift perceptibly


  1. All the Ibans in Simunjan whose NCR land have been given to TH/LCDA to plant oilpalm must bring ur Tememnggong and Ketua2 Masyarakat involved to the court of law for selling ur rights on ur NCR land. This is the fruitation of being to vote for PBB candidate during PRN10 who’s also one the biggest swindler. He was sued by the Ibans in Lebor, Gedong for rompak their NCR land. He lost the battle. He may one behind the Simunjan NCR land deals. Get him to the court of law. NCR is the blood of our Ibans. Let’s all fight to the blood for our right. Show these Thieves that the Ibans are no more stupid and neither Ibans are apai saloi.

    Comment by Buduk — March 17, 2012 @ 9:55 PM | Reply

    • Screw all the government appointed Tuai Rumah for selling their own community for just RM450 per month. We must and we can get rid of all the thieves and crooks in BN led by the biggest crook in the world, Taib Mahmud. Don’t screw our own future by voting for BN . Screw these corrupted YBs and BN by voting for Pakatan.

      Comment by Morris — March 18, 2012 @ 8:58 AM | Reply

  2. In one of the Tabung Haji plantation deals in Bintulu involving LCDA, NCR lands and Tabung Haji, Karim Abdul Rahman Hamza profitted RM10 million and evaded paying income tax on the profit. IRD and MACC should be probing him .

    Comment by Suhaili — March 17, 2012 @ 7:10 PM | Reply

  3. Taib is hiding under Tabung Haji’s skirt by having LCDA managed by his alter-ego the bloody SOB GM.

    What’s worst Tabung Haji is party to gross misgovernance and with the Tabung Haji managers commiting gross injustice.

    Typical of corrupt people – marauding in the names of institutions and religion.

    Comment by Green Forest — March 16, 2012 @ 9:58 PM | Reply

    • Very costly to stone the Devils in Mina, Saudi.

      It costs just a vote in GE13 to stone devils!

      Comment by Green Forest — March 16, 2012 @ 10:03 PM | Reply

  4. These’re the work of the few Iban leaders that’s appointed by the political leaders. They’re the ones who hv agreed to this JV on oilpalm plantation in the area. To all the Ibans concerned get hold of these few Tuai Rumah, Tuai kampong, Penghulus and a Temenggong in the area who’re responsible. Sue them in the court of law. Sue LCDA and Tabung Haji for encroaching into our NCR land. Bravo to all of our Ibans in Simunjan. We’ll back u all for the right we’ve on our NCR land. Fight until our last bleed of our blood.

    Comment by Buduk — March 16, 2012 @ 8:03 PM | Reply


      Comment by ANGRY DAYAK — March 16, 2012 @ 8:54 PM | Reply

      • Maybe they should try burning the thief minister residence since 50% of the building were made of gold.

        Comment by Zainuddin — March 17, 2012 @ 8:20 PM | Reply

  5. 人民是起义之母!

    Comment by 叶,南方军 — March 16, 2012 @ 2:53 PM | Reply



    “The White Rajahs treated us better. The Colonial government treated us better. So what is the point of ‘Independence’ from colonial power if our own people treated us worse than those ‘cruel’ colonialist & White Rajahs.”

    Why Sarawak independence indeed if we are treated worse by our own traitors than the colonial masters?

    This is a very good point to make. So the we need to remind ourselves again and again the background on how we got to be living in a hell-hole called “Malaysia”.

    First, the statement appears to acknowledge that we are still ruled by a colonial power albeit a small time colonialist called UMNO BN led by Malaya’s Malay apartheid supremacists.

    The reign of the White Rajahs was at best a benevolent dictatorship compared to the tyrannical racist dictatorship we now have.

    But one fact stands out in that under the White Rajahs, Sarawak had 100 years as an independent state from 1842 to 1942. Then we lost our independence in turn under Japanese British and Malayan colonial rule.

    The territory of Sarawak came into being when what was basically Sarawak’s 1st Division granted to James Brooke in 1842 by the Brunei Sultanate for his assistance in putting down a local rebellion. This gave Brooke the opportunity to conquer and expanded Sarawak territory.

    In 1850 the USA officially recognized Sarawak as an independent country followed by Britain in 1863.

    In the hundred years Sarawak developed into a multi-cultural country with its own unique national identity and character. Malaya was not even a federation until 1957.

    We have actually remained a colony because this was part of the original British Malaysia Plan to “merge” Malaya, Singapore Brunei Sabah and Sarawak into one colonial administration. This plan was constructed by the British Foreign Affairs as long ago as in 1942 and re branded and sold as the Malaysia independence package.

    However this plan was not fully executed for 3 reasons:
    1. The people in the British Borneo colonies objected to the transparent colonial plan to place their territories under Malayan rule. This led to the Brunei anti-Malaysia independence uprising on September 1962 and the Sarawak guerilla independence war till 1990.

    2. Brunei was one of the original proposed 5 components of the federation but it did not want to become part of Malaya when the sultan realise that UMNO only wanted Brunei oil and was not even flexible enough to make the Sultan happy by giving him and his successors the right to become king of Malaya/Malaysia. The other reason was the anti-Malaysia Brunei uprising.

    The Malaysia concept was rendered defective as all parties understood the Malaysia plan was built on the argument that Brunei was a necessary component based on the “racial balance” rationale for the creation of Malaysia.

    3. Singapore left or was sacked from the Federation in 1965. This has been pointed out by critics as showing that the Malaysia Agreement was nullified by this breakup done without consultation with Sabah and Sarawak. So Malaya had already unilaterally asserted its central control of vital matters concerning the federation.


    The fact that tyrants like Taib and his PBB BN gang and before this Abdul R Yakub, have viciously held their sway over Sarawak for so long is because they are a willing and necessary colonial tool for their colonial masters in Kuala Lumpur to be in nominal control of the Sarawak Government and lend the legitimacy to the fraud of “independence in Malaysia” and also the federation gimmick.

    The PBB BN keep UMNO in power by “winning” elections and also suppressing Sarawakians on behalf of UMNO. This is a familiar divide and rule used by most colonial powers. They cannot dominate and rule without the local power elites support. If they used direct rule over us it would be all too obvious that they are the colonial masters. However UMNO has actually taken over direct control of Sabah which why the Sabahan see it more clearly that they have no independence.

    The validity of the Malaysia Agreement is now being seriously challenged not just because it is claimed to have been nullified but also because of UMNO’s total breach of all the understandings reached on treating all the Malaysia federal components as equal partners and have genuine self rule with Borneonization under the 20 and 18 Points agreement for Sabah and Sarawak respectively.

    What we have is that UMNO has Malayanized our respective countries and is now compete central control of Sabah and Sarawak in breach of the agreement that we have “self-rule” through Borneonizatiion.

    So simply put we are still not our own masters of our destiny and country Sarawak.

    We have absolutely nothing to be grateful to the British for this ignominious crime against the Sarawak and Sabah people.

    That is why last year the United Borneo Front sent a delegation to the British House of Lords to make an address relating to this very issue. It was symbolically to remind them of the great wrong they committed against the Sabah and Sarawak people.

    The features of a colony has been preserved in that (1) Sarawak territory is still under foreign Malayan control and rule under the nominal local rule and (2) resources have been looted by UMNO to develop Malaya symbolised by the Petronas Towers built with Sabah Sarawak oil money. They should be renamed Sabah and Sarawak Towers respectively!

    In our history Taib and his uncle A Rahman Yakub and their close PBB BN associates were the people relied on by UMNO to sell out Sarawak to their control.

    They were used by UMNO to replace Chief Minister Stephen K Ningkan because he defended Sarawak from KL plans to takeover our oil rights and the uncle and nephew team betrayed us and signed away Sarawak oilfields to UMNO’s Petronas in 1976.

    As a reward both traitors were allowed to plunder Sarawak. Now gangsters also have to keep their members happy. So Taib who overthrew his uncle in a cabinet coup also has to give some of the loot to his PBB BN gang.

    This has led to some confusion on who is the master and who is the slave. The NCR people without much education know who the real answer.

    Ask them!

    Comment by anon — March 16, 2012 @ 1:54 PM | Reply

  7. Shahrizat’s troubles are not as bad as the poor penan girls that were raped and you turned a blind eye and deaf ear to their plight. She can still roll up her sleeves and out in a decent days work and earn some money and could tell her children to do the same instead of ripping off the taxpayers and the poor folks who have to beg the welfare dept for a pittance of a handout.

    Comment by Thangathirai Joe — March 16, 2012 @ 11:30 AM | Reply

  8. People, the main problem is, come the state and general election, for a few ringgits – they will vote BN AGAIN!

    I hope this serve as a wake up call for the ibans there. No more votes for BN!

    Comment by mike — March 16, 2012 @ 10:37 AM | Reply

    • Ya! Betul! Kami akan tolong.

      Kami Polis Raja di Malaysia akan tolong!

      Comment by PC Amin — March 16, 2012 @ 12:58 PM | Reply

      • Apun, maaf!

        Patut Polis di Raja Malaysia.

        Bukan Polis Raja di Malaysia !!! 😥

        Comment by PC Amin — March 16, 2012 @ 1:01 PM | Reply

    • yesssssssssssss…..you got it right!
      comes GE…the YB will distribute few ringgit to them……to the Iban, a few bottles of tuaks; they sell their soul to BN!

      Comment by Rod — March 16, 2012 @ 9:26 PM | Reply

  9. The White Rajahs treated us better. The Colonial government treated us better. So what is the point of ‘Independence’ from colonial power if our own people treated us worse than those ‘cruel’ colonialist & White Rajahs.

    Comment by Colin Ubeh (@swknative) — March 16, 2012 @ 8:42 AM | Reply


      Comment by anon — March 17, 2012 @ 4:47 PM | Reply


    A series torching of logging and oil palm estate tractors and equipment fires has marked the new year in Sarawak.

    The angry dispossessed people are no longer waiting for the politicians and the courts to make decision on their future. They have taken matters into their own hands.

    Following fast on the recent report of 16 logging tractors being burnt in a logging camp, the new incident of the burning of 13 excavators in an oil palm plantation has made these incidents a hot political issues.

    For many poor people made landless by government backed land robbery, there is no better time for a Sarawak spring than now.

    In fact there have been past incidents including one last year and sporadically at other times

    How fast will the fires of the peasants revolution spread?

    Comment by anon — March 16, 2012 @ 7:09 AM | Reply

    • Why stop burning the tractors hooi….. burn their office also lah…… especially Tabung Haji! Why let TH makes money in Sarawak…..TH is considered a Malayan Company……. same as UMNO!

      Comment by Rod — March 16, 2012 @ 9:29 PM | Reply


        There is a Dayak tradition called passing the “Red Bowl” to rally the tribesmen to defend of their territories…. now it is passing the torch of freedom…..

        Comment by AMAN — March 17, 2012 @ 4:34 PM | Reply







    Comment by VENDATTA2012 — March 16, 2012 @ 6:30 AM | Reply

  12. burn..burn…burn more…. until none left at the site! These plantation only benefits the Indon workers.

    Comment by Rod — March 16, 2012 @ 1:47 AM | Reply


      Please note that the Indon plantations workers are also exploited by these greedy YB multinational companies etc by working for very low wages….They are also wage slaves.

      There are so many illegals and the YB exploiters hold them to ransom because of their status. The YBs are committing crimes not just exploiting illegal workers but also breaking their own immigration laws for their own benefit!

      The best solution is to encourage them to unite with us to fight the common enemy.

      If they support and unite with us we can overlook that they are “illegals”…

      This point must be brought up by the Opposition when challenging these betrayers of the Sarawak people.

      Comment by UNITE! — March 17, 2012 @ 4:44 PM | Reply

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