Hornbill Unleashed

July 7, 2012

Sarawak natives dig in for ‘war’ with plantation owner

Jonathan Yong

Sarawak activists claim that a plantation company said to be linked to the BN is now employing strongarm tactics such as firearms and hit and run attacks against indigenous land owners.

A native from Selangau, Sarawak has been allegedly hit-and-run by gangsters hired by a plantation company, said indigenous rights activist Nicholas Mujah when contacted by Malaysiakini today.

Nicholas, (left) who is the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) secretary general, said Semawi Renang was deliberately run over by a vehicle after organizing villagers to erect a blockade at a Selangau oil palm plantation.

NONEHe said the native community leader was currently warded in the Sibu Hospital with a broken leg and other injuries.

The seeds of the dispute were apparently sown when native landowners entered into a joint-venture project with the company modelled on a new native customary right (NCR) land development programme.

However, the landowners claimed they were cheated of their promised dividends which drove them into harvesting the oil palm fruits  themselves and putting up the blockade two weeks ago.

Ambushed while going for bath

Nicholas also said the natives had engaged land rights lawyer Baru Bian since August last year to sue the company.

“The blockade was lifted recently, but the harvesting of the oil palm continues.

“The attack happened three days ago while he was going to bathe in a river, and the assailants were recognized to be associated with the company,” said Nicholas, who has been advising the natives on their land dispute since last year.

He said other acts of intimidation have occurred, the latest being last week when Semawi’s pick-up truck became the target of shotgun attack.

sarawak palm oil plantation 241005Semawi is widely respected among the villagers for leading the resistance on the ground.

He added that police reports were immediately lodged, but so far there has been no sign of any action being taken.

The incident has also been highlighted in an extended podcast by underground radio station Radio Free Sarawak that includes interviews with some of the locals.

The station reported that the attack has pushed the villagers into reviving an ancient Iban ritual to summon the help of the gods in the upcoming ‘war’ against their enemies.

“The villagers are getting angrier, and they will not retreat because of this.

Nicholas added: “In fact, they (the villagers) have become even more united and the plantation harvest protest will continue.”

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  1. Well well, now the true colors of the land grabbers are begining to show. Seems that they were not in the JV for mutual benefits but looks like they want it all right from the very begining, land,oil palms and the cash!! They better stop what they are doing before it gets out of hand, unless they want a repeat of what happened in NIAH,might end up even worst then that!

    Comment by Brian — July 9, 2012 @ 11:38 AM | Reply

  2. We must defend our NCR lands and our rights with our blood if need to. Screw all these corrupted BN YBs and their cronies and the police too.

    Comment by Bartholomew — July 8, 2012 @ 8:12 PM | Reply

  3. Are they trying to force the natives to retaliate and then declare a state of emergency and call off GE13? Dayaks, don’t back off, and don’t go overboard too. Stand firm. The BN is getting desperate because they are sure to lose. The truth will prevail with the blessing of the almighty God.

    Comment by keluro — July 7, 2012 @ 11:33 PM | Reply

    • They are playing with fire. They show us no respect at all. They treat us like brainless natives whom they can just pass as workers to make them rich.They must not wait until the natives retaliate, they must realise now that the natives are no more as ignorant, are no more backward LAKIAS and are no more easy prey to exploit like before. They may have their gangsters but we have longhouses full of humans skulls trophies as evidents of successful hunting not too many years back. I’m not saying that we go back to those glorious hunting days but what choice do we have if the other side are the ones who are still having and using that uncivilized way of dealing with us. If they want to be uncivilized with us, we also can be as uncivilized and more barbaric then them. But hopefully they come to their good senses before we reached the unavoidable RETALIATORY action. That would be tragic for them.

      Comment by Brian — July 10, 2012 @ 12:39 PM | Reply

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