Hornbill Unleashed

November 20, 2012

Can palm oil fuel a Molotov cocktail?

Keruah Usit

An unknown thug threw a Molotov cocktail into the driveway of the home of See Chee How, state assemblyperson for Batu Lintang, Kuching, and Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson, around 4am a week ago.

No one was injured by the makeshift weapon. See’s family car was slightly dented by the projectile, and there were scorch marks on the chassis, as well as broken glass on the driveway.

See (right) is an indigenous land rights lawyer, and a successful partner in Baru Bian and Associates, a law firm based in Kuching. He and Baru Bian, state PKR head, have won a string of landmark native customary rights (NCR) land cases against the state government, and its partners in oil palm plantation firms and logging companies.

penans meet suhakam 130208 see chee howThe law firm is representing NCR landowner communities in over 100 other cases, in a desperate struggle against land leases awarded by the state government on their ancestral farmlands and hunting grounds.

These lawsuits have rocked the foundations of the cosy relations between oil palm planters and the state administration.

Thanks to judicial decisions in favour of NCR communal land ownership, multimillionaire plantation owners, and their even wealthier political masters, have already lost hundreds of millions of ringgit in earnings, throughout the commodities boom in recent years.

These NCR rights are clearly recognised in the federal constitution and the state land code, but not by the oil palm companies, loggers or state government ministers.

Successful NCR plaintiffs have largely been poor, uneducated, and effectively invisible rural Dayak landowners. These rural people have doggedly attempted to defend the land they inherited – the only assets they will ever possess – from hostile incursions by urban businessmen, and their allies in the state government.

Threatened in recent weeks

The police have not yet commented on the progress of their investigation into the Molotov attack.

See agreed with the widely held opinion that the threat was related to his legal work to safeguard the rights of NCR landowners and is providing leads to the police, including the identities of gangsters who had threatened him in recent weeks.

ncr land sarawak and palm oil plantationAccording to See, the gangster had warned him to pull out from a particular NCR lawsuit against the state government and oil palm companies.

“In fact, I can zero in on the likely conglomerate involved, which has, of course, its list of gangster associates and hidden political bosses,” See told Malaysiakini.

“I arranged for the conglomerate’s representatives to meet the NCR landowners, to see if there’s an amicable way to resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, their only suggestion for resolving the lawsuit was that I should withdraw from the case! ‘If you don’t act as their lawyer, they will be no problem for us’, they told me. Well, I suppose I should take that as a compliment,” he said, with a rueful smile.

Gangsters have long been instrumental in suppressing opposition to hostile takeovers of NCR land, employed by palm oil and logger barons alike.

Will not be cowed by such criminal intimidation

“I really don’t give a damn about intimidation. Sure, there are funny calls and looks all the time. My suspicious mind does wonder at times that someday, someone might really come out with something nasty,” See contemplated.

“In fact, for years, every morning, when I opened the door to pick up the newspapers before six, I used to think there might one day be a Molotov cocktail, or a pig’s head, or a cow’s head waiting on the car porch. So when I saw the broken glass that morning, I wasn’t completely unprepared”.

See never felt high walls or barbed wire were a viable option, for fear he and his family would feel like prisoners in their own home.

“I’ve never thought that anybody would wait at the door to point a gun or a knife at me. I purposely installed a transparent gate and fence, so that my neighbours can see into the compound of my house, and call the police if somebody tries to break in.

azlan“The political and legal work I’m doing is the product of my conviction and my commitment, and I will not be cowed by such criminal intimidation and violence,” he said.

“There’s no time to waste. This cowardly attack certainly won’t slow me down. My work is my answer, as to whether I’ll be affected or intimidated”.

On Nov 13,  the day after the Molotov cocktail attack, See was back in battle in court, in Serian, an hour’s drive from Kuching.

He was defending five Melikin villagers, charged with “intimidation and mischief” for alleged assaults on oil palm company employees.

Many Melikin villagers feel this prosecution is related to the civil lawsuit launched by 17 longhouse residents against the palm oil companies United Team Trade and Memaju Jaya.

Melikin residents have complained angrily that their reports of criminal intimidation of villagers by gangsters have been ignored, yet the police sprang instantly into action when the palm oil plantation accused villagers of assaulting its workers.

According to local media reports, in June, Michael Luang, an Iban community leader agitating for the Melikin NCR campaign against United Team Trade, was the victim of a Molotov cocktail attack on his house.

The fire resulted in extensive damage to his four-wheel-drive vehicle, though fortunately, there were no casualties.

The police will need to establish if this is mere coincidence, or similar fact evidence, as lawyers say.

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 at keruah_usit@yahoo.com




    Brian- If it is preaching, it is preaching social justice and equality. Is that bad?

    Anyway this writer is not a communist but respects the ideas of the communists for a better society…

    You are definitely preaching UMNO’s racial hatred driven divide and rule line for a backward society- which does not resolve issues.

    We can talk about solutions for a united and harmonious multi-racial/cultural society and not split everyone up with hate.

    Does that ever solve anything? Sarawak was a peaceful harmonious society before UMNO imposition of its apartheid system under its colonial rule called “Malaysia” in 1963.

    Further it is very noticeable that you do not question UMNO colonial rule and the legitimacy of neo-colonial Malaysia which was what the CPNK & PARAKU were doing.

    UMNO had its own killing fields in Malaya in 1969 and we were not affected. Why? UMNO could not afford to start one here as Sarawakians were already fighting their colonial occupation army and a mass killing would led to opening up the guerrilla war in Sarawak by shifting the support of many people to the communists.

    You may recall “killing fields” happened in South Kalimantan when good relations between Dayaks and Chinese were deliberately broken by Indon army provocatuers who assassinated some Dayak chiefs and set off a Dayak mass killing of Chinese also around 1969.

    This was an attempt to isolate PARAKU. It was reported the pogroms were “turned off” when it only led to more locals joining PARAKU. The Indons did not annihilate PARAKU which returned to Sarawak.. If you wander down the jungle tracks you may meet the ghosts of the killing fields of innocents… unless you have a clear conscience…

    So do we all have clean hands? Do you not feel angry and protest over the Indon Army mass killing of over 1 million people in 1965? Many innocent people were massacred with CIA assistance. The Chinese are still questioning what happened during this period.

    So where do you lay the blame of the mass oppression of the Dayak people- on those who imposed Malaysia or those who fought against the new colonialism?

    Taib remains in power because UMNO let him and both benefit by oppressing the Sarawak people not just Dayaks! Who control and steal our oil and forest land and trees and rivers? Righting wrongs cannot start with being blind to the social reality.

    It is wrong to blame all the Chinese for ripping off our country. If so ALL Sarawak Chinese will be very rich- right? The blame rests a handful of greedy Chinese who collaborate with Taib and UMNO to plunder Sarawak. They all including Taib and family and cronies deserve our final judgement. Hope you agree.

    We should all discuss these important ideological issues among Sarawakians regardless of race.

    We cannot deny bad practices of the “communist” states which saw a rigid imposition of text books idealism. It just went of the cliff after they ran out of power..

    How did the CPNK treat Dayaks? Ask those Dayaks who were communists.

    Ubong ak Nuing was an ex-Ranger who became commander of the Rajang based PARAKU. Does not that say a lot on treatment of Dayaks by the communists. Even those who fought them confirmed that PARAKU did not employ land mines as they did not want to injure innocent forest dwellers. Who were forest dwellers?- Dayaks. Most of the news of the communist movement was suppressed by the British with their black propaganda and red scare campaigns which the Dayaks bought.

    Further even Penans joined the communists to fight for justice and democracy. The NKPA policy was to embrace all Sarawakians regardless of their race. In the 1990 peace talks, Penans were among the leaders who came out for the negotiations.

    So when did UMNO or Taib ever respect Penans? A delegation of Penans to the colonial capital not long ago was totally ignored by the new colonial bosses.

    It is easy to make quick negative assumptions about what might happen with a CPNK victory. Based on their 30 years armed struggle, the amount of negative news was largely minimal and distorted facts. It leads to the conclusion that in practice the communists respected all people including Dayaks. The bad things and nasty parts were done to traitors and informers. This happens in all wars not the least a war to liberate our country from foreign rule being Malayan colonial rule.

    lastly to repeat the previous posted comment: “The Dayaks were already living in a communistic society…. They elected their leaders (now government appointed), they jointly owned their land and shared the fruits of their labour … ”

    What do you say. Do you deny all that?

    The Dayaks did not live in fear in their way of life. But this has been destroyed by UMNO’s deliberate social programme of seizing their land and splitting them into small groups. Keep the Dayaks divided so as to rule them. This will be the mass killing fields for Dayaks not by Chinese but UMNO and Taib policies….

    Do think hard about this.

    Comment by Useyourbrain — November 24, 2012 @ 9:15 AM | Reply


    Obviously it is not just the communists who are blamed for brain washing but we are also victims of British Malayan demonising and brain washing against the people who fought for against British and what is now Malayan colonisation for real independence…..

    We need to examine the ideology of the communists to understand what they fought for – they resisted the British imposed of colonial Malaysia for an independent state from 1962 to 1990.

    What they aspired to was not that far different from the campaign for justice and political reforms… a just and equal society.

    The Dayaks were already living in a communistic society…. They elected their leaders (now government appointed), they jointly owned their land and shared the fruits of their labour …

    We all have a long way to go… Vote for justice and political reforms ….But ask are Sarawak or Sabah really “independent in Malaysia” or just colonies under a new brown skin colonial master?


    “A Communist is one who adheres or claims to adhere to the theories of Karl Marx, often supplemented by the ideas of other thinkers.

    The Ideal of Communism espouses the idea that all people on Earth are in some way responsible for the well-being of their fellow man regardless of his ability to produce goods or wealth. This attitude is as old as mankind but it was given a name by Karl Marx. It implies
    the common ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods.


    “Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order.[1] This movement, in its Marxist–Leninist interpretations, significantly influenced the history of the 20th century, which saw intense rivalry between the “socialist world” (socialist states ruled by communist parties) and the “western world” (countries with capitalist economies).

    Marxist theory holds that pure communism or full communism is a specific stage of historical development that inevitably emerges from the development of the productive forces that leads to a superabundance of material wealth, allowing for distribution based on need and social relations based on freely associated individuals.[2][3] The exact definition of communism varies, and it is often mistakenly, in general political discourse, used interchangeably with socialism; however, Marxist theory contends that socialism is just a transitional stage on the road to communism. Leninism adds to Marxism the notion of a vanguard party to lead the proletarian revolution and to secure all political power after the revolution for the working class, for the development of universal class consciousness and worker participation, in a transitional stage between capitalism and socialism.”





    Comment by Useyourbrain — November 22, 2012 @ 11:12 PM | Reply

    • We don’t need you to preach to us about communism. We know what they did to alot of natives in sarawak. Why did Russia and the whole of the Eastern block dropped communism? Remember the Killing fields in Cambodia? And who were the majority members of NKPA and PARAKU? Do you think they would have given the Dayak members the chance to rule had they managed to take over power from the British? We Dayaks are fighting for our rights as Natives of this land and you are talking about what might have been if NKPA and PARAKU won the war? Well, if they had won the war, Sarawak would have had our own KILLING FIELDS and you would have not made it this far?

      Comment by brian — November 23, 2012 @ 11:54 AM | Reply

  3. I suppose Useyourbrain would like the Dayaks to revert back to headhunting. Tom Harrison successfully cleared Sarawak out of Japanese soldiers by putting a bounty on them, and the Dayaks had their day. Taib Mohd head would surely be prized if the Dayaks do revert back to their tradition if useyourbrain would put a bounty to tempt them. But back then, our when our Dayaks were headhunters seeking to redeem their women,the coastal Malays as well as chinese were then the traitors in supporting the Japanese, as they did then everywhere else in Malaya too. There is always an ugly side of human history, no matter which race you are from, and there is no need for that if we are to progress.

    Comment by Lin Mei Huang — November 20, 2012 @ 6:17 PM | Reply


      IT WAS MEANT TO BE BACKHANDED SWIPE IN RESPONSE TO BRIAN’S RAMPANT RACISM….about “the ugly culture that was brought in by certain race…” being his unbridled targetting of ALL the Chinese as the scapegoat for Dayak sufferings.

      Surely this is the most misplaced venting of anger and rage when he well knows that only a small handful of Chinese timber tycoons and also the Malay and Dayak cronies are doing the plundering with Taib’s help and Taib has been the main benefactor and beneficiary of the looting of Dayak timber wealth and land.

      The other part he erred is that he may have conveniently forgot or may be forgiven for being ignorant that it was the communists – true -mainly Chinese but also Dayaks including Ubong ak Nuing ex-Ranger who was the Rajang Commander of the North Kalimantan People’s Army which fought for Sarawak independence from 1962 to 1990.

      The problems we face today is a direct outcome of our not being an independent country which the NKPA or PARAKU fought for and Sarawak becoming a Malayan colony.

      Although he never gave up, Ubong died disappointed over the Dayak inability to wake up and see through the fake “independence in Malaysia” and join in the independence struggle. He was a rare and unsung hero of our Sarawak struggle for freedom and independence who took his family on the hard road for freedom right from 1962.

      Brian seldom criticises the Malayan colonial masters and their pillaging Sarawak wealth. Makes you wonder which side he is on….. Ubong would have been really disappointed with such Dayaks and Rentap too.

      Comment by Useyourbrain — November 21, 2012 @ 1:09 AM | Reply

      • Is Useyourbrain a registered voter? If you are I hope you vote for justice and political reforms.

        Comment by Irene Kana — November 21, 2012 @ 7:24 AM | Reply

      • Really, they fought for an independent Sarawak? These were communists and were fighting to turn Sarawak into a communist country for them to rule over. I’m now inclined to think that you are a communist yourself.

        Comment by brian — November 21, 2012 @ 8:21 AM | Reply

  4. “…Can palm oil fuel a Molotov cocktail?…”

    Doubt if “palm oil” composition can as it requires intense heat.

    However, palm oil “fuel” can be very reactive to heat! 😉

    Our PDRM will hv to puzzle that over. They usually give bland non-reactive info!

    Comment by lubuk nibung — November 20, 2012 @ 4:47 PM | Reply

  5. DATUK TAN THIAN SIANG one of them…

    Comment by Gaban Polis Angkasa — November 20, 2012 @ 4:25 PM | Reply



    Violence has long since been used the power ruling elites and timber companies against the poor villagers to steal their land. Yhey lost almost everything but they have been peacefully pursuing their quest for justice and restoration of their land rghts.

    The choice for the oppressed people in taking back their land is to go to court and take a life time and get very little joy anyway OR take back what is yours forcibly and maybe even sacrifice your lives.

    How do we take back our country from foreign Malayan domination?

    The pen or the sword?

    Comment by ANTI-MALAYAN COLONIALISM! — November 20, 2012 @ 3:35 PM | Reply


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    A Finnish soldier with a Molotov cocktail in the Winter War.

    The Molotov cocktail is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons. Due to the relative ease of production, they are frequently used by amateur protesters and non-professionally equipped fighters in urban guerrilla warfares. They are primarily intended to set targets ablaze rather than instantly destroy them.

    The name “Molotov cocktail” was coined by the Finns during the Winter War.[1] The name is an insulting reference to Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who was responsible for the partition of Finland.[2] Molotov himself highly disliked the name.[3]


    A Molotov cocktail is a breakable glass bottle containing a flammable substance such as gasoline/petrol or a napalm-like mixture, with some motor oil added, and usually a source of ignition such as a burning cloth wick held in place by the bottle’s stopper. The wick is usually soaked in alcohol or kerosene, rather than gasoline.

    In action, the wick is lit and the bottle hurled at a target such as a vehicle or fortification. When the bottle smashes on impact, the ensuing cloud of petrol droplets and vapour ignites, causing an immediate fireball followed by a raging fire as the remainder of the fuel is consumed. Another method is to place a reactive substance in with the gasoline, and treat the label or wrapper paper with another chemical; when the bottle ruptures, the two chemicals mix and ignite; this is safer to handle if done properly, and does not betray the thrower with a visible flame prior to the throw.

    Other flammable liquids such as diesel fuel, methanol, turpentine and E85 have been used in place of or with gasoline. Thickening agents such as Styrofoam, baking soda, tar, strips of tyre tubing, blood, XPS foam, egg whites, motor oil, rubber cement, and dish soap have been added to help the burning liquid adhere to the target and create clouds of thick, choking smoke.[4]
    Development and use in war

    Improvised incendiary devices were used for the first time in the Spanish Civil War between July 1936 and April 1939,[5] before they became known as “Molotov cocktails”. In 1936, General Francisco Franco ordered Spanish Nationalists to use the weapon against Soviet T-26 tanks supporting the Spanish Republicans in a failed assault on the Nationalist stronghold of Seseña, near Toledo, 40 km (25 mi) south of Madrid.[6] After that, both sides used simple petrol bombs or petrol-soaked blankets with some success. Tom Wintringham, a veteran of the International Brigades, later publicised his recommended method of using them:

    MORE @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov_cocktail

    Comment by Anon — November 20, 2012 @ 3:26 PM | Reply

  8. This ugly culture was brought in by certain race from their country of origin. I wonder how they would react if the Dayaks adopt the same culture to defend themselves and their property from these thieves. Don’t they realised that the Natives will fight with every means possible to hold own to the little that they have left? They can intimidate one lawyer but can they intimidate all the natives of Sarawak?

    Comment by brian — November 20, 2012 @ 2:59 PM | Reply


      Comment by Useyourbrain — November 20, 2012 @ 4:54 PM | Reply

      • You mean we can turn back the clock and use that old and forgoten head hunting practice to counter what these people are doing to the native? Remenber the father and son who were battered and left for dead not to long ago? Who do you think did that?

        Comment by brian — November 21, 2012 @ 8:26 AM | Reply

        • We should condemn all violence against innocent people defending their land.

          But who inflicted the violence? The agents of the handful rich timber tycoons who have Taib’s support. Why can’t we put all this in context?

          The violence which is now being used including that against Chinese Lawyer See Chee How is done to intimidate all opposition to the land grabs and plunder of our timber cum oil palm plantation development.

          On head hunting the Dayaks were quelled and pacified by the Brookes. That is good and bad.

          The problem is that Dayaks have become so timid and do not fight back more strongly against Taib’s marauders.

          It is surprising they have not taken any heads from the tycoons or gangsters. They have held mirins but ideas must be put into action….

          No one would sympathise with the bad guys.

          Comment by Useyourbrain — November 24, 2012 @ 9:24 AM | Reply

      • Using headhunting to rile up people is a little too strong. But nevertheless, people do improve – some say, victims are more profitable alive than dead. Mong and Masing and Jabu think differently! Dagang them! 😉

        We cant stop people from thinking, can we?

        Comment by Orang Dagang — November 22, 2012 @ 3:15 PM | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: