Hornbill Unleashed

March 26, 2013

Sarawak NCR defender’s attacker walks free

Keruah Usit

Iban native customary rights (NCR) defender Surik anak Muntai, 66, has expressed his anger and concern that the oil palm “company executive” he identified to police as one of his assailants has been freed on police bail, after three days in remand.

Surik, a farmer from Melikin in Serian, suffered horrific injuries on his right forearm and both knees as a result of a ruthless assault by four men on March 15.

Serian police have declared that police are unable to identify any of his assailants. District police chief DSP Mohd Jamali Umi told local daily The Borneo Post on March 21 that the four attackers wore masks and Surik could not identify them.

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“What we have so far is that the four attackers were in a white Proton Perdana and the car did not have a number plate. As they were wearing masks, no one could tell their races,” The Borneo Postquotes Jamali as saying.

“The victim does not know the attackers. He could not identify them. He however did mention the name of a plantation company. So, we held a staff member of the company to assist us in the investigation.”

A reliable police source, and Surik himself, said the man identified to the police was a top “executive” and spokesperson for a prominent Sarawak oil palm producer.

This company and its partner are battling 16 Iban communities for 7,300 hectares of land awarded to the companies by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s government under a ‘provisional lease’. The villagers hold claim to the land under the NCR.

Companies Commission of Malaysia records show that the company is closely linked to members of the ruling state cabinet, according to whistleblower website Sarawak Report.

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Surik: I definitely saw assailant’s face

In an interview, Surik insisted that he had clearly identified to the police the company executive who assaulted him. and is withholding the name of this executive.

The thugs attacked Surik, an elderly father or apai, as he waited for his seven-year -old son outside Sekolah Sungai Menyan at 11.30 on the morning of March 15.

“I definitely saw his face,” Surik said, speaking in Malay. “(He) was not wearing a mask when he got out of his car outside the school. There were four of them, they were carrying parang and sticks.

“Some of them wore masks, some did not. They tried to cut my throat,but I put up my arm to stop them, so they cut my arm. There were other witnesses there.”

Surik recalled that earlier the same morning, that very person waved him down and stopped him when he was on his way to a mill to deliver oil palm fruits.

“He said his car had broken down and he was standing in front of his car, with his hands on his car battery. I didn’t stop because there were other people in his car, and the car had no (number) plates. These people are definitely bad, they have brought evil to the (Melikin) villagers,” Surik said.

As he drove off, he said, the man got into his white Proton car and followed him. “If I had got down before reaching the mill, I would surely have died there, for there was nobody around to help me.”

The case investigating officer is Inspector Mohd Azlan Ab Wahab of the Serian police station. The Melikin NCR plaintiffs are wary and uneasy about Azlan after he barged into the homes of five villagers in a late night raid last October and arrested them.

The villagers were handcuffed, locked in cells and charged with “criminal intimidation”, an accusation levelled at them by Surik’s attacker and other employees of the oil palm company. The deputy public prosecutor’s office eventually dropped the charges, without explanation.

Surik complained to Malaysiakini that an unnamed policeman told him the assailants “did not mean” to cause serious harm.

“The police said they were only main-main (playing around),” Surik said, and adding that he responded by showing them his extensive injuries – to which the police had no response.

The Serian police chief was, as at noon today, not available to comment.

Lawyers appalled by police statements

On the late morning of March 19, the day the Surik’s attacker was released, respected NCR lawyer and state PKR chief Baru Bian visited Surik at the Sarawak General Hospital.

NONEAt that time, Azlan was taking a statement from Surik in the ward and, Baru (right) said, he clearly heard Surik recount the assault.

“This only means that the police investigation is incomplete. How can (the suspect) be released?” asked Surik’s lawyer and PKR assemblyperson See Chee How.

See himself has been the target of hate mail and a Molotov cocktail attack. He has told police these threats were an attempt to intimidate him to pull out of NCR case of the the16 Iban communities in Melikin. The police have not made any arrest.

See is also appalled by the Serian police chief’s statements to the press.

“These statements are a far cry from the recorded statements and testimonies given to the police by Surik and his wife Rosni anak Langap,” See pointed out.

The police report was lodged by Rosni, as Surik lay bleeding as he was taken to the Sarawak General Hospital, during which time he clearly identified one of his attackers as the executive with the said oil palm company.

See noted that Surik had also said he was able to identify another of his assailants, although he did not know his name.

See pointed out that Azlan had given Surik a document explaining that the brutal assault was being investigated under Section 148 of the Penal Code, under “merusuh”, which means “commotion” or “riot”.

NONE“Any person, not to mention a man aged 66 years, could have died as a result of the assault. What will any reasonable person think the case should be? Attempted murder? Assault and causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons or means?” See (left) asked.

“It is incomprehensible how the police could have come to the decision to investigate the complaint as ‘riot’ or ‘commotion’.

“How could the content of the police report lodged and the testimonies of the victim be blatantly ignored and overlooked by the police officer in charge of the investigation?”

Baru Bian has written to the Sarawak police commissioner to convey the lawyers’ concerns on the manner in which the brutal attack on Surik is being pursued by the police, and the ease with which the plantation company workers have confronted the local NCR landowners.

See added: “We will certainly bring this matter to all the authorities concerned, including the police headquarters in Bukit Aman, to ensure that the poor aged native farmer gets justice.

“Any violent confrontation between native landowners and plantation companies in Serian and elsewhere in Sarawak must be avoided.”a

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6 Comments »

  1. Are the Dayak Leaders still in a state of shock that none of them has said anything yet about this incident. How can we dayak expect them to lead the majority of us dayaks when they cannot even speak on behalf of an old man like Surik. For them to keep quiet about this case will be construed as weak and showing disgust to the victim for standing bravely against those gangsters.

    When will these Leaders start to lead us into victory and out of poverty?! Even those HAPPY cousins of taib recognized the dire situation we dayak are in but then they are only too happy to exploit us further!

    Comment by brian — March 26, 2013 @ 4:30 PM | Reply

    • “construed as weak”

      not construed as weak……they are zombies! or dead.

      Comment by Rod — March 26, 2013 @ 9:09 PM | Reply

  2. The PM, Najib Tun Razak, was the first to sign the integrity pledge with TI-M without knowing the true implication and meaning of that pledge when he was witnessed in the signing ceremony by several of his inner circle men and the president of TI-M, Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

    Najib and UMNO have yet to condemn political violence and direct the police to investigate every incidents. Yet, The minister of Mat Rempit, Hishammudin Hussein , blamed the highly publicised violence and future violence on provocation by PR leaders. The useless and hopeless minister wanted us to know that any form of criticism leveled at Umno leaders are provocation and Umno thugs should not be faulted for running amok.

    Tian Chua was charged for sedition when he criticised Umno leaders for dragging its feet a week after the sulu militants landed on Sabah’s shore.

    On security measures, Hishammuddin said the police force, the army and the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency were monitoring the situation, and assured that the situation was under control.
    “The people should understand that the situation there is rather complex and view it in perspective as it differs from other cases involving al-Maunah, Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah. The intruders in Lahad Datu are not militants or terrorists.”

    When ex Sabah thief minister, Harris Salleh, alleged that security forces in Sabah were cutting up or destroying the ICs or documents belonging to the suluks living in eastern Sabah, the IGP and the minister for Mat Rempit dare not take any action at all against Harris Salleh. Malaysians are still watching every action of our political clowns and a police force beholden to Umno..

    Comment by Special Branch — March 26, 2013 @ 11:44 AM | Reply

  3. these bastard cops are definitely on the take. Show no mercy when they harrass the villagers again. Break their legs and arms to show them that being corrupted cops and harrassing the villagers have a price too.

    Comment by Roger — March 26, 2013 @ 7:35 AM | Reply

    • good….hope this will break more legs…….hahahahaha…nyamai isi.
      Undi BN lagi lah……

      Comment by Rod — March 26, 2013 @ 12:14 PM | Reply

    • The reason Umno/BN is being rejected by a great majority of voters is because it has been perceived as being above the law. Various forms of crimes allegedly committed by Umno/BN personalities and people allied to it have gone unpunished because of the manipulation of state institutions, whereas opposition leaders have been harrassed on trump up charges. Viva Pakatan Rakyat !

      Comment by Jeremy — March 26, 2013 @ 12:17 PM | Reply


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