Hornbill Unleashed

October 10, 2017

Baru ‘amused’ by those compelled to defend being flown on military aircraft

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

State PKR chairman Baru Bian finds it ‘amusing’ that a group of community leaders should feel compelled to defend Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing’s miscalculation in sending 160 of them in a military plane to Putrajaya to pledge support to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In acknowledging that Temenggong Wilfred Billy Panyau is entitled to his opinion that it was not disrespectful to be flown in a military aircraft instead of flying commercial, Baru said Wilfred is only speaking for himself when he said he was happy to be treated like that.

“However, Wilfred cannot claim to speak for all ex-servicemen. He and his other community headmen friends may be doing fine, having been appointed headmen and getting allowances from the government, but what about the other retired servicemen who have not been so lucky?

“It had been reported in 2012 that 60 per cent of ex-servicemen live in poverty and are struggling to make ends meet. What does Wilfred have to say about these 60 per cent? Are they being taken good care of by the government?” queried the Ba Kelalan assemblyman in a press statement yesterday.

Baru was responding to a statement by a group of community leaders in Kapit – through Wilfred – who questioned his (Baru) criticism hurled at the government for flying them in a military plane from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur last month.

As for Wilfred’s claim that he and his friends were appointed as community leaders because the government recognised their sacrifice and commitment in protecting the country, Baru said that was just illogical.

“All the existing ex-servicemen made the same sacrifice and had the same commitment. Where are their appointments? Many of them are just struggling to survive.

“If Wilfred claims that he and his friends deserve to be respected for their sacrifice and commitment, where is the respect for the rest of the retired servicemen? How should this respect be shown? I’m sure they would also like to know the answer.”

Baru said he had, in fact, last year made a statement about the appointment of community leaders after receiving numerous calls expressing concern that the recent appointments of community chiefs and headmen had been of individuals who are chosen because of their affiliation with Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.

He alluded that Masing’s initial statement that he could not afford to fly all the community leaders using commercial plane implied that it was actually the preferred option.

“He (Masing) also said that the community leaders were there to pledge support to the PM. Only after criticisms were leveled at him did he come up with the story about the trip being a reward for fighting communists.

“Which brings me to ask – exactly how many of these community leaders fought the communists in those days?

“Whatever these community leaders may say, the fact remains that there was blatant abuse of power by the DCM (Masing) in using a government asset for his political purpose in flying these people to Putrajaya. Moreover, it was disrespectful of him to use these political leaders this way.”

Baru said: “Finally, I wish to say to Wilfred and his friends, who are ‘warning’ critics not to use them for political mileage, to please look at themselves square in the face and ask themselves what the DCM was doing, if not using abusing his powers by using them for political mileage?

“They have been politicised, no matter how much they deny it. When we in the opposition see something unethical, it is our duty to point it out. Sometimes the truth hurts, and it is easier for them to deny rather than to face the uncomfortable truth.”

He said Wilfred and other community leaders would do well to remind themselves of the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 which prohibits them from being affiliated with any political party.

“They are meant to be politically neutral, and their duties are to speak and act in the best interests of the people they represented. Why should they allow themselves to be used by a BN party to go to Kuala Lumpur and pledge support for the PM?”

Baru said it was a sad day indeed when community leaders are unable to see that they are being exploited by political parties, and an even sadder day when they insist that they are being rewarded and respected even when others see it as blatant disrespect and an abuse of power.

Source : The Borneo Post Online




  1. Under the BN patronage system those community leaders who were fed with crumbs would be compelled to defend the actions of their political master.

    Comment by Simon Abbey — October 10, 2017 @ 3:29 PM | Reply

  2. Treating people like animals … no respect … vote for change

    Comment by tigeryka — October 10, 2017 @ 12:12 PM | Reply

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