Hornbill Unleashed

April 14, 2010

Dayaks battle against gangsters and spin doctors

NONEBy Keruah Usit

Sarawak’s natives are fighting hired thugs to defend their Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. According to the Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas), an NGO campaigning for NCR, gangsters have been trying to intimidate Iban villagers who blockaded a road against a timber company on March 12.

Brimas says the Iban communities of Sungai Tepus, Balingian, midway between Sibu and Bintulu, have lodged three police reports against the loggers, Bitani Maju, but their NCR land has not been protected.

Instead, their blockade across the logging road has been removed by the police. Even worse, the villagers allege that a group of gangsters, traveling in ten cars, have been threatening them since the blockade began. (more…)


April 12, 2010

RK Nathan Kena Kantoi

Alamak, kantoiBy Fahri Azzat

Can a judge who previously presided over a matter then take up the case as counsel after his retirement from the bench? If you don’t know the answer because you recently had a lobotomy, consider the High Court decision of Perbadanan Pembangunan Pulau Pinang v Tropiland Sdn Bhd [2010] 2 CLJ 1061.

Most judges who retire from service from the Bench (i.e.: the Judiciary) often end up as consultants or arbitrators if they don’t stay retired. For those with drama in their career would sometimes end up compiling legal reference books of little import for several years before emerging many years later to speak publicly about their the injustice that befell them.

The exalted few end up like NH Chan who despite retiring from legal authority has gained far more in moral authority if not fame. Others disappear as soundlessly and without any notice like dew that hug the blades of glass in the late morning sun. (more…)

April 9, 2010

From Judges To Gestapo Type Police: Tyranny of abuse of powers

Filed under: Legal — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

The Rise of Tyranny book cover - source:Sentinel PressBy NH Chan

When powers are abused there is no tyranny like them. The abuse of powers by police is a consequence of the bad example set by judges when they refuse to apply the law as it stands or when they apply double standards in their judgments.

The Rise of Tyranny book cover. Source: Sentinel Press

I read with disgust, on 29 March 2010 in LoyarBurok about the manhandling and arrest of lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad by the Gestapo type police.

When powers are abused, there is no tyranny like them. (more…)

April 2, 2010

You Jump, I Sue: Can voters sue traitors?

By NH Chan

For their willful betrayal of trust, is there a cause of action against the turncoats who jumped ship? The answer is yes. Considering the principle of estoppel in determining a cause of action for affected voters and the political parties on whose ticket the turncoats were elected as their representatives in Parliament and in the Perak Legislative Assembly, to sue these traitors.

The other day someone gave me a copy of Harakah of 8-11 March 2010 and in the English section I came across this piece written by P. Ramakrishnan, Aliran President:

The … 12 February 2010 … marked the first PKR resignation – the MP for Bayan Baru – and [that] sparked the dishonourable exit of two more traitors of the voters who supported the Pakatan Rakyat by electing these renegades. On 1 March 2010 the MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, and two days later on 3 March, the MP for Bagan Serai, Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri, announced their resignations respectively. (more…)

March 31, 2010

The Monarch Has No Power to Sack Any Member of The Cabinet Exco

By NH Chan

The reality is neither the King nor the Sultan has any power to sack the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar or the other cabinet ministers/executive councillors

I have divided this primer to a monarch’s powers in two sections.

Section One deals with the appointment of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar and other Cabinet Ministers/Executive Councillors by a constitutional monarch.

Section Two will deal with the constitutional monarch’s power to dismiss the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar or other Ministers/Executive Councillors. (more…)

March 6, 2010

Must logging companies support rape, lies and bigamy?

By Pak Bui


Logging has brought many changes to the lives of the rural communities in Sarawak. The Sarawak government says these changes constitute development.

The logging companies have introduced dirt tracks, mighty machines and many thousands of Iban, Orang Ulu and Chinese workers into our forests.

They have carried oil slicks and cascades of mud into our rivers. Alcohol and sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV have also followed the influx of these loggers.

The logging companies have ferried in gangsters, and sometimes a police presence, when the natives are restless and blockade the logging roads to protest the loss of their land. (more…)

March 2, 2010

Sarawak dams chief under media scrutiny

By MalaysiaKini

the antidote article sarawak natives life in interior sarawak 050509 02The chief executive officer of the company overseeing a massive dam project on Penan tribal land in Sarawak has come under scrutiny in his native Norway over alleged violations of indigenous rights.

Citing a Norwegian newspaper report, tribal peoples’ advocacy group Survival International (Survival) said Sarawak Energy Bhd’s new CEO Torstein Sjotveit has been questioned about the impact the project would have on the Penan.

Sjotveit, who became SEB’s CEO on Nov 1 last year, claimed the Penan had been consulted, the Dagbladet reported on Feb 22, and that his company was complying with UN rules.

The UN countenances developments on indigenous peoples’ land only after their free, prior and informed consent has been obtained. (more…)

February 27, 2010

Malaysian CNY…Politics as usual

Filed under: Human rights,Legal,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

By Bunga Pakma

“I was in Philadelphia once, but it was closed.”

—attributed to W. C. Fields.

The week before CNY was chock-a-block with work that exhausted me. Every duty was a last-minute demand. I filed my piece on the Friday and hoofed my way home and put a big pot of chili con carne on the fire for the hungry teens I was to put up for the holidays.  Then I wilted, and looked forward with relish to the prospect of doing nothing for a while.

Saturday nothing happened. I slept through the midnight fireworks. Sunday even less than nothing happened. Traffic vanished. A little old lady could have crossed Jalan Ampang on foot any time she pleased.

Monday nothing happened. My son and his friends had played as much on the computer they could take. The sun burned and the frightfully intense heat had killed all appetite. By afternoon I had three half-naked 18-year-olds prostrate on the marble floor of the house, the ceiling-fan roaring on full. They looked like shipwrecked sailors drifting in a lifeboat somewhere in the endless ocean. They draw breath slowly, with sighs. Involuntary tears trickle from their eyes.  One tries in vain to rise. He sinks back to the floor and feebly waves his limbs like the metamorphosized Gregor Samsa.


February 24, 2010

Time for Sarawak natives to bring out the tiger in them?

By Apang

The High Court rejects the state government’s application for a stay of the ground-breaking Agi judgment. NCR landowners are not to be denied the fruits of litigation.

Harvest time arrives early in 2010 for the Native Customary Rights (NCR) landowners of Rumah Agi in the Sebauh district of Bintulu, Sarawak. The traditional rice harvesting has been supplemented by the yield of oil palm for the Iban folks of Rumah Agi this year.

The High Court in Kuching declared on January 21 that part of the lands given to Lembaga Tabung Haji, and subsequently contracted to a Sabah-based oil-palm plantation company, are NCR lands.

With hundreds of hectares of the NCR lands bearing ripening oil palm fruits, Rumah Agi Ibans have been busy harvesting, to claim back what they had lost. The Ibans have fought long and hard to exert their customary rights over their lands, which were first destroyed by loggers, and then grabbed by a government-corporation partnership.

However, this early harvest must be put in the context of a decade-long battle in court, and a 14-year struggle since the provisional lease over their NCR lands was issued by the Sarawak government in 1996. (more…)

February 23, 2010

Another Victory for the Sarawak NCR Landowners

By HUeditor

The year of the tiger has roared in favour of the Sarawak Native Customary Rights landowners, again, today as the Federal Court sitting in Kuching on 21st February 2010 dismissed an application by the Sarawak Government to review its own decision delivered in October last year.

The case involving more than 600 Sarawak native landowners, Amit Salleh and others from Bintulu had gone through the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, with judgment given in their favour.

Refer to the various judgments downloadable here.

Amit  Salleh – APPELLATE JURISDICTION -21-February 2009

Amit Salleh – Court of Appeal – 28-April-2008

Amit Salleh – High Court Suit – 12 May-2005

The former Sarawak Attorney-General, Datuk JC Fong, was however not satisfied. Representing the Sarawak State Government, Datuk Fong and State Legal Officer Encik Saferi Ali sought the apex court’s review of its own decision this morning.

The Sarawak State Government’s application was, however, dismissed with costs to the native landowners.


February 21, 2010

The Federal Court in Nizar v Zambry: A critique

Filed under: Alternatives,Legal,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: ,

By NH Chan

On 9 February 2010 the Federal Court (Alauddin Mohd Sheriff PCA, Arifin Zakaria CJ (Malaya), Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Abdul Hamid Embong FCJJ) handed down a unanimous decision on Nizar v Zambry. The judgment of the court was read by Chief Judge, Malaya Arifin *Zakaria.

* The judgment is 40 pages long on A4 size paper and if you have the stamina to persevere to the end of the judgment you would have realized that these judges of the highest court in the land have, under the pretext of interpretation, decided that the Sultan of Perak has the power to dismiss the incumbent Menteri Besar Nizar when the Laws of the Constitution of Perak does not confer any executive power on the Sultan for so doing.

If the Sultan has no power to dismiss Nizar then, we should ask, how could the Federal Court commit suck a devastating error to their reputation as judges of the highest court in the land? (more…)

February 19, 2010

Shooting guided missiles at mosquitoes?

By Sim Kwang Yang

The parliament ought to be one of the most important symbols of national sovereignty. It represents the rule of the people, by the people, for the people. It is also the highest political forum of the land, where the fate of the nation can be debated by revered elected representatives of the people. That is what the parliament ought to be, in theory at least.

The doctrine of the separation of power evolved through the history of Westminster style of parliamentary democracy, and is more or less recognised as sacrosanct in developed democracies of the world, even by those politicians who have dictatorial tendencies, as in the United States, Pakistan and Malaysia.

This doctrine stipulates that the legislative, the administrative, and the judicial branches of government must be independent of one another, so that they will check and balance one another. The history of the evolution of democracy all over the world has been driven by this one basic principle: power will breed more greed for power, and all human individuals entrusted with power in public office in various branches of the government must be mistrusted and checked. (more…)

February 16, 2010

A word in defence of the Judiciary

By Pak Bui

So Zambry the Frog Prince is now secure with his three pet frogs, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Hee Yit Foong. Frogs are officially a protected species in Perak.

Zambry’s frogs have been protected by no less than royal decree, and by the Federal Court, the highest court in Malaysia. The judges have earned their many decorations, datuk-ships and tan sri-hoods, and now they have won the grandest title ever: High Protectors of All Frogs.

Most Malaysians are incensed over the unanimous (and pusillanimous) 5-0 whitewash Federal Court verdict in favour of Umno’s Perak stooges (MB Zombie and his crew). Some Malaysians have even written letters to the press, complaining it is a waste of time to pursue justice through the Malaysian courts. But this is a silly reaction.

The decision made by the Federal Court panel was, of course, not unexpected. The Famous Five judges, Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Arifin Zakaria, Zulkifli Ahmad Makinuddin Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Abdull Hamid Embong, were expected to agree with the Appeal Court. (more…)

February 12, 2010

Natives are not only NCR landowners, they are part of the land



On the 19th day of August 1996, the ‘brain-child’ project of the YAB Chief Minister Taib Mahmud of Sarawak was launched in Kanowit amidst fanfare, celebrations and hope. Hope for the rural poor natives Ibans to better themselves, after all the Chief Minister referred to this project as “the best plan project, to uplift the standard of living of the rural poor natives above the poverty line”. (Rancangan Kerajaan untuk memajukan Tanah NCL adalah merupakan rancangan yang terbaik untuk meletakkan taraf hidup Bumiputera di luar Bandar diatas garis kemiskinan).

This was dubbed the “Konsep Baru” or “New Concept” of developing Native Customary Land (NCL), in a three joint-venture partnership comprising firstly the NCL Owners who hold 30% equity, the Government 10% through Land Custody Development Authority (LCDA) or PELITA and the balance 60% to the investor. It was on this equitable division of shares that the Chief Minister and the BN Ministers and Leaders since the launching of this pioneering project in Kanowit in 1996 involving a total of 102,675 hectares of NCL, assumed that the natives will improve their lots through the development of their “idle NCL” into oil palm plantations. Sadly, this promise of uplifting the standard of living for the rural natives through this New Concept did not materialize at all. (more…)

February 10, 2010

On the independence of judges

Filed under: Alternatives,Corruption,Human rights,Legal,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: ,


NH CHAN was admitted to the Bar in 1961 and was a lawyer for almost two decades before becoming a High Court judge. He was then elevated to the Court of Appeal before retiring in 2000. He is the author of two books, ‘Judging the Judges’ (2007) and ‘How to Judge the Judges’.

What does the term ‘the independence of the judges’ mean? I pose this question because it appears that there are many of our judges today who do not seem to know the true meaning of separation of powers in constitutional law.

This is most apparent especially among those judges in the higher echelon of the judicial hierarchy. The bad judges seem to think that independence means that they can do what they like – because the dictionary says the word means ‘free from the control or influence of others’.

The recalcitrant judges think that words can mean whatever they want them to mean. They think like Humpty Dumpty who says that it depends on who has the power – “the question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master”. These Humpty Dumpty judges also think that they are independent of the legislature. (more…)

February 7, 2010

Sarawak BN Battered in Publicity Wars

By Pak Bui

The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) government is struggling to cope with the new media revolution. In the not-too-distant past, it could always count on KTS and Rimbunan Hijau and their stable of newspaper mules: the See Hua Daily News, the Borneo PostSinchew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau, to carry its propaganda.

But the tides of battle are changing. Sarawak BN has been battered by blow after blow in the publicity wars.

First, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud was infuriated by Malaysiakini’s reports of alleged RM32 million kickbacks to his family from the Regent Star timber shipping agent in Hong Kong. Last year, Taib’s lawsuit against Malaysiakini was set back when the Kuala Lumpur High Court threw out his application to ban parts of the news portal’s legal defence.

The Sarawak newspapers then made up a story about “foreign instigators” being responsible for Penan blockades in Long Bangan, Long Belok and Long Nen, only to end up with egg on their face when the “foreign instigators” turned out to be AFP journalists.

Perhaps the biggest defeat for the BN propaganda machine was the scandal over the crimes of rape visited on rural communities by logging workers. (more…)

January 28, 2010

High Court Judgments reaffirming Native Customary Rights lands

By HU Editor

On 21st January 2010, High Court Judge Datuk David Wong had delivered his ruling on two cases in Kuching : Agi Ak Bungkong & Others v Ladang Sawit Bintulu Sdn Bhd and Mohd Rambli Kawi v Superintendent of Lands & Surveys Kuching Division and Another.

In both cases, the High Court Judge held that the respective communities had proven that they have native customary rights over the disputed land, and awarded them damages and costs.

In both cases, the Plaintiffs were represented by Baru Bian and See Chee How.

Full judgments downloadable at LINKS BELOW:

Rumah Agi Judgment

Ramli Kawi Judgment

January 24, 2010

Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban…long live the Sarawakian spirit!

By Pak Bui

Life is full of ups and downs, slings and arrows. All we can do is keep fighting, and never despair.

I salute the steel in the soul of some courageous Sarawakians: of the people of 15 Iban longhouses of Sebauh, of Haji Mohamad Rambli bin Kawi of Lobo Rambungan, and of the Sarawakians Baru Bian, See Chee How and their allies.

I thank them for motivating all of us in Sarawak who love justice.

Agi idup agi ngelaban! While I still live, I fight.

It is speculated that this defiant Iban cry of the Sarawak Rangers was inspired by Dum spiro spero. This Latin phrase, translated to “while I breathe, I hope”, is accredited to the great lawyer and writer Cicero. It probably found its way to Sarawak as the Brooke family’s motto.


January 22, 2010

Sarawak gov’t humbled by Iban villagers

By Keruah Usit of Malaysiakini

The Sarawak government’s unpopular ‘Konsep Baru’ or ‘New Concept’ of land development, which encourages private companies to set up vast oil palm plantations on native people’s lands, has been dealt a blow by a landmark High Court decision today.

The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak declared victory to rural Iban farmers from Rumah Madel, in Sebauh, 30km from Bintulu, in a land rights suit filed against Ladang Sawit Bintulu Sdn Bhd Tabung Haji (a major share-owner in the oil palm plantation) and the Sarawak government.

The Rumah Madel plaintiffs were represented by land rights advocates Baru Bian and See Chee How.

“This is a victory for all Sarawakians, and for future generations of Malaysians,” said See, outside the High Court. The government has 30 days to appeal the decision. (more…)

January 21, 2010

A Great Day for Justice

By HU Editor

It was an emotional day for native landowners in Sarawak.

Outside the courthouse in Kuching, tears of joy were flowing  freely and native landowners from all parts of Sarawak hugged and congratulated each other.

Baru Bian, usually cool and composed, was seen talking to reporters with his eyes red, and voice shaking with emotion: “This is justice for all Sarawakians, particularly the oppressed native communities.”

High Court Judge Datuk David Wong had just delivered his ruling on two cases in Kuching this morning: Agi Ak Bungkong & Others v Ladang Sawit Bintulu Sdn Bhd and Mohd Rambli Kawi v Superintendent of Lands & Surveys Kuching Division and Another.

In both cases, the High Court Judge held that the respective communities had proven that they have native customary rights over the disputed land, and awarded them damages and costs. (more…)

January 18, 2010

Controversial ‘Allah’ ruling of Datuk Lau Bee Lan

Filed under: Legal — Hornbill Unleashed @ 7:17 PM
Tags: ,

HU Editor

High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s controversial ‘Allah’ ruling that rocked the nation over who had rights to the term cited that the Home Minister and government’s actions had been illegal, unconstitutional, irrational and had failed to satisfy that it was a threat to national security.

She also wrote about the apparent conflict in the matter between the Federal Constitution and the various state enactments apart from claims by Muslim groups that the matter cannot be taken to a civil court.

The judge released the written grounds of her Dec 31 judgment late on Friday while the increasingly acrimonious public debate over who has the right to use the word “Allah” continues to rage on.

Hornbill Unleashed obtained a copy of her 57-page judgment where the judge lays out the reasons and the laws behind her oral pronouncement.

Downloadable PDF files of Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s 57-page judgment

January 13, 2010

Sarawak Lawyers: Support judicial independence, condemn arsons

By HU Editor

A group of practising lawyers in Sarawak this morning gathered outside the Kuching Courts Complex calling for respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. They also called on all responsible and conscientious Malaysians to condemn violence and acts that incite racial tension.

The group of more than 10 lawyers handed out a joint declaration to passers-by said that the demonstration, church arsons and escalating tension arising from the current “Allah” controversy will jeopardize peace and nation building, tarnish Malaysia’s international image and discourage foreign investment, that the failure of the BN Government to stop demonstrations against the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the use of “Allah” by the Herald had fanned the emotions and sentiments of certain quarters to turn the matter into serious religious conflict.


December 15, 2009

Making out a case of Sexual Exploitation- A call for further investigations by the Police

By Zhang ML

A denial of rape allegations by a Penan woman made headlines in the Borneo Post on October 29. The article had a photo of an unidentified woman with her eyes blacked out and captioned “What? Me a Rape Victim?”

As I read the stories that have been unfolding since then, I cannot help concluding that this case falls within the range of the different types of sexual exploitation or exploitative relationships that girls and women find themselves caught in,.even if it is not rape.

For those of us who have been following the issue the past year or so in the mainstream and local Sarawak papers, it is safe to conclude that the woman who lodged a police report at the Long Lama police station is ‘Bibi’ (not her real name).

‘Bibi’ was interviewed at the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) Shelter or Refuge in KL by four members of the task force set up in October 2008 by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to investigate the allegations of sexual abuses affecting Penan girls and women. (more…)

November 20, 2009

Oil royalties: black deeds and black gold

By Pak Bui

Oil royalties have long been a subject of a sensitive and emotional debate in Sarawak, and in Malaysia in general. In the last two weeks, the national debate surrounding oil royalties has heated up, producing clashes in Parliament.

PM Najib has told Kelantan’s PAS government that the state has no more claim to income from oil. In his pompous Jabba-esque hangdog voice, Najib announced in Parliament that Kelantan would only receive wang ehsan instead, loosely translated as “a compassionate fund” or “goodwill money”, from next year. He said it would replace the oil royalty Kelantan received in previous years, since 1974.

Najib did not reveal the amount of charity he would send Kelantan’s way. Kelantan MPs were furious, saying that the oil royalty is Kelantan’s rightful share of the income generated from the petroleum industry off its coast. Kelantan’s exco claims the Federal Government still owes Kelantan RM1 billion, as its 5% royalty of oil revenue extracted from Kelantan since 2004.

Husam Musa, Kelantan exco member and one of the most articulate voices in PAS, condemned Umno’s discrimination against Kelantan as politically motivated. He accused Najib of trying to mislead the public by saying Kelantan was not entitled to an oil royalty, because the oil is produced more than three nautical miles offshore. Husam pointed out that Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak all receive oil royalties, not “wang ehsan”, even though petroleum is produced more than that distance offshore, outside state waters.


November 18, 2009

Corruption – the Malaysian pestilence!

Filed under: Corruption,Legal,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

By Sim Kwang Yang

Eleven public officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as some businessmen have been charged in court for alleged corrupt practices as reported in the Auditor General’s report.

Visibly pleased during an official visit to the Anti-Corruption Agency HQ, the PM praised the management and men of the agency for their good work, and encouraged them to go after the corrupt, no matter what their rank and status.

Have these high-profile anti-graft cases restored the confidence of the ordinary street-wise citizens, especially those who live and work in large urban centres? Has the BN government therefore displayed their political will to rid the nation of this crippling scourge forever? The answer must be an emphatic “no”!

Even the very pro-government national daily, the New Straits Times, shares my scepticism. In an editorial that appeared on 25.10.2007 under the title “Delivering the goods”, the paper has this to say:

“As it is, while there has been a very conspicuous campaign to curb corruption, this has not been matched by public progress reports in terms of proven cases, litigations, and court hearings. In the fight against corruption, the bureaucratic preference for washing the dirty linen behind closed doors should not apply. When the seeming reluctance to do anything which can be construed as undermining the morale of the civil service is taken as an indication of the weakness of enforcement and the lack of political will, it can only reinforce the perception the anti-corruption drive has been long on rhetoric and short on delivery.”


November 1, 2009

Sarawak PKR’s new chief faces BN mud-slinging

By Maximus  Kho

baru-bianFinally, it is done. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or the People’s Justice Party, has appointed a Sarawakian to head its Sarawak Chapter. Yesterday, at a press conference at the Telang Usan Hotel, Mr Baru Bian, a well-known, well-liked, and widely-respected Land Rights lawyer, announced his assumption of the leadership of PKR Sarawak.

This is after much clamouring from within and without the party for a local Sarawakian to head the party. Amongst the most frequently expressed views was the concern that Sarawak’s interests demand the leadership of a Sarawakian. Even George Chan ventured in with his two cent’s worth, when he was quoted as saying that the PKR could not represent Sarawak’s interests because it was headed by a West Malaysian.

Baru’s appointment therefore comes as a breath of fresh air to many. However, not all is well in Sarawak.


October 23, 2009

What if…Teoh Beng Hock had been your brother?

By Pak Bui

Teoh Beng Hock

What if Teoh Beng Hock had been your brother, or your son, or cousin?

Teoh was 30 when his life was snuffed out. He had not yet reached the halfway point of his life, if we accept a Malaysian man’s life expectancy to be around 71. He was old enough to be a father, but young enough to be a grandson.

He was an average Malaysian. His salary was 1800 ringgit a month, as the MACC “revealed”, in their efforts to tarnish his name. His reported salary was bang on the average Malaysian per capita income.

He was on the threshold of one of the defining moments in any man’s life: fatherhood.

The fact that he was well loved, by Soh Cher Wei, the mother of his unborn child, by his parents, his older brother Teoh Bee Lan, and his younger sister Teoh Beng Kee, speaks volumes for the dead man’s character.


October 19, 2009


traffic_light_-_cautionBy Maximus Koh

I read with interest the earlier contribution to Hornbill Unleashed, “Why do people follow the law?” It is indeed a complex area of discussion. Views range from ancient Greece to our local “kopi tiams”.

It gets even more difficult when you throw in the equation, that there seems to be one set of laws for those that enforce them and another set for those that are obliged to follow them.

All of those who have sat in traffic for half an hour at the Jalan Song traffic lights waiting for the lights to turn green will know what I mean.

Just as it is your turn to move and you are gleefully shifting your car into gear, a distant sound of fast approaching sirens becomes audible. Getting louder and louder, it is the familiar sound of the heralds and the entourage of one of the many “VVIPS” rushing across town.


October 14, 2009

Law, trust, and justice

Kaypo Anak Sarawak is a Columnist  of  Hermit Hornbill at The Borneo Post Online , His article is  published  in The Borneo Post every Sunday. (Used by permission of the Author )

lawWHY do we obey the law? What makes a law-abiding society?

The common sense answer to those critical questions is: “People obey laws because they fear detection and punishment. That is why we have the police and the courts”.

In The Republic, Plato recounts a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, Plato’s older brother. Glaucon argues that only fear of detection and punishment prevents people from disobeying the laws of the land. He demonstrates this view of human nature with the Myth of Gyges.

Gyges was a shepherd who one day found a ring that could make him invisible when he wore it. (He found the ring on the corpse of a bronze horse, which was exposed when an earthquake broke up the ground below his flock.) Using the magical power of his invisibility, Gyges seduced the queen, murdered the king, and took the throne.


October 1, 2009

“Balik kampung tanam jagung”

By Maximus  Kho

baru-bianFinally, it is done. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or the People’s Justice Party, has appointed a Sarawakian to head its Sarawak Chapter. Wednesday, at a press conference at the Telang Usan Hotel, Mr Baru Bian, a well-known, well-liked, and widely-respected Land Rights lawyer, announced his assumption of the leadership of PKR Sarawak.

This is after much clamouring from within and without the party for a local Sarawakian to head the party. Amongst the most frequently expressed views was the concern that Sarawak’s interests demand the leadership of a Sarawakian. Even George Chan ventured in with his two cent’s worth, when he was quoted as saying that the PKR could not represent Sarawak’s interests because it was headed by a West Malaysian.

Baru’s appointment therefore comes as a breath of fresh air to many. However, not all is well in Sarawak.


September 28, 2009


By Parti Keadilan Rakyat Biro Wanita

We, PKR Wanita Keadilan Malaysia, are gravely concerned about the issue of the sexual abuse of Penan girls and women in Sarawak.

These heinous crimes and extreme violations of human rights perpetrated upon Penan girls and women must be stopped immediately, and perpetrators must be prosecuted as soon as possible.

The long-standing problem of systematic marginalisation of the Penan people, which  has been well documented by many quarters, including SUHAKAM, must be stopped.

We, PKR Wanita Keadilan Malaysia , hereby urge the Sarawak Government to look into the following issues with urgency, and we demand immediate action.


September 20, 2009

See Chee How expresses his shock and disgust with Lihan Jok

BY HU Editor

Press statement by See Chee How, lawyer and Keadilan Sarawak Information Chief, in Kuching on 19.09.2009

Lihan JokSee Chee How, a lawyer acting for Penans and indigenous communities in NCR land cases, today expressed his shock and disgust with Lihan Jok. See said Lihan, the Telang Usan State Assemblyman, did not tell the truth when he reportedly said that the Penans had agreed to dismantle blockades and to allow logging to resume in the timber concession areas.

See also called on the state government to take native customary rights land claims seriously, to salvage the state’s plummeting international reputation, in the interests of the state’s economic development, and to respect and uphold various court judgements that ruled in favour of Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands in Sarawak.

In a statement issued in a press conference in Kuching today, See said that he was present at the meeting between Lihan Jok and the Penan headmen, village representatives and villagers in Long Bangan last Tuesday (15 Sept 2009) and has first-hand knowledge of what had transpired during and after the meeting.

Video inside :- (more…)

Indonesian samurais, Malaysian submarine, bak kut teh, and skin-deep nationalists

By Sim Kwang Yang

pendet-danceThis war of words over culture ownership between Indonesia and Malaysia is getting to be childish.

First, there was this noisy riot in the Indonesia newspapers over Malaysia stealing the Pendet dance that originated from Bali.  The dance was inserted in a 30 second clip as part of Malaysia’s attractions in a Discovery series to promote Malaysia as a travel destination.

It was an obvious mistake made by a culturally illiterate production house in Singapore.  The obvious question is why a Malaysian production house was not appointed to make the clip.  Any Malaysian would not make a stupid mistake like that.  Why is it also that the Tourism Ministry did not check the clip to ensure its authenticity?

In any case, I find those sugary promotional materials quite revolting.  The Ibans are always portrayed as wearing cawat.  Can you blame Hadi Awang or anybody else for thinking that the Ibans of Batang Ai are all wearing cawat?


September 19, 2009

Another 15 Indigenous People Detained in Sarawak

iban_arrestJaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia

Media Release

Another 15 Indigenous Peoples Detained in Sarawak

18 September 2009

Sri Aman, Sarawak – After the arrest and release of 15 indigenous people in Sarawak on Malaysia Day, another 15 indigenous Iban have been reported arrested in the Pantu District in Sarawak, for the alleged crime of harvesting oil palm fruits that have been grown on their native land. This was done in response to a police complaint filed by trespassing company Pelita-Tetangga Akrab.


September 18, 2009

The Story of K

By Bunga Pakma

ramadhan-uyRamadhan is drawing to a close, the moon is coming to her rendezvous with the sun, to reappear soon and bring us Eid Al-Fitri.  Once the festivities have quieted down, poor Ms. Kartika will report to prison, where a specialist will thwack her six times with a rotan in the interest of her education.

Indignity after indignity has been heaped on Ms Kartika, and in respect to her, I shall not print her name further. Among these indignities, perhaps the most sordid is a thing which the outer world well knows but here in Malaysian discourse is conspicuous by its absence, the proverbial “elephant in the room.”  Have the Malaysian authorities, have the Syariah judge Abdul Rahman Mohd Yunos and lawyers realized that they have crafted a lurid pornographic entertainment for the lascivious men and women, straight, gay and lesbian, of whole world?

When it comes to the variety of sexual practices and fantasies, I doubt there are many innocents in Malaysia or elsewhere, though I’m sure many Malaysians keep an anxious hold on their thoughts and imaginings.  In the interest of education, let us examine the nature of this spectacle. (more…)

September 17, 2009

Statement on Sexual Violence against Penan Women and the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia

Statement on Sexual Violence against Penan Women and the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia

16th September 2009

Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


In the wake of the release of the report of the task force confirming allegations of sexual abuse of Penan women and girls, we – concerned citizens of this country – greet Malaysia’s 46th birthday with a renewed sense of outrage. We are gravely disturbed over not only the status of the Penan girls and women whose rights were violated, but also over how their situation reflects the overall state of the affairs of the Orang Asal: the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. (more…)

September 13, 2009

Clearing the air on the “mysterious” NGOs – on a lazy Malaysian Sunday

Filed under: Legal,Penan,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , , ,

By Sim Kwang yang

Penan IR Who LiesFinally, the truth is out: Penan girls had been raped by timber camp workers, according to the official reports put out by the task force appointed by the federal Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development.

The official report had been ready and approved by the federal cabinet in April I hear, but has not seen the light of day until a group of PKR Wanita protestors led by their chief  Hajjah Zuraidah went to the office of the Minister.  There were promptly given a copy.

The report confirming the rape of very young Penan school girls is like a slap on the face of the Sarawak Ministers who had denied such rapes ever happened.  But some people have very thick skin on their face; they do not feel the heat of the slap, even when they are soundly slapped.

Alfred JabuThe Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in charge of Penan affairs Alfred Jabu promptly questioned the findings of the task force, blaming the mysterious hands of the NGOs in influencing the outcome of the task force’s investigations.


September 11, 2009



English Version of “ Part 5” Summary Inside

By HU Editor

What now AIO IRWhen allegations of rape and sexual abuse of the Penan young women and school girls

came to light last September 2008, the Sarawak state government was dismissive with the news reports:

Penan girls claim abuse , Against their will , Violated by loggers , A neglected people

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said the reports were nothing but lies and demanded that the newspapers corrected them. Check your information or you will be suspected by the decent people of Sarawak of trying to sabotage us when we have toiled to develop our state, Taib said.

Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu who is the chairman of the steering committee on Penan Affairs said that it would be a waste of time to investigate. He said: I have not heard of such complaints from the Penan communal leaders in my many visits to Ulu Baram. (more…)

The rape of the Penan, and other shameful crimes

By Pak Bui

Penan IRThe government has finally admitted that vulnerable Sarawakians have been raped by logging workers in Baram.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development caved in to demands by NGOs and the electronic media. Malaysian civil society has been clamouring for justice for nearly a year. As a result, the Ministry released its National Taskforce report to PKR Women’s Chief Zuraida Kamaruddin this week.

Our wealthy logging companies behave as if they are kings in rural parts of Sarawak. Rape is an expression of power over the victim as much as it is a crime of passion or lust. Therefore it is no surprise to learn that schoolgirls as young as 10 years old have been molested, abducted and raped by loggers.

These loggers carry out these crimes because they can. (more…)

September 8, 2009

Report on Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Penan Girls and Women… Finally released !

Women, Family and Community Task Force Investigation Report

on Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Penan Girls and Women in Sarawak

Penan ReportPenan Task Force Report in PDF Format

We thank Keadilan Wanita Chief YB Hajjah Zuraidah Kamaruddin and her good team that demonstrated outside Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat’s office today and obtained a copy of this report, and made it available for our readers.

Video & Photo Inside : (more…)

September 7, 2009

[Comment] – On Merdeka, the nation-state, and endo-colonialism

Filed under: Legal,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , ,

By Bunga Pakma

5246 malaysiaDayPak Bui commented on my recent “On Merdeka, the nation-state, and endo-colonialism” article in such a way that caused me to think more deeply. Time rolls along, but history is never dead. Such ancient events as the Battle of Salamis or the reign of Qin Shih Huang affect the way we live today. Understanding what might have been the reality is a ticklish business.

Though I confess I have a soft-spot in my soft brain for the Brookes, I try to keep romanticism at bay with stern admonitions to consider the reality of the times. Yes, the Brookes used violence when necessary. Charles has been described as “one sick puppy” in his young years by a scholar whose opinions I value. In extenuation, I shall go as far as to counter that the “industrial” system of headhunting developed by Malays, Arabs, and Ibans which James and Charles aimed to suppress wrought unspeakable bloodshed and misery throughout Borneo. (more…)

September 1, 2009

The AFP story on the Penans

Filed under: Legal,Logging — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Img_0122Remember those AFP journalists who were accused of being “foreign instigators of Penan blockades” just because they happened to be seen near one blockade?  Actually, they were there to interview the Penans, as professional journalists are supposed to do.  How many Malaysian journalists covering the Penan issue have ever gone and interviewed a single Penan?

I have often wondered why these journalists did not clarify that they were not instigating the Penans.  They probably had their work permits and their visas (if any) to worry about.

Finally, their story was released to the world on August 30.  I have taken the liberty of reproducing it on our blog below for the story to tell itself.

Sim Kwang Yang (more…)

August 30, 2009

The Police give us food for thought

By Pak Bui

lcct_airportA fortnight ago, as I was waiting in transit at a local airport, I found the small snack counter at the departure gate had closed. I was hungry, having endured a glass of mystery fruit juice on my previous flight, and not much else the entire day.

I approached the police officers on duty at the security checkpoint, and asked for permission to leave the gate for a few minutes to buy some food. The two police officers sitting at the X-ray machine, a man and a woman, appeared relaxed, and were chatting with each other.

“You want to go out?” the policeman asked. “Are you leaving the terminal?” (more…)

August 28, 2009

NGOs demand respect for natives’ rights in stalled “legal timber” agreement

By MC Wong

Vincent PiketAmbassador and head of the European Union (EU) delegation in Malaysia, Vincent Piket, said on August 19, “EU hopes to sign a bilateral Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with Malaysia, by year-end, to promote the trade in legally produced and harvested timber.”

Piket first announced, a year ago, that under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) plan, the EU is preparing to sign an agreement with Malaysia which would be ready by the end of 2008.

In January 2009, he told the media that the VPA would be signed in three or four months. Four months later, at the end of April, he said again that the EU and Malaysia were finalising timber trade talks to ensure sustainability and legality of output. (more…)

Newspapers smear Teoh Beng Hock and “foreign instigators”

By Pak Bui

Utusan ShitIt’s confirmed! The newspapers are full of propaganda and they stink to high heaven!

Malaysian newspapers have been falling over themselves to fawn over Umno and the Sarawak BN.

The mainstream media in KL have published endless claims of Teoh Beng Hock’s “likely suicide” and his being “on the take.” The whitewash has vacillated between trying to bury the story on the inside pages, and trying to publish the MACC’s version of events, at the same time.

The MACC officers seem to be convinced they can smear Teoh Beng Hock’s name without fear, because they are playing for the side that controls the ball and the referee. They do not see any injustice in accusing a dead man, who cannot defend himself, or sue the MACC – as long as the MACC get off the hook. (more…)

August 25, 2009

A call to Rosmah: can justice flow like a river for Penan girls?

By Rosita Maja

datin-sri-rosmah-mansorPenan school girls have claimed they have been raped, sexually abused and taken advantage of, on their way to school. Could you keep quiet if this happened to your daughters?

Many quarters of civil society have fought hard to bring the issue to the attention of the Malaysian government and the relevant authorities. The issue has been highlighted for more than a year!

We heard Rosmah Mansor, Mrs PM, say “to me…no child should be left out or deprived of the opportunity to learn,” in one of her speeches in June.

Why are you, Rosmah, still keeping quiet on the reports of rape of Penan schoolgirls and women? (more…)

August 23, 2009

Questions over “tip-off” regarding MACC and Teoh Beng Hock

By Pak Bui

LOGOsprmThe anonymous letter written by “MACC Officers” in Officialese (mind-numbing bureaucratic language) has stirred up a swarm of questions. RPK, as usual, has done Malaysians a favour, by stimulating debate, and publishing the anonymous letter in full on the Malaysia Today website.

Could it be true?

One obvious question is: are the allegations against a senior Selangor MACC official true? We should adhere to the age-old tenet that any indicted person is innocent until proven guilty. But the Selangor MACC’s record speaks for itself.

The Selangor MACC launched a rabid attack on the PR government, “probing” allocations of funds of less than RM2500. It appears unlikely that Umno can unseat PR’s Selangor government by fair means, because Khalid’s administration has performed well overall, as Nizar’s did in Perak. (more…)

August 21, 2009

Nazri proud of “e-court”, but not Sarawak BN MPs

By Apang

Mohamed Nazri Abdul AzizThe de facto law minister from UMNO was in Kuching last week. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, was given widespread coverage by the local papers, on several issues.

Nazri’s trip was full of praise for Sarawak indeed. The Sarawak BN must be delighted that the Umno minister was praising the state so effusively. The Sarawak BN leaders’ faces were splashed all over the local papers, beaming because of Nazri’s compliments.

Nazri’s e-nthusiasm for technology


August 20, 2009

Permatang Pasir: a milestone in the long march against racism

By Sim Kwang Yang

unite against racismThe Malaysian government is thinking of doing away with the category of “race” in all official forms.  I have been filling those forms all my life and I have always hated that particular category.  When the forms do not really matter, I just fill in “human” for my race.

But removing the category “race” from forms will not begin to eradicate racism that is so entrenched and institutionalised in Malaysian national life.  It has its deepest roots in party politics.  As long as political parties find that racist sentiments are the most effective tool in mass mobilisation of populist support, racism will continue to colour all our daily judgements.

In short, race-based political parties and their race-based nation-building policies are the real cause of racism in Malaysia. (more…)

August 9, 2009

Cawat remark hard to digest

HU Liumx1By Liumx

Can a cawat remark hurt my “native Sarawakian” feelings?

I must confess that I am not good at reading minds. I am even worse at reading a “mindset”.

This reflection is, of course, a reaction to the cawat comment by the honourable PAS president, Hadi Awang.

PAS jargon is hardly easy to digest. Terms such as “muktamar” or “muzakarah” are strange to the minds of those who are unfamiliar with Arabic, or rather romanised Arabic – maybe even, to some extent, a Malaysianised, and inauthentic, Arabic.

Ask any ordinary passer-by, say on the streets of Miri, the meaning of these phrases. The number of people who can give a satisfactory description of “muktamar” or “muzakarah” may add up to zero.

Therefore, why use this peculiar jargon? (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.