Hornbill Unleashed

October 24, 2012

Don’t arrest Penans, assemblyman warns police

Joseph Tawie

The Penans are peaceful people and if there is any riot, it would be as a result of provocation, says senior lawyer Baru Bian.

Increasing the number of police personnel in Murum Dam where the Penans have been relentlessly mounting blockades to demand that the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad respect their rights and demands, smells of provocation, according to local lawyer Baru Bian.

Bian, who is also Sarawak’s PKR chief, was concerned with reports that the police will be sending reinforcements to the Murum dam construction site. (more…)


September 8, 2012

Native revolts: Sarawak Land & Survey Dept blamed

Joseph Tawie

The state Land and Survey Department’s poor enforcement of the conditions listed in the PLs is the main reason why natives are suing the government.

Sarawak Land and Survey Department which issues provisional leases (PLs) over hundreds of thousand of hectares of native customary rights (NCR) land to oil palm companies is being blamed for the troubles and hardship suffered by native landowners.

A former district officer Edward Luak, said the department’s failure in enforcing the terms of PLs has made people angry.

Luak said that when the department issued the PLs there are three conditions attached to it. (more…)

July 28, 2012

Don’t be misled by Abang Johari’s announcement, warns Baru Bian

Sematong Express

The announcement by Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg on Monday that two longhouses will be issues with strata titles this year has aroused Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian’s curiosity since he has had a long standing interest in matters concerning NCR land and the issuance of titles for such land.

“Much as I welcome any move to secure the interests of the NCR landowners, there are some questions about this latest development that need to be answered so that all parties are clear on the purpose and the actual benefits and practicality of this exercise,” Baru, the State Assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, said in a statement today. (more…)

May 23, 2012

Stand Up For Your Rights – A Win For Sebangan!

Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report visited the people of Sebangan back in 2010. They said “No” to Taib and they won!

Today the Iban communities of Sebangan are celebrating yet another victory against Taib and the BN government of Sarawak.

These people own the rights to one of the last remaining areas of un-destroyed rainforest in the region north of Kuching.

However, Taib’s greedy sister Raziah could not bear to think of those trees still left standing, when she could add to the hundreds of millions that she has already squeezed from Sarawak by cutting them down. (more…)

May 11, 2012

Court rulings strengthen native rights on NCR

Joseph Tawie

Recent court rulings favouring natives in NCR land issues should be seen as a warning to potential investors.

The recent court victories of native customary rights (NCR) landowners against oil palm companies should serve as important lessons and precedents to would-be investors.

NCR lawyer See Chee How said oil palm companies can no longer bully landowners simply because the state government refuses to respect the people’s rights. (more…)

April 22, 2012

‘Give us back our land or else …’

Joseph Tawie

Angry Ibans shocked at having ‘lost’ their land to a nearby Malay community following a government’s perimetre survey exercise are demanding their NCR rights.

Some 145 angry Iban families from Kampung Nangka and Kampung Entingan in Kota Samarahan – the parliamentary constituency of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s son Sulaiman Rahman – are demanding the return of 599 acres of native customary right (NCR) land.

They warned that if their demands are ignored then the villagers will hold demonstrations against the government. (more…)

April 5, 2012

Dismissal of headman TR Eri quashed by Court

HU Editor

TR Eri ak Ajok is the Tuai Rumah of Kampung Emplas situated at Simunjan, Sarawak and taking care of a longhouse consisting of about 35 pintus. Encik Eri Ak Ajok was chosen by the villagers of Kampung Emplas as the Tuai Rumah since 1961 after he succeeded from his father, TR Ajok ak Mambu and was officially appointed by the Resident of the First Division on the 14.04.1982.

On 30.06.2011, TR Eri was given two letters written by the District Officer of Simunjan and the Director of Human Resource Management Division of the Chief Minister’s Department by a resident from his longhouse, Berandah anak Leben informing the Plaintiff that he was terminated as a Tuai Rumah since 01.04.2011. The Plaintiff was not given any reason whatsoever as to his termination of service as Tuai Rumah despite the Tuai Rumah still having the support of 20 pintus that he is to continue as the Tuai Rumah. (more…)

March 26, 2012

Villagers shocked at ‘sudden’ loss of NCR rights

Joseph Tawie

Bruno Manser Fund accuses SEB CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit of ‘deliberately misleading’ the public with regards to the construction of the 12 dams in the state.

The natives of Baram, affected by the construction of the Baram dam, are claiming that they were not aware of the extinguishment of their native customary rights (NCR) over their land.

Accusing the government of surreptitiously implementing its contentious plans to build the dam, they said that they were unaware that the government had begun extinguishing such rights since last June. (more…)

March 23, 2012

Roads To Riches – Richard Riot MP

Sarawak Report

The roads never get built in Riot’s constituency – even though his own company was awarded the money!

We can demonstrate that Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, the BN/SUPP MP for Serian Richard Riot, has also been involved in the disgusting practice of profiting out of projects meant for his own constituency.

In this case a RM9.3million ringgit road building project has been awarded to a company he controls through his son, Akjaemura Jaya Sdn Bhd. (more…)

March 16, 2012

Simunjan flare-up: Five held, excavators torched

Keruah Usit

In another heated dispute over Native Customary Land Rights in Sarawak, police have arrested five Iban villagers in Simunjan for allegedly setting fire to 13 excavators of an oil palm company.

The company is a joint venture between two government heavyweights: federal investment arm Tabung Haji, and a statutory body, the Land Consolidation and Development Authority (LCDA).

According to Nicholas Mujah (left), secretary-general of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), an NGO defending native land rights, six Iban men had initially been arrested on March 13. (more…)

February 12, 2012

Political dynamite for greedy BN in Sarawak over native rights, land

K Suresh

If we go by the statement “out of the blue” from the Sabah Attorney General’s Chamber on Friday and various other statements since then on Sarawak, it seems that in reality there are no Natives in Sabah after 1930 and none in Sarawak after 1958, but only on paper and meaningless for any purpose whatsoever.

This is political dynamite from the ruling Barisan Nasional in an election year!

In short, after allowing for other private land properly registered and titled, all land in the two states – after 1930 and 1958 respectively – is state land. This is equivalent to William the Conqueror claiming all land in England as Crown (his) land after he vanquished King Harold 11, the last English King, at the Battle of Hastings on 14 Oct 1066. (more…)

February 11, 2012

What’s govt stand on NCR land?

Joseph Tawie

The Sarawak administration which is projecting itself to be a caring government must first state its stand on the definition of NCR.

The opposition here wants Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to openly declare that the state accepts and recognises the court’s definition of native customary rights (NCR) land.

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said that regular coverage in the press of Barisan Nasional politicians rejoicing with landowners at “presentation ceremonies” gave the impression that the state government recognised the “pemakai menua” (communal forests) and “pulau galau” (territorial domain) forests as part and parcel of NCR land as defined by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. (more…)

February 5, 2012

‘King’ Taib still spouting empty promises

Joseph Tawie

What wealth can Taib Mahmud promise Sarawakians when the state has already been ripped off?

When Abdul Taib Mahmud became Chief Minister on March 26, 1981, he promised he would turn Sarawak into the “richest state” in the Federation of Malaysia.

Sarawak then had plenty of resources – oil and gas, timber and land.

But today, 31 years later, Sarawak under Taib has become the third poorest state in Malaysia.

And the question here now is: where have the state’s resources gone and to whom?

At a Chinese New Year dinner to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the Federation of Kuching and Samarahan divisions’ Chinese Associations on Thursday, Taib again proclaimed that by 2030, Sarawak would become the “richest state” in Malaysia. (more…)

February 4, 2012

Hii Family Connection to Asia Plywood And Taib Family

Sarawak Report

Happy to sign the plaque for the Kingwood Hotel – after all I have a major shareholding!

Industry insiders have revealed that the main suppliers of timber to the cheating Asia Plywood Company, are the well-known Sarawak tycoons, the Miri-based Hii family.

Asia Plywood, which rents the major saw mill ‘Tegas Kesuma’, based in Tanjung Manis, is Malaysia’s largest plywood company.

Earlier this week it was caught out deceiving regulators and customers in the UK and elsewhere by pretending that hardwood chopped out of Sarawak’s dwindling forests was sustainable pinewood. [see our investigation]


22 BN longhouse residents in a fix over land grabs

Joseph Tawie

Hardcore BN supporters in 22 longhouses in Sarawak are in a dilemma after their NCR lands were re-assigned to private logging and oil palm companies without their knowledge.

The state Barisan Nasional government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud does not care whether native customary rights (NCR) lands belong to its hardcore supporters or not when it comes to issuing provisional leases on NCR land to Taib’s cronies.

As far as the government is concerned, anyone’s land is good for the planting of oil palm or for logging of timber.

A police report made by the residents of 22 longhouses in the Ensebang-Melikin area, who are hardcore BN supporters, is a case in point. (more…)

February 2, 2012

Why Pakatan must defend native land rights

Keruah Usit

PAS is the lynchpin of the Pakatan Rakyat. There can be no hope of a change in government over the next few years without a resounding PAS success in the national election.

PAS has made considerable strides towards this goal of sharing federal government responsibilities with PKR and DAP.

Pakatan, despite its myriad internal contradictions, has grown to offer a clear alternative to the BN and Umno.

Last year, PAS elected an unprecedented number of leaders well-versed in pluralism. The party embraced the vision of a welfare state, without giving up the religious basis for its existence.

This has, naturally, led to conflict in the party, but as Canadian poet Leonard Cohen put it: there is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in. (more…)

February 1, 2012

Land tribunal ‘judges’ must know ‘native adat’

Joseph Tawie

A prominent Sarawak NCR lawyer believes that a land tribunal would only be effective if it is bestowed with ‘power’.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum’s proposal for the authorities to set up a land tribunal in Sabah to hear native land-related cases must ensure that the body is bestowed with full “powers”, a prominent native customary rights (NCR) lawyer here said.

Baru Bian, who is also state PKR chairman, while lauding Malanjum’s suggestion, said the more important factor in setting up such a tribunal is its composition and authority.

“This is very encouraging news which is line with our earlier proposal. Now the most important thing is the composition and power of the tribunal. (more…)

January 26, 2012

Court victories herald change in Sarawak

Keruah Usit

Sarawak natives have jammed another wrench into the land acquisition machine of plantation companies with close ties to Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib is the state minister responsible for land, and is under investigation by several foreign governments, as well as (ostensibly) by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, for alleged graft.

Tua Kampung Nyipa Anak Tingang, representing his longhouse of 30 doors in Sebauh, 25km from Bintulu, has notched up another significant victory against state-sponsored plantation tycoons, in the campaign for native customary rights (NCR) land.

On Jan 20, Nyipa won a court injunction against Pusaka KTS, a forest plantation giant with vast interests in Bintulu, Belaga and Baram. (more…)

January 25, 2012

NCR landowners warn govt: Withdraw leases or else…

Joseph Tawie

Angry Iban landowners from Balai Ringin are demanding that Land and Survey Department director Sazali Kipli withdraw the provisional leases (PLs) on native customary rights (NCR) land.

The PLs on these lands have been awarded to a number of private companies.

Some 50 landowners expressed their dissatisfaction to Sazali recently and demanded that the government withdrwa the PLs or face the consequences.

“We are giving the department 30 days starting from Jan 17 to withdraw the PLs, failing which we will come again to express our displeasure.

“The next time we will come in a bigger group,” said Augustine Bagat, the group’s spokesman. (more…)

December 5, 2011

Taib family’s illicit billions disclosed!

EXCLUSIVE: Taib family's illicit billions disclosed!

“Billions of illicit assets”: Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Godfather of Sarawak

Research by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has uncovered the vast dimensions of the Malaysian Taib family’s illicit assets. According to the Swiss organization, the inner family circle of Malaysian potentate Abul Taib Mahmud has a stake in over 400 companies around the globe and holds illicit assets worth several billion US dollars.

Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”) has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Planning and Resources Management Minister of Malaysia’s largest state, Sarawak, since 1981. He has been long criticized for corrupt practices and abuse of office but Malaysian authorities have failed to take action against him, despite an ongoing investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Taib is a key supporter of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. (more…)

November 23, 2011

If well-behaved women don’t make good news, what about Malaysia’s Rosmah?

Filed under: Native Customary Rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , ,

If well-behaved women don't make good news, what about Malaysia's Rosmah?

Nawawi Mohamad

Famous women like Queen Elizabeth of England, Margaret Thatcher, Aung San Suu Kyi and Hillary Clinton, do frequently make the news but so do many scandalous women like Marie Antoinette, Marilyn Monroe, Lizzie Borden, Elena Ceausescu, Imelda Marcos and Winnie Mandela, to name a few.

Very often, it is the infamous ones who create a greater ripple effect in the international news media, with the impact trickling down onto the local scene and even shaping a nation’s history.

Malaysia has its own version of a woman tainted with scandals all of her own making, because she tried to be much more important than her standing deserved, and because she sought to be over-influential and showed off too much and too often.

Some say this Malaysian woman is most akin to Imelda of Philippines, who had 3,000 pair of shoes. (more…)

November 22, 2011

RM3.47mil insufficient to solve Sarawak poverty

Joseph Tawie

An opposition assemblyman has called on the Sarawak government to allow NCR landowners to register a business.

The estimated RM3.47 million allocated by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional government – under the state’s 2012 budget – to resolve the issue of hardcore rural poverty in the state is simply not enough, said Krian assemblyman Ali Biju.

Describing the majority rural Dayaks as living from ‘hand-to-mouth’, Biju said: “The allocation of RM3,466,717 in the state 2012 budget for rural development is grossly insufficient as the majority of the hardcore from the Iban and Bidayuh communities are still living from hand to mouth.

“Dr Jeniri Amir (a senior lecturer with University Malaysia Sabah) observed that if one pays a visit to any rural Iban longhouse, one can see their sad living conditions of dilapidated walls, roof and flooring. (more…)

October 25, 2011

Police dismantle Penan logging road blockade


Last Saturday, 22 October, at 10.00am, eight Malaysian police officers, two forest department officials and three Interhill staff jointly dismantled the Penan blockade in Sarawak’s middle Baram region, reports the BMF Team.

13 October 2011: A four-wheel drive stopped by the Penan at Ba Bunau, Middle Baram (Photograph: BMF)

After the dismantlement, Interhill logging company passed the blockade site with heavy machines.

Despite the dismantlement of the blockade, the Penan are maintaining their demands to the Sarawak government and to Interhill logging. Penan spokesperson Lakei Jaau said the Penan have the following five demands: (more…)

The Netherlands bans Malaysian logs

FMT Staff

The Netherlands’ Independent Appeals Board has ruled in favour of global NGO Greenpeace which alleged that Malaysia did not practise sustainable forest management.

The Netherlands has banned Malaysian logs because Malaysia does not practise sustainable forest managements.

The Netherlands’ Independent Appeals Board in Amsterdam recently ruled that Malaysia’s regulations governing forestation were well below world standards.

Ruling in favour of international NGO Greenpeace, the board concurred with Greenpeace’s complaint that Malaysia’s wood certification scheme fell below the acceptable world standards and was not a badge of good practice. (more…)

October 17, 2011


.Sarawak Report

The Penan are the iconic people of the Sarawak jungle.  Most communities had settled into villages and rural life of one form or another over the last hundred years, but the Penan steadfastly stuck to their nomadic ways.

With just a few possessions, easily carried on their backs, they have had nothing to lose but the jungle they live from.  Which is why they are the community that has fought hardest and longest to prevent its destruction by greedy and relentless logging.

However, we would be unwise to dismiss them as simple or backward people.  One should reserve that judgement for those narrow-minded, unimaginative IQs who can think only of the ringgit and jewels and houses they can buy from cutting it down. (more…)

October 14, 2011

EU timber regulations: Stubborn Sarawak won’t budge

FMT Staff

Sarawak is not prepared to kow-tow to timber import regulations set out by the European Union.

Sarawak is stubbornly refusing to comply with the international timber certification and trade regulations simply because the state “already has its own set of timber industry policies”.

State Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said: “The international sanctions focus on the question of legality of the timber certification, native customary rights (NCR) and human rights activities.

“These issues are irrelevant as they are well taken care of all this while by the government,” he said in reference to the US and European Union’s (EU) timber certification and trade regulations. (more…)

October 11, 2011

Sarawak tycoon’s firm hired PNG cops to bash up locals, ABC reports

Debra Chong

Papua New Guinea (PNG) police admitted they were paid by a company owned by Sarawak tycoon Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King to crack down on locals protesting against a controversial oil palm project there, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported today.

The state-owned media channel’s “The World Today” programme reported that villagers in PNG’s East New Britain province were arrested and beaten last week by a squad of police officers under orders from Rimbunan Hijau (RH).

RH is Tiong’s multi-industry company with the biggest logging and oil palm plantation shares in the South Pacific country. The 76-year-old is said to be worth US$1.1 billion (RM3.5 billion) and is ranked by Forbes to be the world’s 840th richest man. (more…)

October 6, 2011


.Sarawak Report

Dr Linda Selvey, Chief Executive Officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, has written to her Prime Minister to demand an investigation into Taib’s assets in Australia

The Australian branch of the highly influential international environment organisation Greenpeace has stepped in to support the campaign to investigate Taib’s assets abroad.

The Chief Executive Officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Dr Linda Selvey, has personally written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, backing requests by the Bruno Manser Foundation, PKR and Sarawak Report for an investigation into the Taib family’s string of investments in that country.

These include investments by Hamed Sepawi’s Ta Ann in a major logging concern in Tasmania, as well as numerous companies and properties owned by the Taibs, Taib’s brother in law, Robert Geneid, and related companies and assets. (more…)

Press Statement from residents of Kampung Wawasan

Borneo Independent News Service

We, the residents of Kampung Wawasan, Suai, Niah, Miri Division, Sarawak wish to appeal to the Sarawak State Government to urgently take the necessary action to exclude all the land which we have occupied and cultivated from the provisional lease issued to the company, Mega Jutamas Sdn. Bhd., over the area known as Lot 95 Sawai Land District for the establishment of an oil palm plantation thereon.

The said company, Mega Jutamas Sdn. Bhd. is owned by a few shareholders who are already “multi-millionaires” and who also owned other companies which have already been given thousands of hectares of State land by the Sarawak Government for loggings and oil palm plantations in various places in Sarawak including in Niah and Suai areas. For these few individual “multi-millionaires” they only need the land in Lot 95 to make additional business and profits.

But for us, this land is our only land on which we and our family members have built our houses and which we have cultivated productively with food and cash crops. Therefore, this land is our only shelter, source of food and income. (more…)

September 30, 2011

Australia’s Kevin Rudd alerts Attorney General over Taib family activities


Dear friends,Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to briefly update you on the latest developments on the Bruno Manser Fund’s international Stop Timber Corrupting campaign:

– Australia’s Foreign Minister and former Primer Minister, Kevin Rudd, has replied to a joint letter by the Bruno Manser Fund, Sarawak Report and PKR Sarawak Leader Baru Bian on suspected unlawful activities of the Taib family in Australia. Please find scans of the letter attached.

– Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has identified 25 Australian companies with links to the family of Malaysian potentate Abdul Taib Mahmud. Please find the exclusive list attached. (more…)

September 28, 2011

The Written Judgement of Gayan Tupai Vs Vita Hill S/B

Today, we received the written judgement handed down by the High Court in Sabah andSarawak,

Another clear proof that the land grab by the present State Government of Native Customary Land (NCL) in Sarawakis on the rise.

1.       The Plaintiffs who are all Iban natives of Sarawak, headed by their longhouse Chief or Tuai Rumah Gayan anak Tupai, and 3 others brought a legal action on their own behalf, as well as on behalf of 15 other residents who claimed to be proprietors, occupiers, and claimants of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land situated at their longhouse known as Rumah Gayan, Dassey, Budu, Krian, Saratok, Sarawak, against 3 Defendants a timber licensee Vita Hill Sdn Bhd and the issuing authority, the Director of Forests, Sarawak and the State Government of Sarawak. (more…)

September 23, 2011


Press Statement from Baru Bian


SUIT NO: 21-4-2009 (SIBU)

Today, another judgment handed down by the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak at Sibu, is another clear proof that the land grab by the present State Government of Native Customary Land (NCL) in Sarawak is on the rise.


1.       The Plaintiffs who are all Iban natives of Sarawak, headed by their longhouse Chief or Tuai Rumah Gayan anak Tupai, and 3 others brought a legal action on their own behalf, as well as on behalf of 15 other residents who claimed to be proprietors, occupiers, and claimants of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land approximately 3,308.15 acres, (“the said NCR Land”) situated at their longhouse known as Rumah Gayan, Dassey, Budu, Krian, Saratok, Sarawak, against 3 Defendants a timber licensee Vita Hill Sdn Bhd and the issuing authority, the Director of Forests, Sarawak and the State Government of Sarawak. (more…)

Another NCR case won. This time nearer to home. Tr Gayan from saratok.

Tuai Rumah Gayan anak Tupai,Lanyau anak Iching, Tangkun anak Gawar anak Nyelipie anakMunan have come forward to represent the community of Rumah Gayan, Dassey, Budu, Krian,Saratok,Sarawak,Malaysia to sue the State Government of Sarawak and Vita Hill Sdn. Bhd.

The said representatives have engaged a well established Land right lawyer Baru Bian  to bring the matters to court.

The State government issued a licence No:T/3456 to Vita Hill Sdn. Bhd. (a RM2 company) to log Sungai Kerian/Sungai Budu area which covers Rh. Gayan community’s native customary right land.

Members of the community had lodges Police Reports against the trespassers. The community leader had written petitions of protests to the state authorities. (more…)

September 17, 2011

Tireless torchbearer for Iban rights

Stephanie Sta Maria

In Sarawak where much is taken for granted, Ibi Uding is fighting for her people to one day enjoy clean water, electricity and land ownership.

Ibi anak Uding has taken to wearing white these days. She says it’s the only way to control her fiery temperament which is constantly stoked by the plight of her native Iban community.

To outsiders, Ibi is known as PKR Sarawak’s Wanita chief.

But among her own she is saluted as the Iban torchbearer in her relentless fight for their rights.

And that fight has been a formidable one. (more…)

September 10, 2011

Constitutional question: Judges let down public

federal court dismisses bat bagi over bakun land 080911 baru bian leading prayers

Hafiz Yatim

A law professor said Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum, could have abdicated their oath of office by their refusal to interpret the question of law posed to them.

The question posed before the court was “whether section 5(3) and (4) of the Sarawak Land Code relating to the extinguishment of native customary rights are ultra vires Article 5 (Right to life) and Article 13 (right to property) of the Federal Constitution.”

Islamic International University professor Abdul Aziz Bari said by refusing to deal with the constitutionality issue, the Federal court has abdicated its duty.

“Under the Federal Constitution, the Federal Court which is the highest court of the land is essentially the constitutional court of the country; the main tribunal whose major duty is to take care of the constitution,” he said. (more…)

September 9, 2011

Sarawak natives lose landmark NRC land case (Full Judgment of the Federal Court)

The Federal Court has dismissed a crucial appeal by five native customary rights landowner, a decision which will adversely affect more than 100 similar cases.

The three-member panel of judges led by outgoing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi made a unanimous decision to dismiss the case, brought by Bato Bagi and five others.

Bato, along with five others, are suing the state government over the loss of their land due to the Bakun dam project. .

The decision by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, both of whom refused to answer the question, was to let other pending cases deal with the issue.

The other Federal Court judge, Justice Md Raus Sharif, answered the question in the negative, and said the seizure was not unconstitutional. (more…)

Sarawak natives lose test case over mega-dam


The ruling by the Federal Court dealt the natives a blow to their hopes of getting fair compensation for lands seized for the Bakun dam.

 A 12-year legal battle by indigenous tribes in Malaysia against their ancestral land being seized to build a mega-dam on Borneo island ended in defeat today in the nation’s top court.

Indigenous people present at the court said they were devastated by the ruling, while activists said it could encourage the government to requisition more land on Malaysia’s part of Borneo and create “internal refugees”.

“It is an unfair decision. I have not been fully compensated,” said Ngajang Midin, 50, of the Ukit tribe, as tears rolled down his face. He has already moved to higher ground and the multi-billion-dollar dam has begun operations. (more…)

‘Billionaire’ son steps in to save Taib

Joseph Tawie

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has finally found a ‘most trustowrthy’ successor.

Alleged billionaire Mahmud Abu Bekir, who has decided to step into the political fray to safeguard his father Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s political and financial dynasty, must be prepared to fend off attacks by an opposition which is raring to have a go at him.

Abu Bekir, like his father, carries excessive baggage which is good fodder for the opposition.

Already Sarawak DAP is demanding that Abu Bekir make a full disclosure of his earnings from government contracts and land alienation before contesting in the coming general election. (more…)

September 8, 2011

Aging Bato: We will not give up

bakun ncr land case 080911 aging bato

Kow Gah Chie

Despite the disappointing outcome at the Federal Court, Sarawakian natives involved in the case vowed to pursue for proper compensation of their law native customary rights (NCR) land through more lawsuits.

Aging Bato, son of one of the five plaintiff Baleh Naha Jalei longhouse chief Bato Bagi, said his father had asked followers to pursue the matter until it was resolved.

Bato is a instrumental figure in the important suit – dubbed the Bagi Bato case – which will have a impact on more than 100 similar cases that are pending. Bato, 78, died of leukemia two months ago.

“My father wanted us to strive hard over this issue. He wanted justice for the villagers in the longhouse,” he said, describing his father’s last words.

Looking teary-eyed after the judgment was read out, Aging said that his father had took up the case ten years ago for the welfare of the 78 families in the longhouse.  (more…)

Judges refuse to rule on consitutionality of land grab

Hafiz Yatim

The Federal Court today refused to answer a question on whether the seizure of land by the Sarawak government for the Bakun dam was unconstitutional or not.

The decision by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi (below left) and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, both of whom refused to answer the question, was to let other pending cases deal with the issue.

The other Federal Court judge, Justice Md Raus Sharif, answered the question in the negative, and said the seizure was not unconstitutional.

However, all three judges unanimously decided to dispose of lawyer Baru Bian’s appeal following the land seizure in Bakun by the state government 14 years ago to build the multi-billion ringgit dam and a wood pulp mill. (more…)

Sarawak natives lose landmark NRC land case


The Federal Court has dismissed a crucial appeal by five native customary rights landowner, a decision which will adversely affect more than 100 similar cases.

The three-member panel of judges led by outgoing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi made a unanimous decision to dismiss the case, brought by Bato Bagi and five others.

Bato, along with five others, are suing the state government over the loss of their land due to the Bakun dam project. .


Federal Court to deliver landmark decision on NCR


The Federal Court is to deliver a key decision this afternoon on whether the seizure of native land owned by five longhouse residents to make way for the Bakun dam project 14 years ago is constitutional.

A lot is riding on this case – referred to as the Bato Bagi case – as it will set the precedent for other native customary rights land claims in Sarawak. There over 100 pending claims by natives in the state.

This will also be the last judgment delivered by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who will step down on Monday after reaching the retirement age of 66.

He leads a three-member panel that also consists of chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judge Md Raus Sharif. (more…)

Sarawak BN sacks longhouse chiefs

Joseph Tawie

The side-effects of the April 16 state polls which saw opposition make historic inroads in Sarawak are being felt in longhouses now.

Several elected tuai rumah (longhouse chiefs) have been dismissed and replaced by pro-Barisan Nasional ones following the recent April 16 state election.

The state polls saw the opposition win an unprecedented 15 seats lending credence to the widespread belief that the ruling regime is losing its support base.

The state BN government has also been accused of appointing its own longhouse chiefs despite the communities having their own elected tuai rumah. (more…)

September 7, 2011


Sarawak Report

Senator Bob Brown, Leader of Australia’s Green Party

The Leader of Australia’s Green Party, Senator Bob Brown from Tasmania, has issued a statement deploring the fact that the Taib family timber company Ta Ann has once again declared losses in the state.

Ta Ann is the world’s biggest hardwood timber company in terms of market capitalisation, achieving a revenue of over 800 million ringgit last year, a 25% increase on the year before.  The company has also declared a 25% profit margin in its latest Annual Report.

Yet, to the fury of environmentalists, the company managed to extract massive public subsidies to set up business inTasmania.  It is now extracting timber from the remaining wild forest areas, amid huge controversy. (more…)

September 6, 2011

NCR demarcations: BN Govt cheating natives

Joseph Tawie

A declaration of native communal reserve by the Land and Survey Department is not a ‘confirmation and statutory recognition’ of native ownership over NCR land.

Sarawak PKR leader has accused the Barisan Nasional government of trying to ‘hoodwink and mislead’ the indigenous communities over the declaration of the native communal reserve.

Party vice president Ali Biju said it was wrong to tell the natives that the demarcations of communal reserve land by the Land and Survey Department were a ‘confirmation and statutory recognition’ of native ownership over the NCR land.

He said the government was lying to maintain native’s electoral support of Barisan Nasional. (more…)

Baru Bian: Sarawak govt wrongly advised on NCR

Joseph Tawie

The Sarawak government has refused to abide by court rulings on NCR because it would mean that the ‘entire state would belong to natives’.

Is the Sarawak government being wrongly advised on the issue of native customary rights (NCR) over land?

The opposition here believes that the Attorney-General’s Chambers is not knowledgeable enough about the reach of the NCR issues and is ill-advising the state government.

Said Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian: “The advice given (to the state government) is that NCR land only covers temuda land, and it does not cover pulau galau (communal forest), pemakai menua (territorial domain), pendam (graves) and tembawai (old longhouse sites).

“But we have proved to them that they are wrong.

“The High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court have agreed with our interpretation and have ruled that the NCR land also covers pemakai menua, pulau galau, pendam and so on.” (more…)

August 31, 2011

Baram Dam: Lying govt and big companies

Joseph Tawie

Local village headmen are being told that the government has shelved the construction of the Baram Dam.

The deceitful and insidious manner by which the state government is going about with the construction of the Baram Dam has angered the Orang Ulu communities in the dam project vicinity.

Orang Ulu National Association Miri (OUNA) chairman Pete Kallang said: “As one of those affected I just can’t understand this injustice and this outrageous and abusive exploitation.

“Why, it could be seen as an act in complete disregard for our well-being and opinion.

“This could be proven by the priority given to the preparatory construction activities done even before the proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are completed or perhaps not even started and made accessible to affected and interested parties. (more…)

August 28, 2011

‘Exclude NCR land from provisional lease’

FMT Staff

Respect the rights of Sarawak’s indigenous communities, says NGO.

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and company have come under attack for issuing provisional leases (PL) to oil palm companies to continue destroying forests in the Baram region.

Environmental group, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), wants the state government to rescind the PLs and exclude all native community territories from these plantation licenses.

Said SAM president SM Mohamad Idris: “Taking into consideration all the complaints and hardship suffered by affected communities, as well as their legal rights to their land, we urge the Sarawak government to ensure that all indigenous community village territories are excluded from all plantation licences. (more…)

August 27, 2011

Baram Dam will drown rich heritage

Joseph Tawie

The Sarawak government appears to have little concern for environmental “heritage” in its pursuit of material gains.

The construction of Baram Dam will have devastating effects on the lives of Sarawak’s indigenous communities.

Some 20,000 Kayan, Kenyah and Penan will see their longhouses, villages, land and cultural heritage submerged once the dam is completed.

According to state PKR deputy chairman See Chee How, the “effects will be far worse” than the Bakun Dam construction which displaced about 10,000 natives. (more…)

August 26, 2011

Another court victory for the NCR landowners


Jubang Ak Punjab, Juslin Majang Anak Bada, Berjaya Anak Pundu and Mat Anak Taggon are farmers, simple Iban folks of Kampung Sual, Simunjan. They are no big names or personalities like Jacob Sagan or Dennis Ngau, the BN YBs. Of course they are different! Jubang and his gangs fought and won the court battle after..

29 pages full judgment in Pdf


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