"Mangkang Menua,Mangkang Dunya,Ngetan Ke Bansa!!"

August 26, 2011

Insidious Plantation Activities in Tanjung Upar Destroy Iban Communities’ Livelihood and Sustenance


SAHABAT ALAM MALAYSIA PRESS STATEMENT

26 August 2011

SAM would like to express our shock over the progress of plantation activities that are being carried out at a fast pace in Tanjung Upar, Baram Sarawak, which are affecting a group of landowners without their consent. The company involved obtained a Provisional Lease (PL) over Lot No. 1210 of the Puyut Land District several years ago but it has yet to issue official notice to the community regarding their intention to plant oil palm.

This PL was issued by the Sarawak State Government along with those on Lot 197, Lot 1207 and Lot 1200 within the Puyut Land District, measuring about 21,913 ha and affecting three communities including Rumah Chabop and Melayu Narum. These PLs will soon consume the native land that has been timelessly worked by the people to sustain their livelihood and to ensure their daily sustenance – a way of living that has been in existence since Rajah Brooke days and beyond.

Despite having substantial proof of native customary rights on the land, development companies have already taken over the communities’ communal forests and farmlands. The Iban community of Rumah Vincent in Tanjung Upar is reportedly being pressured to stay away from their own farmlands that have been insidiously encroached into by an oil palm company beginning July.

The community, made up of 292 persons, has lost most of their fruit trees and cash crops on their farmland despite pleading the company to stay away from them. They fear that the perpetuity of this project will eventually wipe out their last remaining farmlands and their ancestral graves that are situated near Loagan Tujuh. Already another company has destroyed their communal forest and covered the land with straight rows of oil palm with no compensation being paid to them.

Due to the merciless intensity of the oil palm development in Tanjung Upar, the community staged a protest across the plantation road on Aug 7, 2011. They held up banners that read `Tanah adalah jiwa dan sumber kepenghidupan kami. Harta musnah, pampasan tiada’ (Land is our life and source of livelihood. Our property’s destroyed without compensation). SAM is alarmed that the company’s unfettered actions have resulted in the community being cut-off from food resources and in the loss of their livelihood obtained from lakes that are now heavily silted and contaminated with chemical spray run-off from the plantations.

Time and again, calls have been made to respect the rights of the natives and for the State Government to improve the transparency in land and forestry governance. Therefore, we urge the Sarawak state government to investigate the complaints that have been lodged by the community and to respect the rights of its indigenous communities. We also call upon the Sarawak Land and Survey Department to implement the free, prior and informed consent process in all their decision-making.

Taking all the complaints and hardship suffered by affected communities into consideration, as well as their legal rights to their land, we urge the Sarawak State Government to ensure that all indigenous community village territories are excluded from all plantation licences and any development on such land should only proceed with their free, prior and informed consent.

S.M.Mohamed Idris President of SAM

March 1, 2011

BRIMAS & TAHABAS willing to assist Baru Bian in providing evidence in debate with CM


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MIRI – The Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (BRIMAS) an indigenous peoples and environmental NGO in Miri together with the Sarawak Native Customary Land Rights Network (TAHABAS) has welcome the recent announcement from the Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud that he is willing to take the challenge to debate with State PKR Chief, Baru Bian on the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issues.

We in BRIMAS together with TAHABAS are willing to provide the evidence and proof to assist Baru and to back our claims that the current State Government is taking away NCR lands from the indigenous peoples in Sarawak.

We ask Baru to name the date and venue of the debate and also to urge the government to air the debate publicly in radio and television.

May we remind the Chief Minister that the debate is not about the State Government seizing title lands but about the State Government seizing NCR lands, which of course are untitled lands.

We welcome this debate as an important event to educate the people (rakyat) on the NCR issues which are currently affecting the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. We hope that the rakyat can judge for themselves whether the NCR issue is a current and relevant issue or it is an out-dated and a non-issue.

Signed by:

Mark Bujang

Executive Director, BRIMAS

Ramould Siew

President, TAHABAS

February 22, 2011

Gangsters hired by BLD brought along machetes and explosives to threaten longhouse folks


PRESS RELEASE

Gangsters hired by BLD brought along machetes and explosives to threaten longhouse folks

 ULU NIAH – Gangsters that were hired by BLD Resources, an oil palm company currently in dispute with the native landowners of Rumah Ranggong and Rumah Belilie, last Friday went to the outskirts of the native customary land boundary of Rumah Ranggong armed with machetes and explosives in an attempt to threaten and intimidate the longhouse residents.

We have just received pictures (see attached) from the residents of Rumah Ranggong on the incident and also pictures of the machetes and explosives brought by the gangsters.

Gang Leader being arrested by what about the others?

Our own Ibans Gangsters reported being paid for merely RM100 as “Security Personnel ?

He thought that he can mess arround with the Ibans of Ulu Niah?

The Gangsters were on Camping trip at the Oil Palm Estate?

Scurity Personnel?

For Self Defence?

Used explosives

Explosives?

Released by:
Mark Bujang
Executive Director,BRIMAS

 
BORNEO RESOURCES INSTITUTE MALAYSIA
Lot 1046, 2nd Flr. Shang Garden Com. Centre
Jalan Bulan Sabit ,98000 Miri, Sarawak
MALAYSIA
 
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1065 ,98008 Miri,Sarawak.
Tel: 085 423044
Fax: 085 438580
Email: markbujang@gmail.com

February 9, 2011

Oil palm company fails to get natives evicted through court, status quo of natives maintained


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 8 February 2011

Oil palm company fails to get natives evicted through court, status quo of natives maintained

MIRI – The Miri High Court on 28 January 2011 ruled that the oil palm company, Butrasemari Sdn. Bhd. do not have exclusive rights to the land known as Lot 97 Sawai Land District, located at Suai, Miri Division, therefore they do not have the right to evict the natives even though the company argued that it was issued with a Provisional Lease (PL).

At the same time, the Iban natives of Rumah Pee Millo also cannot claim all the land within the same area as their native customary rights (NCR) land as they had only settled there in the 70s. The status quo of the natives to settle in the said area is still maintained pending the decision from the State Government.

The High Court is in view that the said company cannot claim exclusive rights over Lot 97 Sawai Land District, just by virtue of having a PL because the issuance of the PL is subjected to the requirements in Section 28 of the Sarawak Land Code, whereby a survey has to be completed before the State Government can alienate the said land to the said company.

The High Court is also in view that the natives do not have NCR over the said land as they only moved into the Suai District in the 70s from Sarikei Division. The State Government has until today have yet to decide on their status in occupying the said area, even though they were encouraged to move by the Government at that time.

Tuai Rumah Pee Millo’s grandfather, Penghulu Andok Anak Mut was killed by communist terrorists in 1974 in Sarikei. Because of the communist hostilities going on in the Sarikei area at the time, Pee Millo’s father, Datu Anak Andok made a request to the Government to move to Suai.

On the same year, and with encouragement from the Resident of the Sarikei Division Datu and his followers moved and settled at Sungai Sebalayau, Suai.

In 2005, Butrasemari was issued with a PL for Lot 97 Sawai Land District and the land dispute started.In 2008, the residents of Rumah Pee Millo was ordered by the court to vacate the land as the said company got an interlocutory injunction which not only prohibits but also requires the residents of Rumah Pee Millo to vacate the said land.

This prompted the residents of Rumah Pee Millo to stage a sit in at the Miri Residents Office as they have no other place to go.

After hearing the complaints and concerns of the natives, the Miri Division Resident together with the District Officer and the Officer in-charge of the Police District advised the natives to return to their longhouse and assured them that they still can remain and farm in the said land until a decision can be made by the higher authorities in Kuching regarding their status.

However, until today the residents of Rumah Pee Millo are still waiting for the decision from Kuching and the land dispute between the said company and the natives will continue.

Harrison Ngau Laing, the counsel representing Tuai Rumah Pee Millo and Lim Khim Boon, First and Second Defendant respectively said, “Our State Government has failed in their fiduciary duty to safeguard the interests of its own people.”

According to Harrison, Butrasemari is a subsidiary of Ta Ann, which is one of the top five biggest companies in Sarawak dealing in timber and plantation activities.

Ta Ann’s Executive Chairman is Datuk Abdul Hamed Sepawi, a billionaire who is also a cousin to the Chief Minister and also Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) Treasurer General.

“Why can’t Ta Ann, which has already owns thousand of hectares of land throughout Sarawak spare some land for the poor natives to make a living?”, asked Harrison.

He added further, “The State Government has got their priorities wrong, whereby they are enriching the rich and making the poor even poorer.”

When met outside the court, Pee Millo complaint that the government is not practicing what they are preaching.“Our Prime Minister is always trumpeting the 1Malaysia, Peoples First, Performance Now slogan, but this is not the case for us,” he said.“Our people are not first but placed last in the government’s priorities,” Pee Millo lamented.

Butrasemari as the First Plaintiff is suing Pee Millo and Lim Khim Boon for allegedly trespassing into Lot 97 Sawai Land District.Justice Dato’ Zulkifli bin Bakar delivered the ruling.

Press Release issued by:

Mark Bujang

Executive Director, BRIMAS

 
BORNEO RESOURCES INSTITUTE MALAYSIA
Lot 1046, 2nd Flr. Shang Garden Com. Centre
Jalan Bulan Sabit ,98000 Miri, Sarawak
MALAYSIA
 
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1065 ,98008 Miri,Sarawak.
Tel: 085 423044
Fax: 085 438580
Email: markbujang@gmail.com 

February 7, 2011

Native Rights Activist Lawyer turns up in court to answer sedition charge, but no show from police


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

7 February 2011

Native Rights Activist Lawyer turns up in court to answer sedition charge, but no show from police

MIRI – Native rights activist lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit this morning turn up at the Miri court complex backed by 120 indigenous representatives to answer the sedition charges level against him when he was arrested by the police at the Miri Airport on the 6th January 2011. However, after waiting more than an hour the police did not turn up.

Abun then inquired about his case to the court registry but the court officers told him that his name is not listed in the court registry for a hearing.

He then called the police investigating officer, but the investigating officer is away in Kuching and said that the case is still under investigation.

Met outside the court complex, Abun said that the police told him they made a mistake in issuing the police bail to him and ordering him to appear in court today.

Abun said he is not blaming the police for the mistake as they are only following orders.However he said, “We should question those who are in power that they should not abuse their authority in order to intimidate the people who are just asserting their rights and exposing the truth about their problems.”

He thank his supporters for coming out to give him support, and he hopes that they will be continuous support to other communities currently battling their land dispute cases in courts throughout Sarawak.

Abun was arrested at Miri Airport on the evening of 6th January after disembarking from the flight from Kuching. The police seized a few copies of compact discs (CDs) from him and he was detained and question for a few hours until finally released at 3 am the next morning.

The CDs were that of Radio Free Sarawak broadcasts, video clips of testimonies from several indigenous community members and other political materials.

Released by:
Mark Bujang
Executive Director, BRIMAS

BORNEO RESOURCES INSTITUTE MALAYSIA  
Lot 1046, 2nd Flr. Shang Garden Com. Centre
Jalan Bulan Sabit ,98000 Miri, Sarawak
MALAYSIA
 
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1065 ,98008 Miri,Sarawak.
Tel: 085 423044
Fax: 085 438580
Email: markbujang@gmail.com

The Kayan community of Long Bemang submit memorandum to PM


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

 7 February 2011  

 The Kayan community of Long Bemang submit memorandum to PM  

MIRI – The Kayan community of Long Bemang together with their Chief yesterday submitted a memorandum to YAB Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia demanding that the government look into their issues and problems, especially regarding their native customary rights (NCR) to land.  Security was tight, when Najib visited Miri in conjunction with the National Level Chinese New year Open House held at the Miri City Fan last night therefore the community only managed to pass their memorandum to Najib’s personal aides.

In the memorandum, the community of Long Bemang said that they have settled in the Sungai Apoh area in the Baram District since the forties and with the encouragement of the then colonial government established their communal boundary with the other Kayan and Penan communities in the area.

The government has also supported them throughout the years until today by providing them with a primary school, rural health clinic, gravity pipe water supply, electric generators, the village road and agricultural subsidies for paddy, rubber, pepper and fruit trees. The government also provided the village with grants to maintain their longhouse.

Not only that, the government has also appointed the Chief for the Apoh region from the village as well as the headman and supporting the village development and security committee (JKKK). In the memorandum the community mentioned that their customary land is their blood and life which they had inherited according to their customary practices from their ancestors.

However, in the memorandum it states that the community have found out that their customary land has been licensed out to Pusaka KTS Forest Plantations Sdn. Bhd. (PKTS) in 1989 by the Sarawak Minister of Resource Planning and Management and the Director of the Sarawak Forestry Department for the establishment of an industrial tree plantation.A large part of their customary land which consists of mostly farmland is affected by the licence and the community are concern that this will affect their livelihood. After listing down their concerns, the community in their memorandum demanded that all their NCR land be excluded from PKTS licensed areas.

They demanded that the government should survey and gazette their communal boundary and any survey and demarcation works has to be done with full participation from the communities.  The government and its agencies and the private companies should, in their process of consultation uphold the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) before implementing any development projects within the community’s NCR territory also in accordance with the principles in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

In the memorandum, the community also stated that Petronas’ Sarawak-Sabah Gas Pipeline Project (SSGP) has cut across their NCR territory. However, the community does not object to this project but they demanded that Petronas will be responsible for the welfare of the communities affected by the project according to company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles.

The memorandum is signed by Penghulu Ajang Jok as the Chief of Apoh area, a representative of TK Deng Anyie, the headman for Long Bemang and Ngau Jok as the chairman of the village committee.

Press release issued by:

Mark Bujang Executive Director, BRIMAS 

BORNEO RESOURCES INSTITUTE MALAYSIA
Lot 1046, 2nd Flr. Shang Garden Com. Centre
Jalan Bulan Sabit ,98000 Miri, Sarawak
MALAYSIA
 
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1065 ,98008 Miri,Sarawak.
Tel: 085 423044
Fax: 085 438580
Email: markbujang@gmail.com 


See the copy of memorandum below

August 3, 2010

NGOs slam Sarawak SB for detaining native activist


 

Taken from Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Two non-governmental organisations have strongly condemned the detention of native customary rights lawyer and activist Harrison Ngau at the Kuching International Airport yesterday.

Ngau was interrogated by Special Branch and immigration officers and only allowed to leave after he told them that he had nothing to do with the London protests against Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud over the Penan issue.

The Borneo Resource Institute Malaysia (Brimas) condemned the latest attempt by the state authorities to restrict the movement of human rights and people activists.

“It looks like Land Development Minister James Masing’s pledge that the state government was willing to engage with NGOs is already beginning to sound hollow,” said Brimas executive secretary Mark Bujang.

“The state government is reverting to its old tactics of intimidation and restricting activists from travelling abroad.

“There are a few Sarawakian activists who are not allowed to travel outside the country, and a number of activists from West Malaysia and Sabah are not allowed to enter Sarawak,” he said.

“This is clearly a violation of our constitutional rights and also a breach of the United Nations declaration of indigenous people (Undrip)” he said.

Hidden agenda

The Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) meanwhile in an email to FMT condemned the “ill-intention of the authorities to hold the indigenous lawyer at the airport.”

“I know that Harrison is here to attend a dispute resolution under RSPO (roundtable sustainable palm oil) mechanism meeting.

“The dispute is over native land issue with IOI oil palm company which has an estate in Tinjar, Baram,” said Sadia secretary general Nicholas Mujah.

The lawyer, according to Mujah, was also to discuss with IOI lawyers about the company’s appeal against the high court decision that favoured the natives.

“But the biggest concern is why there is a need to harass Harrison. He is just a poor lawyer,” said Mujah, stressing that the authorities in the state need to be well-informed and trained about human rights laws, practices and application in this modern world.

Describing the present government system as obsolete, he said the arbitrary abuse of power in many cases had contradicted the principle of laws – state, national and international laws.

He said: “I feel there is an ulterior motive or a hidden agenda why they have to harass and intimidate him.
Ngau was previously noted for his anti-logging activities and leading blockades by the indigenous people against timber operations in the Baram area.

“Is it because Harrison is brave in defending the rights of the poor natives of Sarawak?” he asked.

Because of these activities he was put under house arrest for almost two years beginning from October 1987 and spent 60 days under the Internal Security Act.Part of this time he was placed in a solitary confinement and interrogated twice daily.

In 1987 his passport was impounded by the state authorities and was returned to him in 2003. However, his movement inside and outside the country continued to be monitored by the authorities.

 Also read:

Harrison Ngau held at airport

July 23, 2010

On the Bakong shooting court win:Borneo INS celebrates! – Opinion


 

Taken from Borneo Independent News Service

Sarawak – This opinion celebrates, of sorts, two occasions. The first is that as a facebook page, at some time early this week we reached 1000 fans. We at this purely adhoc and voluntary effort thank you for what really started as a pilot for citizen journalism in Sarawak, trying to focus on issues around indigenous peoples. Without your ‘liking’ we probably would have not tried to keep it going for this long.

The second is really a more meaningful celebration. On 20 July 2010 the Court of Miri ruled in favour of an Iban woman Ndukmit ak Egot, widow of Enyang ak Gendang who died thirteen years ago after being shot by police in the head during a confrontation between the police and the longhouse community in Bakong.

For those who are familiar with Sarawak’s long, almost unrecognized struggle between the oil palm companies and Dayak communities who have constitutionally protected rights to their lands and territories, the Bakong incident is a low point in history. There are those of you who may wonder what our FB profile photo is about. It is a photo taken during that incident where Enyang was killed. For those of us who support Borneo INS, Enyang’s death is an incident we will never forget and we would like to share this history with our readers as a reminder of how, without dialogue and respect for NCR of Dayak, how things can go so tragically wrong.

It started with the issue of a provisional lease to Empresa, an oil palm plantation company in which the native territories of the Iban community of Rumah Bangga were included. They only found out about it when two subcontractor companies, Segarakam and Prana started destroying their lands. The longhouse chief, Banggau ak Andop lodged police reports and wrote to government departments to no avail. After a month of inaction from the authorities, the villagers decided then to confiscate and remove the companies’ bulldozers to their land. They gave the keys to the police who, up to then, had continued to ignore the villagers. Unable to get their bulldozers back, the company called the police who immediately responded.

On December 18 1997, a lorry full of police arrived at the longhouse.

The Iban refused to return the machinery.

The next day, the Police Field Force returned in greater force, both in plain clothes and in uniform but without identification and armed with guns, M16 rifles and batons.

The villages thought that the police were there for a meeting to discuss compensation for the damage to their land by the companies. They gathered outside the longhouse to welcome the company and the police. A ‘miring’, a traditional welcome ceremony where offerings are made to the ancestors was held.

A case report on the incident writes ‘Photographs from the site site show the people smiling and joking with each other. Villagers held a banner that said ‘Land is our life’. The banner was to act as a line over which negotiations with the company and the police officers could take place.’

The police, however, were interested only in arresting Banggau, the headman. After asking who was the leader, Banggau replied that he was. The police then rushed forward to arrest him and all Iban present. The Iban tried to prevent the arrests. At the same time the Police Field Force officer gave the orders to the other PFF officers to charge and to open fire on the unarmed villagers.

Without any warning or warning shots, three Iban were shot. Enyang ak Gendang was shot by one Corporal Hussaini bin Sulong in the head. Several Iban were beaten up with batons or punched and kicked. Several Iban were arrested.

Five days later, on December 24th Enyang Ak Gendang died in hospital where a postmortem revealed a bullet lodged inside his head. Ndukmit, the widow, had to pay for the transport to bring her husband to the hospital.

Thirty Iban were arrested over the incident and the longhouse chief was arrested again in 1998, without immediate explanation. The coroner’s verdict was misadventure but the fact remained that the police had shot and killed villagers who were there to welcome the company and them to a dialogue.

Those who heard about this incident found it shocking. Internationally the death of Enyang Gendang made enough news that the Malaysian government had to account for itself to the UN Human Rights Council. The report said only that the police recommended that the company compensate the villagers for the land as they wanted originally, making no reference to who was accountable for the death. The police, at some point, also accused the Iban of being armed.

In 2000, his widow took action and filed a civil action against Corporal Hussaini, his superior and the Malaysian government. The case was heard in 2003 and there was a long silence. In 2010, it was announced that the case would finally go to trial. Yesterday, after thirteen years, justice was finally served. While there will be a cash compensation for Ndukmit, it surely cannot be enough for the years of suffering such injustice and denial by the authorities. For many, the case was strong evidence that the authorities were not neutral in conflicts between the oil palm companies and the people. In 2010, the court cases continue to pile up and the conflicts continue. It would seem that little has changed in terms of violations of our rights. But we must never forget Enyang Gendang and honor Ndukmit Egot, Banggau Andop and their longhouse for their strength and determination to protect their land and their heritage

After 13 years,an indigenous woman wins justice for her dead husband


 

Taken from Borneo Independent News Service’s

After 13 years, an indigenous woman wins justice for her dead husband
Court rules Malaysian police and government negligent in 1997 killing of Dayak farmer
20 July 2010
Victorious Dayak community after a 13 year wait for justice. Iban heroine Ndukmit ak Egot, stands in the middle, bottom row, fourth from left (wearing glasses). Her lawyer Harrison Ngau stands directly behind.

Miri, Sarawak — Iban woman Ndukmit ak Egot today found justice in Miri civil courts for her husband Enyang ak Gendang, who was killed by Police Field Force Personnel over a conflict between the indigenous Dayak villagers and the oil palm company. The court ruled that the police were negligent in firing the shot that hit and killed Enyang and that the Malaysian government was vicariously liable for the negligence of the police.

After thirteen years, this judgement is a victory for Ndukmit, her family and the villagers of Rumah Bangga in Bakong. On 19 December 1997, 50 Police Force personnel armed with batons, pistols and M16 rifles opened fire on Dayak Iban community.

Three Ibans were shot. Enyang Ak Gendang, 40, was shot in the head and died after five days in a coma. Eight villagers were injured. About 30 Ibans were arrested and detained.

The police were not held accountable and in 2008 an inquest was conduct. The coroner then found the police were not negligent, that the shooting was a misadventure and there was no further case for investigation.

When called to account for the death by no less than the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1999, the Malaysian government had this to say:

Regarding the case of Enyang Ak Gendang, the Government stated that following the incident in which the victim was killed, the police suggested that the Sarawak Land Custody Development Authority and the Empressa company arrange a dialogue with the Iban indigenous community with a view to compensating the Ibans as promised. The Government reported that since the incident Empressa and its subcontractors had ceased their operations.

A single paragraph on a life lost and a family abandoned. Enyang ak Gendang was the sole breadwinner in the family.

In 2000, the widow of Enyang, Ndukmit ak Egot filed a civil case against Corporal Hussaini bin Sulong, his superiors and the Government of Malaysia. Ten years later, the court decided to proceed with the trial.

Earlier in 2010, when it was learnt that the case would be brought to trial, Mark Bujang, Executive Director for Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS) said, “The widow wants justice to be done to her late husband. It has been more than 12 years yet, those who shot Enyang were never charged with any criminal offence. What is worse, the police tried to say that the Ibans were violent and started the fight where the police were force to use their firearms. While I don’t know why the case was delayed for so long and I was disappointed when twice the case was brought for inquest and twice the coroner gave an open verdict, I am very happy that Ndukmit will finally get her trial.”

And her supporters will be very glad that today justice, for so long delayed, has, at least, partly been served.

April 6, 2010

Another Suai,Niah tragedy in the making??

Filed under: NCR Land Issues — Pengayau @ 9:48 pm
Tags: ,

Mark Bujang, Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS) executive director

ULU BALINGIAN – Gangsters seems to be running the show on the current native customary land dispute between a logging company, Bitani Maju Sdn. Bhd. and the Iban communties of Sungai Tepus, Ulu Balingian.

A group of gangsters in 10 cars have been intimidating the natives ever since the natives have set up a blockade on the 12 March against the said logging company said Mark Bujang of Borneo Resources Institute.

A total of three police reports have been made against the company, but until today no action is taken against the company or the gangsters that are currently roaming the area.

The blockade has since been dismantled by the police however, the natives still continued with their protests.

The Iban communities of Sungai Tepus, Ulu Balingian are protesting against the illegal logging activities conducted by Bitani Maju Sdn. Bhd. in their native customary land territory.

“Surprisingly, it is the police that are guarding the company workers carrying out their illegal logging operations,” Mark Bujang said.

Last Saturday, two of the longhouse members from Rumah Osay were assaulted by a group of gangsters while they were on their way home from Selangau bazaar. One of them managed to flee but another was badly beaten up by the gangsters.

According to Banyau Ak Timbang, the person who managed to flee from the gangsters, “I was riding together with Oren Ak Linggang from Selangau bazaar and as we were about to approach our longhouse junction when a car approached us. I noticed Penghulu Thomas Jawa Ak Latu was in the car and the driver of the car forced us to stop.”

“The other occupants of the car came out and we do not recognise them at all. We got into a heated argument with them and then suddenly they started attacking us”, said Banyau.

Banyau said he managed to escape from his attackers but Oren was left behind.

According to Banggau Ak Panggai, Chaiman of their Joint Action Committee called Gerubat, “I told Oren to lodge a police report about the attack at the Balingian Police Station the next day. However, instead of taking down his report, the police arrested Oren.”

“The gangsters seems to be controlling the police and also our community leaders”, claimed Banggau.

“Our communities are leaving in fear at the moment as the police cannot guarantee our safety. We do not want any untoward incident to happen, so we appeal to the police to take action and stop the gangsters from harassing us any further,” said Banggau.

January 28, 2010

Sarawak civil society condemn settlement demolition


Taken from Sarawakupdate

Mark Bujang

We the concerned civil society organisations (CSOs) having met and deliberated in Sibu on 23 January 2010 on the recent news of the demolition of houses belonging to the residents of Rumah Nor Anak Nyawai, Sungai Sekabai, Sebauh, Sarawak on the 19 January 2010 express utter outrage and deep concern on the blatant disregard of the communities’ customary rights and their right to shelter.

The actions of Tatau Land Sendirian Berhad, a subsidiary of the ASSAR Group and their agents together with the authorities were uncalled for since the residents of Rumah Nor are still contesting the land dispute claim over the area.

The comment made by the Superintendent of Land and Survey Department, Bintulu laying the blame on the lawyer for not informing his clients on the eviction order was false. The fact was, the lawyer representing the residents has yet to receive any eviction order from the court.

There was also no notice given to the residents. The residents’ were only informed about the eviction order after the demolition was done. Furthermore, the residents have since appealed the decision and the case is still pending.

We demand that:

(more…)

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