Issued by: Baru Bian, PKR State Liaison Chief, Sarawak
Date: Monday, 28 February, 2011
On Saturday, 26th February, PKR Chief Baru Bian issued a challenge to the Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud for a public debate on the NCR issue which had been claimed by Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management and Minister of Public Utilities, as being “an old issue.”
On Monday, 28th February, the Chief Minister, as reported in the Borneo Post, accepted the challenge but imposed the condition that evidence be submitted.
“We thank the Chief Minister for accepting our challenge to debate. We hope the truth will finally be made known to the public through such a debate,” said Bian.
“As for the Chief Minister’s request for proof and evidence, we would like to inform him that our evidence is ready. The evidence cannot be revealed now or else there would not be a need for a debate. However, we are happy to draw his attention to the over-whelming mountain of evidence already submitted in court for over 200 NCR cases still pending to-date which the Attorney-General is fully aware of. We will also be bringing additional supplementary evidence on top of the evidence already submitted in court to the debate to further support our case about natives’ loss of NCR lands and that this is not an old issue,” said Bian.
“We hope the Chief Minister is not pretending to be ignorant of the evidence as an excuse to avoid or evade the debate,” said Bian.
“Since the Chief Minister has accepted our challenge, we propose the following dates: Saturday 5th March, Sunday 6th March or Thursday 10th March. Time and place to be determined by him. Chief Minister, please choose one,” said Bian.
“We suggest that UNIMAS’ Social Science academics who are informed of NCR issues be appointed to chair the debate. We further suggest it would be appropriate to have the public debate in a large venue like the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching or the Stadium Perpaduan at Petrajaya so that the public can have free access to listen to the views to be expressed by the Chief Minister and myself,” said Bian.
The Chief Minister is also quoted as saying that “Kita akan akur dengan sebarang keputusan mahkamah walaupun tidak memihak kepada kerajaan” (we will concur with any court decision even if it does not favour the government) at the SPDP AGM on Sunday 27th February in Bintulu as reported at online news portal Sarawak Update (Jumpa Saya Atau Ke Mahkamah).
“Our response is loud and clear; withdraw all Government appeals against NCR cases won by the natives immediately. The courts have decided in favour of NCR landowners but the government still insists on appealing against these cases. Will the Chief Minister direct the Attorney-General to withdraw these appeals immediately and keep his word or was the statement at the SPDP AGM mere rhetoric and lip service to deceive the rakyat yet again?” asked Bian.