Tuesday, February 8, 2011

‘Uncensored CDs’: Ministry officials no show

Joseph Tawie

Two Sarawakian activists arrested on Jan 6 and then released turned up in court yesterday but were not charged.

KUCHING: Home Ministry officials failed to turn up at the Magistrate’s Court in Kuching yesterday to charge activist Nicholas Mujah for the alleged possession of uncensored CDs.

Mujah who is the secretary-general of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), had been told to appear before a magistrate to be charged under the Film Censorship Act.

According to Mujah’s lawyer, See Chee How, they waited until 10.00 am before he (See) contacted the ministry’s office and spoke to an officer named Ariff Mohamad.

When See enquired about the case, Ariff said that he received no instruction to charge Mujah. He added that the investigating officer in Mujah’s case was on leave.

See said that he will be writing to the ministry for the return of the seized CDs, other documents and equipment.

Mujah was arrested on Jan 6 this year, when several officials from the Ministry raided the SADIA office at Kota Sentosa, 7th Mile.

More than 1,000 CDs on land cases, affidavits, testimonies, records and preparations for court cases were seized by the officials.

One of the CDs, which contained a message from Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian to the rural people on the need for change, was also taken away.

The CDs were meant to be used as part of PKR’s campaign materials for the coming election.

Case not listed

The CDs talked about the need to change the state Barisan Nasional government which had been in power for more than 47 years.

It also talked about the abuse of power and the grabbing of native customary rights (NCR) land from the natives and leased to crony companies.

Meanwhile in Miri, another activist Abun Sui who was also arrested for alleged possession of uncensored CDs on the same night Mujah was arrested, was also caught by surprises.

Arriving at the Miri court yesterday morning Abun who is also an NCR land lawyer, discovered that his case was not listed.

Abun was supposed to have been charged under the Sedition Act.

When contacted, Abun said that he was told to report to the Miri police station on April 7. Abun was picked up by the police soon after arriving at the Miri Airport from Kuching on Jan 6.

Police rummaged through his luggage and confisticated about 300 CDs bearing Bian’s message to the voters.

Both Mujah and Abun are members of various non-governmental organisations that have been in the forefront in the fight for the rights and justices of the natives.

Bian had reportedly described the arrests of the two men as “shocking”, pointing out that the authorities were trying to intimidate and charge them with ridiculous charges and allegations.

Taken from Free Malaysia Today.

No comments: