Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Iban unionists to stand under Sarawak PKR banner

A former Sarawak Forest Corporation deputy general manager is among those who have come forward to contest against Barisan Nasional.

KUCHING: Three top Iban unionists have offered themselves as candidates for Sarawak PKR in the coming election and their candidacies have been endorsed by the Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS).

They are the Sarawak National Union (SDNU) president Mengga Mikui, his deputy John Brain and the union’s secretary-general Joshua Jabeng.

Mengga, who is a former deputy general manager of Sarawak Forest Corporation, has chosen his own home ground of Tamin in Mukah to launch his political career.

His opponent is likely to be a newcomer, Edwin Banta of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

The incumbent is Joseph Mauh, who is to be dropped to open way for Banta, a businessman.

Since retiring from the government, Mengga who joined PKR in 2009 has been working almost around the clock in the constituency.

“I have not learnt the nitty-gritty of politics, but I emphasise that my place is Tamin.

He firmly believes that this is the time to change the present government.

“If you don’t change this corrupt government now, then we are going to be slaves.

“We may one day go to our neighbouring countries for employment.

“Native customary rights (NCR) land is the issue. I am personally affected. Our land of 500 hectares which is also owned by 19 longhouses is given to a company. Our land is behind the longhouses.

“It is the only piece of land that is left, where our people have been earning their living every day, and I am going to head the struggle to get it back,” Mengga said, pointing out that the people have lived there since 1830.

Brian for Merluan

Brian, an activist and blogger, is tipped to contest the Meluan constituency where his grandparents came from.

Born in 1955 in Sebauh, Bintulu, Brian is a PhD holder in management from the Southern Cross University, Australia.

He obtained his Master’s degree in business administration from Oxford Group of universities, and a diploma in chartered institute of marketing from UiTM.

He had worked in a number of companies in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore before opening his management consultancy in Kuala Lumpur.

Brain is also the deputy chairman of Borneo Dayak forum (BDF) which is headed by Sabah maverick politician Jeffrey Kitingan.

“Our focus in BDF is to declare Borneo as Dayak land. This is parallel to Aborigines to Australia, Maoris to New Zealand and Red Indians to America,” he said.

In the last election, Brian contested on Sarawak National party (Snap) ticket in Kemena when the Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) could not be registered against Stephen Rundi.

Despite the lack of funds, resources and logistics, he secured 3,178 votes against the Barisan Nasional candidate, who allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit and promised “instant” projects. Rundi obtained 4,750 votes.

“In the coming election, I am eyeing the Meluan seat,” he said.

He may face the incumbent Wong Judat of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) or Larry Sng, the partyless assemblyman for Pelagus.

Qualified candidates

Meanwhile Jabeng, 61 and from Tatau 61, is believed to be the only Iban who is doing very well in insurance business.

He is now the group agency manager of Etiqa insurance under the Maybank group in Kuching.

He is also currently the elected president of its national-level insurance association, dealing with management and agency bosses.

“My exposure in this (insurance) helps me a lot in terms of organizational skills,” he said.

Jabeng said that he is going to contest in Kakus against the incumbent John Sikie of PRS, if he (Sikie) is going to be re-nominated by PRS.

Meanwhile, in endorsing them as the candidates, MoCS chairman Francis Siah said the three are not only top Iban unionists, but also very much qualified in terms of educational qualifications.

“We are endorsing them as candidates and the people should support and vote for them in the coming election,” he said.

Taken from Free Malaysia Today

Movement adds another three politicians to its wish list

KUCHING: Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) has added another three politicians to its endorsed list of candidates whom it would like to see standing in the coming state election.

MoCS held a press conference at the PKR Stampin office here yesterday to express its support for three Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) leaders, who are also PKR members.

MoCS chairman Francis Siah said SDNU president Mengga Mikui should be fielded in Tamin, deputy president John Brian Anthony in Meluan and secretary-general Joshua Jabeng in Selangau.

With the new endorsement, MoCS’ wish list now features 26 politicians. The list is a mixed bag of old, young and retired politicians from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Endorsed: (From left) John, Joshua, Siah and Mengga during the press conference at the PKR Stampin office.

“Their candidacies are up to their own political parties,” Siah said.

He has in the past weeks also endorsed Barisan’s PBB deputy president Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, ex-Kuching City South Council mayor Datuk Song Swee Guan, and both PRS president Datuk Seri Dr James Masing and partyless Larry Sng.

“The list is just an endorsement,” Siah added.

“MoCS is just saying that these politicians deserve public support to become or continue as elected representatives.”

Mengga, John and Joshua were present at the press conference yesterday. Of the trio, John and Joshua have stood in past state polls.

The former stood twice in Kemena in 2001 and 2006, and lost on both occasions.

The latter stood in Tatau in 1991 and lost to PBDS’ John Sikie Tayai, who is now with PRS.

“Now is the time to change,” said Joshua, who is a former teacher at a private school here.

“I stood last time because I didn’t agree with the Barisan leadership at that time. I was teaching at the school and mixed with the cream of society. I could see what was going on.”

Joshua said his political participation two decades ago was a stand against racial politics.

“With Pakatan, I feel once again there is a movement involving all different races.”

Meanwhile, Mengga said if nominated as a Pakatan candidate, he would campaign on forestry and land matters. Mengga worked for the Sarawak Forest Department and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation from 1980 until he quit in Sept 2009.

“I quit because I was getting more and more uncomfortable that best practices were only on paper, and not fully implemented,” Mengga said.

He said his criticisms within the department were left unheard.

“I was told again and again to follow the ‘team’. In the end, I got to a point where I knew change in Sarawak could only come through politics.”

On land matters, Mengga said rural areas would have “to struggle” for their rights.

Taken from The Star

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