25TH JUNE 2012
Today the Sessions Court at Limbang discharged not amounting to acquittal Encik Sia Tangi and three other accused, Mr Venson and Encik Jackson, Encik Sia’s sons and Encik Saging his son-in-law on three criminal charges. Two charges were made under section 436, a charge of mischief by fire with intent to destroy a house and one charge under section 435, a charge of mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to an amount of fifty ringgit.
The charges under section 436 were that on 29.6.2011 in furtherance of the common intention of all, the four accused were charged of committing mischief by the destruction of two blocks of workers’ house and one block of staff quarters and to an office block by fire, owned by the main contractor Laras Jaya Construction Sdn Bhd, to a Water Treatment Plant project located at Long Kuton, Trusan, Lawas. Punishment under section 436 is a maximum imprisonment of 20 years.
The charge under section 435 was that the on 29.6.2011 in furtherance of the common intention of all, the four accused were charged of committing mischief by the destruction of two excavators and three cement mixer by fire, where an estimated loss is about RM848,850-00. Punishment under section 435 is a maximum imprisonment of 7 years.
The said Water Treatment Plant project once completed, is expected to solve the Lawas water woes that is getting more acute each passing day. Datuk Amar Awang Tengah had alleged Mr Sia Tangi recently in his winding-up speech in the last sitting of the DUN for being the person solely responsible for the delay of this project since it commenced works sometime in early 2011.
But what was not disclosed to the public was that Sia Tangi appears to have been one of those who filed his claim for Native Customary Right (NCR) together with three others after notice was issued out under section 5 of the Sarawak Land Code. The questionable aspect of this case was that the District Office in Lawas had disbursed a total of RM473,625-35 to the other three claimants without Sia Tangi’s claim heard at all. Immediately Mr Sia Tangi filed an application in the High Court at Limbang and succeeded in obtaining an order to quash the decision of the District Officer to release the sum of RM473,625-35 to the other two claimants. As such, a proper hearing of all the claimants’ claims, including Sia Tangi’s should be heard by the Natiuve Court at Lawas. After writing to the Superintendent of Land and Surveys Limbang informing the Superintendent of the latest development and including the High Court’s order and to hear his claims of NCR which were never entertained, Sia Tangi and the three accused were charged for causing mischief by fire under section 435 and 436 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum imprisonment of 7 and 20 years respectively.
In the course of the trial we found out that the said Project was given to Laras Jaya Construction Sdn Bhd without an open tender a project costing about RM64,993,900-00. We also found out that this company is related to those in power. We urge the Government to always be opened and transparent in giving out government contracts in order that others too may have the opportunity to prove their capability in doing such projects.
Secondly, I wish to remind those in authority to discharge their duties justly and fairly in accordance with the rules and regulations and always giving the opportunity to a right to be heard. In our case, any reasonable person would suspect that there was something fishy about the release of the compensation monies to the other claimants. Those in authority must live above reproach. At the end of the day, the people at large will know all our deeds, bad or good. Remember what the Scripture says, “what we sow we will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
YB BARU BIAN