Saturday, February 14, 2015

BARU BIAN: MORE PROFESSIONALISM, LESS THREATS PLEASE


PRESS STATEMENT
12 FEBRUARY 2015

I felt vindicated to read in the Borneo Post 10 February 2015 that a 4-wheel drive vehicle smuggling syndicate that was driving stolen vehicles from Sabah to Long Bawan, Indonesia through Ba’ Kelalan had been ‘crippled’. The deputy Chief Minister brushed aside my questions on this very issue when I brought it up in the state assembly sitting in November last year. This arrest appears to have uncovered an active smuggling ring and yet the DCM in his reply to my questions said that for the period between January 2014 to October 2014, there was no report of smuggling of vehicles. What have the police been doing the whole of last year? There was a smuggling syndicate operating there and yet they did not know anything? How embarrassing that the case only came to light because of the arrest by the Sabah police. Are our police incapable of doing their jobs, or is it that they don’t want to do their job? Does the DCM know what is going on in this state?

When the opposition brings up issues that concern the people, it has become almost a standard response to accuse us of politicising the issues. When we highlight issues, it is not just for the sake of making noise or politicising issues. In many cases, members of the public come to us for help because they cannot get anywhere when they deal directly with the authorities. For instance, the unhappiness of the Iban community with the Miri police chief for his disrespect of the miring is real because of the great significance of the adat for the people. They had asked for help from our members in the party in Miri. Rightly so, they had asked for an apology but by way of a response, the police chief threatened those who brought up the matter with arrest under the Sedition Act. 

The Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has responded to the MRSM’s issue by saying it was a “political ploy”. The complaint, as I remember it, was that there are some additional rules in MRSM for non-Muslim students, which clearly go against their religious rights under the Federal Constitution. The question is whether it is true that there exist additional rules for non-Muslim students. I have downloaded the rules from a link I was given to their website and I have written to MARA requesting them to confirm whether such rules exist. (See attached). Perhaps after my query on this matter, these rules will conveniently disappear from their website.

As for the smuggling issue, I hope it is not too much to ask that the beefed up police in Lawas and Ba’ Kelalan make concerted effort to tackle the rampant drug trade that is causing great harm to the community there. Instead of asking the public to lodge reports, the police should make it their business to know what is going on in their areas. A woman called me last week, informing me that these drug dealers had been meeting/trading behind her house. She reported the matter to a Rela officer but was told by the Rela officer that only the police can arrest these people. But she is reluctant to report the matter to the police for fear of being exposed and for possible retaliation from the drug dealers. She appears to have lost faith in the police.

I ask that our civil servants and law enforcement officers carry out their duties diligently and professionally. They will then be able to provide accurate information when questioned. They will then not have to resort to threatening the public and the opposition or accusing us of politicising issues when questioned or when their mistakes are pointed out.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak/
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan

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