15TH JUNE 2015
In response to the Chief Minister’s invitation for me to join the BN, I wish to express my thanks, but with the greatest respect, it is impossible for me to even consider the possibility, principally because of the State BN Government’s inability or lack of commitment to resolve the many fundamental issues of concern to me and the people of Sarawak.
The State Government has to date refused to accept the Courts' decision on "pulau galau" and "pemakai menua" as NCR lands in spite of attempts by me to table a Motion and Private Bill in DUN to amend the Land Code to include these terms in the Land Code of Sarawak. This blatant and continuing disrespect by the State Government for the many decisions by the Courts on this issue suggests to me that the State BN Government merely pays lip service to protecting and recognizing the rights of the people instead of taking firm and decisive steps to truly make a difference in the lives of these people who depend on their lands for survival. The core issue I have been fighting for in my professional and political struggle is yet to be accorded recognition by the present regime, and it is inconceivable that I could ever be part of such a regime.
The present BN State Government's policy of depriving the people of their native customary rights (NCR) over land by building mega-dams, issuing Provisional Leases (PL) to big companies and creating Protected Forests or National Parks covering huge areas of NCR lands in the guise of "public purposes" or perhaps for the protection of the environment is unacceptable. The latest exercise is in my own Constituency where an area totaling 120,855 ha (close to 300,000 acres) was proposed and advertised in the Borneo Post on the 26th May 2015 to be created as “Ulu Trusan Protected Forest”, extinguishing all NCR over the land affected. The practice of the previous administration in the extinguishment of the NCR of the indigenous people is likewise being pursued by this current administration, much to my disappointment, and I have to question the motive for this. How does this deprivation of our rights bring progress to our people?
I wish to add that progress for the Lun Bawangs and generally for the people of Sarawak does not depend on any one person and should not be conditional upon my crossing over to the BN side. With or without me, progress can be provided for the Lun Bawangs or any community in Sarawak. It is simply a question of political will. It is incumbent upon the Government of the day to provide and facilitate development for all Sarawakians regardless of their political leanings. This is a fundamental principle of democracy, the understanding of which continues to elude BN politicians and leaders to this day.
Interestingly, the question has been asked whether the CM is, by implication, admitting to the fact that BN and their YBs for the past 52 years had failed to bring progress to the Lun Bawangs. Before I won the elections in 2011, Ba’ Kelalan/Lawas had always been held by the BN representatives. In fact, today we still have a BN Lun Bawang MP. What progress and development did the succession of BN representatives bring to my constituency? The people will tell you - not much. It is therefore rather gratifying to me that the CM and his ministers are now showing increasing concern for the interests and well being of the Lun Bawangs.
The assurance by the CM of his support for the PM recently further strengthens my resolve. I cannot comprehend how a PM who has led this country into the doldrums of racial strife and economic disaster should be deserving of Sarawak’s support. The BN government at the Federal level has not given us any indication that they are worthy of our support; rather the contrary.
Although I am compelled to decline the CM’s kind invitation under the present adverse circumstance, I am mindful of my oath of office to defend and protect the rights of all Malaysians and Sarawakians under the Federal and State Constitutions. I am therefore willing to work together with the CM in every aspect for the betterment of the people of Sarawak, from my side of the floor.
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan