Monday, September 26, 2016

BARU BIAN: NO COMFORT FOR BILL KAYONG’S FAMILY


PRESS STATEMENT
23 SEPTEMBER 2016

It has been 3 months since Bill Kayong was cold-bloodedly shot and killed, but his family is still waiting for the mastermind of this heinous crime to be caught. Last month I asked whether the Malaysian Interpol had requested Australian Interpol’s assistance to arrest Lee Chee Kiang, and whether the Malaysian Government had made a request for the extradition of the suspect. However, there has been no answer forthcoming, and I wish to ask these questions again. In addition, has there been any communication between the IGP and the Federal Commissioner of Police, Australia?

The latest revelation was that the police recovered 7 firearms from Lee Chee Kiang’s house. In reply to See Chee How’s questioning of how an individual can have so many weapons, the acting state secretary explained this week that the state government has the authority to issue shotgun licences to plantation companies and that one of the requirements for the companies is that they must have auxiliary police approved by the Royal Police Force.

This reply does not provide any satisfactory answers; in fact, quite the opposite as several questions arise from this disclosure. Why does the company need so many firearms? Is there no limit to the number of licences that the Miri District Officer is authorized to issue to one company? Are there no regulations as to who has control of the weapons and where and how they are to be kept? Why does the company have auxiliary police and what actually do these so-called auxiliary police do?

Knowing the history of the woes of TR Jambai and the villagers of Sungei Bekelit, who have had to endure cruel harassment and horrific violence at the hands of the plantation employees, many are now wondering whether there is any connection between these ‘auxiliary police’ and the gangsters. Could this close association with the police – having been approved by the RMP – be the reason no action had been taken despite the numerous reports lodged against the employees and the plantation company? This chain of events has given rise to the perception that the plantation, its bosses and employees have been favoured by the police. Are there any other companies and employees enjoying similar relationships?

The government must urgently review its policies and practices in relation to possession of firearms, particularly in situations where there is conflict between the powerful companies and the disadvantaged indigenous communities.

The lack of acceptable explanations by the authorities continues to cast suspicions on the police in the eyes of the public. An innocent life has been lost, a grieving family is missing their husband and father, and we are all still waiting for justice for Bill Kayong. The least the police can do is to provide some answers.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan



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