Saturday, February 27, 2016

BARU BIAN: AWANG TENGAH’S STATEMENT BUNKUM


PRESS STATEMENT
25 FEBRUARY 2016
  
I refer to Awang Tengah’s bunkum of a statement ‘NCR Land Perimeter Survey Proof of State Government’s Sincerity’, published on 24 February 2016 in the Borneo Post. Do the 459 areas of 732,080ha surveyed include pemakai menoa and pulau galau? My assumption is that they do not. This is because the government had appealed the decision of the court in TR Sandah, against this very concept, even though it had been affirmed in the High Court and Court of Appeal in about 30 cases throughout Sarawak to date, affirmed by the Federal Court in the Medeli case and was obiter in the Bisi Jinggut case in the judgment of CJSS Tan Sri Richard Malanjum. It is therefore grossly misleading for the minister to say that the gazetting of the said areas ‘was proof that the state government recognised and assisted in the recognition of NCR land in Sarawak’. This is a blatant misuse or twisting of the term ‘NCR land’.

The government’s view of the NCR land that is recognised by the state of Sarawak as confirmed by the Chief Minister Adenan Satem in his DUN winding up speech on 15 May 2014 is that NCR means ONLY temuda/settled/farmed area before 1 January 1958. This is the government that had not only refused to recognise the ruling of the courts but has deprived natives of their rightful landed property by giving thousands of acres of pemakai menoa and pulau galau throughout the state to timber companies and plantations over the past 50 years.

I have said before that if the government really respects and recognises NCR land in accordance with the adat of the people, which has been affirmed by the courts, they should not have appealed to the Federal Court in the case of TR Sandah. The DUN should also not have thrown out my motion and my private member’s bill to amend the Sarawak Land Code to include pemakai menoa and pulau galau as a concept of NCR. In fact, I tabled my private motion at the suggestion of the Chief Minister himself, when my motion was dismissed. He had said, in his capacity as Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office and Minister of Special Functions (as he then was), If the Honourable Member for Ba’ Kelalan wishes to amend the law and feels he has the support of this Dewan, he should present a Private Member’s Bill under his own name, to make the amendment.’ (Hansard 26 November 2013 page 3). Obviously, the Chief Minister and his ministers do not believe in the concept of pemakai menoa and pulau galau.

As for Awang Tengah’s supercilious advice to ‘not make unreasonable claim on land to deprive others of the same rights. What is rightfully yours will be yours definitely’, let me remind the Minister that claims of NCR lands by the natives, as far as I know, are not just empty claims. These claims are in line with the customs of the people, which are based on and supported by evidence. We have won over 10 cases on the concept of pemakai menoa as we had the evidence to support our claims. The minister should not lightly dismiss NCR claims without first examining and investigating the evidence. The implication from his statement is that the natives are claiming huge areas of land, which they do not agree with, because the government and Awang Tengah do not accept the pemakai menoa concept. It is obvious that they only recognize temuda; by not recognizing pemakai menoa and pulau galau, the customary land of the natives is restricted to a small area, which is the temuda. This is what the government and Awang Tengah want, and I believe that this is the reason why the displaced people of Bakun at the Assap Resettlement Scheme were given only 3 acres of land per family in compensation for the loss of their NCR land. The government simply did not want to acknowledge that they deserve many more acres, in accordance with the customs of the people. This means that the government and Awang Tengah do not respect the customs of the natives. How can Awang Tengah say ‘the Chief Minister would ensure that the people’s rights over their land would be championed’ when they are actually denying the people’s rights to their land? The Minister has no qualms about taking extreme liberties with the truth. If the CM was serious about this, he should have withdrawn the TR Sandah appeal.

Issuance of titles and perpetuity without premium are nothing to boast about – it is within the duties of the government. In fact, s 18 titles can be issued any day anytime, but why choose to do it and make publicity of it now when the election is near? Why is it that the government had been advocating for the issuance of ‘perimeter titles’ under s 6 until now? If the government is really sincere, why is it that the people along Trusan Road in Lawas, to this day have not received the titles to their NCR land under s 18, despite having written letters to the Land and Survey Limbang many years ago?

This government and the ministers are now fast and furious with spin, rhetorics and empty words to cover up their contempt for the natives’ adat of pemakai menoa and pulau galau. In contrast, Pakatan Harapan, formerly Pakatan Rakyat has pledged in our manifesto that we will recognize this concept of Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau. The rakyat have nothing to lose by voting for PH in the coming elections.

Baru Bian
Chairman
PKR Sarawak


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Islamic council can intervene in review bid over use of word 'Allah'


The Federal Territory Islamic Council (Maiwp) was today allowed to be placed as an intervener in the Sidang Injil Borneo's (SIB) or Borneo Evangelical Church judicial review application on the use of the word Allah in its prayers.

This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Hanipah Farikullah allowing Maiwp's application to intervene.

Justice Hanipah made the decision in chambers after hearing the application by Maiwp which was represented by Mohd Hanif Khatri Abdulla.

According to Hanif, Justice Hanipah ruled that Maiwp has the the duty and authority to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Islamic affairs and (matters) affecting any publication on the use of the word Allah.

Lawyer Lim Heng Seng and Annou Xavier representing SIB indicated that they will appeal today's decision as they felt that Maiwp's role was only aiding and advising and this did not create any legal right or interests which entitled it to be heard in the judicial review.

"We wanted to avoid this matter to be perceived as Christians against Muslims," said Lim, adding that they would file an appeal soon at the Court of Appeal.

Lim submitted that Maiwp's duty to advise the Agong in matters relating to Islam must be read in its ordinary meaning, that is to recommend or inform a situation.

Maiwp's advisory role to the Agong, he said, does not extend to intervening in Dusing's application.

Hanif however told the court that the council's duty to advise the Agong in matters relating to Islam in the state is in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Federal Constitution which provides the rights, privileges, prerogatives and powers of the Agong as the head of Islam in the Federal Territories, which includes Putrajaya and Labuan.

SIB president Rev Jerry Dusing, who was also present, agreed they would appeal.

This is the third challenge on the use of the word Allah for the Christian community.

In fact, SIB was the first to make the application to file a judicial review followed by the Roman Catholic archbishop and the Jill Ireland case.

However, the Roman Catholic archbishop's case was the first to be heard up to the Federal Court.

Application filed in 2007 following seizure

Dusing named the Home Ministry and the government as respondents in the judicial review application, which was filed in 2007 following the seizure of the books bearing the word Allah at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang that year.

Although the books were returned in 2008, just before the general election that year, Dusing did not withdraw the judicial review application as he said it affected the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak and the seizure went against the agreement of the two states joining together with Malaya in forming Malaysia.

SIB is going ahead with the judicial review application as it does not want problems in the near future as a result of this, and the use of the religious books as a pawn before each election.

On Oct 1, 2014, the Court of Appeal granted leave (permission) for SIB's application to be heard on its merits resulting in this matter being heard now.

"The threshold for the granting of leave is very low, that is prima facie, and we note the appellants have met the threshold and we allow leave.

"The decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court is set aside,” Justice Rohana Yusof who led the three-member bench had said.

Initially the KL High Court refused to grant leave citing it was bound by the decision in the Roman Catholic Church case.

Monday, February 22, 2016

BARU BIAN: CM, REMIND THE EDUCATION MINISTER HE OWES CHRISTIANS AN APOLOGY


PRESS STATEMENT
22 FEBRUARY 2016

I wish to remind the Chief Minister that the Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid owes Christians an apology for his insensitive and unfounded remarks in August last year which deeply offended and insulted Christians in Malaysia. To refresh the CM’s memory, the Education Minister said, “The Jews and the Christians have pledged that as long as there is the moon and the stars, as long as the end of the world is not here yet, they will decide that Muhammad's followers will be confused and split among themselves. This is the pledge of the Jews and Christians.” He went on to say: "What is their agenda? Their agenda is to see Malaysia no longer as an Islamic country," and "They want to destroy our country and, to destroy it, they will ensure the Malays are split until they have no political power in their own country.”

It is unbelievable that this is the man who is responsible for the education policies of this country. In his hateful and contemptuous remarks at an UMNO gathering, he had clearly shown his prejudice against Christians. Archbishop Bolly Lapok’s call for an apology from him and a similar call from the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) were arrogantly ignored.

The Chief Minister claims to be the champion of all religious groups in Sarawak, including Christians. He has pledged to keep extremists out of Sarawak. I want him to explain why this religious bigot is welcomed into Sarawak when the government bans Opposition leaders for no good reason. As pointed out by Archbishop Bolly Lapok, 70% of Sarawakians are non-Muslim and 60% of the Christians in Malaysia reside in Sabah and Sarawak. In fact, almost 45% of Sarawakians are Christians and most have not forgotten the Education Minister’s irresponsible and shocking remarks.

Chief Minister, please live up to your words and tell the Education Minister that he is an extremist religious bigot whose words have hurt the Christians of this country. Tell him that his ignorant and irresponsible words were uttered to do exactly what he accuses Christians (and Jews) of doing – dividing the people of this country. If you are unable to extract an apology from him, then Sarawakians will be left to judge for themselves whether you are a man of your word or merely one of ‘them’ – the UMNO type who preach the 1Malaysia slogan but fail miserably in practising it.

Baru Bian
Chairman
PKR Sarawak

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BARU BIAN: HOSTILE ATTACKS WITHIN COALITION UNWISE


PRESS STATEMENT
17 FEBRUARY 2016

The coming Sarawak election will be the most challenging to date for the opposition coalition. For this reason, I urge the Pakatan Harapan coalition partner leaders to exercise political discipline and wisdom to preserve the coalition unity and mount a strong challenge in unison against the ruling BN.

PKR is disappointed that DAP Betong and Sri Aman have seen fit to make unwarranted and peevish attacks on our members and leaders. It is perhaps a sign of increasing panic amongst the members of those branches in the lead-up to our seat negotiation meeting later in the week. However, such attacks are counter-productive and only serve the opposition coalition on a platter as fodder to the BN parties.

There are proper channels within our parties for members and aspiring candidates to make their cases and complaints, and these channels are in place for a reason – so that our members do not resort to issuing malicious statements willy-nilly against each other. DAP has been on a one-sided warpath against us for many months now and we have refrained from responding in kind. We have made it plain that our aspiring candidates have had to meet our strict KPI requirements to prove their winnability and these documented KPIs will be put on the table during our seat negotiation meetings. DAP’s aspiring candidates should get down to the serious business of gathering evidences of their desirability and superiority, if any, instead of wildly shooting off press statements.

The leader of the DAP in Sarawak must realise that Sarawakians wish for us in the Pakatan Harapan coalition to work together to face the BN parties and their heavy artillery in the coming elections. I wish to ask YB Chong to rein in his members, and stop them from making incendiary and rash statements about our members and our leaders in West Malaysia. These irrational statements by his members are detrimental to the image of the opposition in the eyes of the public and I am concerned that they may reflect negatively on his role as leader of the party.

Let us bring all our issues to the table later this week and negotiate rationally and in a mature manner, in the spirit of co-operation and mutual respect. We must never forget that we are fighting the Barisan National, and not each other.

Baru Bian
Chairman
PKR Sarawak




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bar regrets it took AG 17 months to see Azmi case no merit

Published


The Malaysian Bar expressed its regret that the decision by the Attorney-General's Chambers to discontinue prosecution against Universiti Malaya law lecturer Azmi Sharom came almost one and a half years after he was charged.

According to Bar president Steven Thiru, the decision was made on Friday after the prosecution closed its case on Jan 14.

He said the decision vindicates the Bar’s unequivocal and unwavering stand that offering an opinion on matters in respect of the law and the Federal Constitution, including expressing views on exercising discretion under the law and the constitution, cannot by any stretch of the imagination constitute sedition.

"Moreover, the decision is also a resounding victory for academic freedom and autonomy, which facilitates and encourages independent and critical thinking and is thus essential for the advancement and maturity of any society.

"It is regrettable that it took the prosecution more than 17 months to realise that the case was without legal merit, and unsustainable in law," Thiru said in the statement.

He added that a proper assessment on the merits of the allegations at the very outset would have undoubtedly revealed there was no basis for prosecution.
 
Taking the public prosecutor to task, Thiru said Azmi (photo), his family and loved ones would be saved of the misery, anguish and anxiety.

This includes the law lecturer having to face financial burden and bear the brunt of an unjustifiable prosecution, he added.

Thiru further maintained the Bar's position that the Sedition Act 1948 has no place in Malaysia.

"It is an oppressive law that continues to sow seeds of intolerance, disunity and enmity in our country.

"It is further widely perceived that the Sedition Act is a dressed-up political weapon that is selectively used to target dissenting and contrary voices in our society. Its polarising and divisive effect does not nurture or engender peace and harmony among our citizenry," he said.

"The Malaysian Bar reiterates that the Sedition Act should be repealed, and all pending or ongoing prosecutions under the Sedition Act 1948, as well as appeals by the prosecution, should be discontinued and/or withdrawn immediately," Thiru added.

Among those facing sedition charges include cartoonist Zunar, who has nine, and the late Karpal Singh, whose family is seeking to set aside the conviction.

Others are student activists Adam Adli and Safwan Awang, activist Hishamuddin Rais, Padang Serai MP N Surendran, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik.

~ Malaysiakini

Bersih's Mandeep barred from entering Sarawak

Published     Updated 15 Feb 2016, 9:36 pm

Bersih secretariat member Mandeep Singh was today informed by a immigration official that he is barred from entering Sarawak.

The immigration officer at Kuching Airport informed him that the notice barring him from entering the Borneo state was issued on Jan 28.

However, Mandeep said that he had entered Sarawak on Feb 13 using his passport with no issue.

"The immigration officer also told me I would be deported if I return to Sarawak.

"I strongly protest and condemn this ban enacted by Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem against me.

"This is clearly a political move against activists," he said in a statement.

Sarawak has immigration rights and can bar Malaysians from Peninsular Malaysia from entering.

Others on the blacklist include Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and her predecessor Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Mandeep said he was in Kuching to prepare the coalition's observers for the Sarawak election, which must be called by June.

Demanding an explanation from the state, he said he will also discuss further action with his lawyer.

"Is this the transformation and reform claimed by Adenan?" he asked.

~ Malaysiakini

Political donations not subject to tax, says IRB chief


 Kow Gah Chie     Published     Updated Today 7:03 pm


Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not subject to pay income tax over the RM2.6 billion donation he received from a Saudi prince.

 “To me, if the income is subjected to tax, (then we can tax); if income not subject to income tax, then we cannot tax,” Inland Revenue Board (IRB) chief executive officer Mohd Shukor Mahfar said when asked about political donations.

Political donations are not subjected to tax, he stressed.

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said Najib’s personal income tax records should be dug up, and compared with the RM2.6 billion which was transferred into his personal account.
Mahathir had asked the tax authority to act against Najib via his blog posting last August.

He said that if Umno had used that amount of money for election campaigning, it was a clear breach of election rules that place limits on the expenses of each candidate.

"The question I wish to ask is whether the Inland Revenue Board has acted on the RM2.6 billion that was in Najib's personal accounts," said Mahathir, the country's longest-serving prime minister.

US-based Wall Street Journal reported on July 2, 2015 that US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) was transferred to Najib's personal accounts at AmBank in Kuala Lumpur, with the largest sum of US$681 million deposited in March 2013, ahead of the general election in May that year.

Mahathir also opined that Najib should be hauled up under banking laws as the donation never made it into Umno’s accounts, tabled at the annual general assembly last year.

AmBank was last month fined RM53.7 million for breach of certain regulations under Section 234 of the Financial Services Act 2013 and Section 245 of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 by AmBank (M) Bhd and AmBank Islamic Bhd.

However, Ambank's offence was not specified.

Monday, February 8, 2016

BARU BIAN’S CHINESE NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2016


8 FEBRUARY 2016

The year of the goat has whizzed by. Last year at this time, I had hoped that the Goat would bring this country renewal, growth and balance, manifesting the positive elements of this astrological sign. I had hoped that like the nimble and agile goat, we would be able to climb the rocky and steep mountain of recovery from a troubled year of the Horse.

Unfortunately, the year has instead been marked by the negative elements of the goat. Destructive, vengeful, irresponsible and violent events as well as leaders have brought this country and her people to a new low. Corruption scandals, mysterious sackings and murders, the kidnapping and tragic murder of Bernard Then, new repressive laws, continuing religious and racial bigotry, a plummeting currency and economic uncertainty are among the events that have shaped the past year. Although seemingly ‘cleared’ by the newly appointed Attorney General, the Prime Minister and his 1MDB are being investigated by the authorities in Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong. This country has been dragged into the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

This year is an important year for Sarawakians, as the Sarawak Elections will be held soon. Sarawakians have experienced a huge awakening over the past 5 years of our history and of our rights that have been disregarded by the UMNO/BN government. Sarawakians have also awakened to the fact we have the power, through our votes, to bring change to this country. Sarawak has been the fixed deposit for the BN government for long enough. Too many years in power have made the UMNO/BN regime arrogant and completely corrupt.

This year of the Monkey is the perfect time to create change. The monkey is intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic. Let us harness these characteristics to fight for the improvement of this country before it is completely ruined by the ruling elites. In the face of tightening controls and the narrowing democratic space that we are experiencing, we must never forget that the people are the ones who hold the power. The situation may look bleak now, but a change may be just around the corner. Let us look forward with hope and faith that good always triumphs over evil. Always.

I wish all my Chinese friends a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Wan Shi Ru Yi!

BARU BIAN
Chairman, PKR Sarawak
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan