Monday, April 18, 2016

Baru Bian: PKR Sarawak welcomes abolishment of ‘Lain-lain’, calls to gazette 22 July as public holiday in recognition of Self-Government Day


Media statement
18 April 2016

Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak welcomes the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to remove ‘Lain-lain’ from all official forms in Sarawak, which is in line with the call that has been made by PKR all the while. We thank Putrajaya for implementing PKR’s policy and we would like to stress that PKR is going to implement more policies that will benefit the people of Sarawak if we are given the mandate by the people in this coming state election.

PKR has been calling for removal of ‘Lain-lain’ in official forms for a long time, and in our 18-Point Roadmap launched in August 2015, we had incorporated that pledge as part of our very first point themed Sovereignty and Governance. (Please refer to the 18-Point Roadmap attached.)

In our 18-Point Roadmap, we have also put in plan to gazette 22 July as public holiday for Sarawak in recognition of our Self-Government Day, also known by some people as the ‘Independence Day’ of Sarawak.

Over the last five years, PKR state assemblymen had been vocal in championing interests of the Sarawakians both inside and outside the State Legislative Assembly. For instance, among the significant motions that we had tabled in the assembly was to regain Sarawak’s autonomy in education through the Malaysia Agreement, as well as calling the state government to object implementation of Territorial Sea Act 2012 which is detrimental to interest of Sarawak, both of which were passed unaniamously in the assembly.

We believe that our efforts in championing the interests of Sarawak people are being noticed and some changes are taking place. What we need now is a stronger mandate from the people in order to maintain that momentum of positive reform and to bring more changes for a better Sarawak.

Should we given the mandate, we shall endeavour to constitute the Sarawak Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (SARACAT) that will hold hearings to investigate important issues concerning Sarawak, as a means for better governance in the state; we shall also move ahead to investigate allegations of graft, fraud, misappropriation, malfeasance, criminal breaches of trust, and profiteering without fear or favour and to initiate legal proceedings as a consequence for full restitution of public funds.

We invite the people to join hands with PKR Sarawak to embark on journey to strive for a better future of Sarawak.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak


BARU BIAN: NO CLARITY FROM ‘CLARIFICATION’ BY LAND AND SURVEY


PRESS STATEMENT
17 APRIL 2016

I refer to the report in the Borneo Post today, which purports to be a clarification of the position of the perimeter survey carried out by the Land and Survey Department. Not surprisingly, the so-called clarification totally avoids the burning issue that is at the crux of the whole NCR debate, ie the government’s refusal to accept that Pulau Galau and Pemakai Menoa are part and parcel of the natives’ NCR lands, as recognized by the courts in Malaysia. In fact, it is an admission that the government is turning NCR land into native communal reserve under s6, which creates shared ownership by the community, possibly including those who have no NCR rights.

We welcome the fact that some natives are given compensation where surveyed land has been acquired, as is their right. These lands are the temuda lands of the people anyway. However, there are many cases where other natives in similar situations are denied compensation, and many other cases where untitled NCR is acquired without any compensation being paid. To my knowledge, there are over 200 such cases, for example, in Kakus.

The point to be stressed is the fact that the areas which the authorities are willing to survey and issue titles for are confined the temuda lands which were cleared before 1 January 1958. The larger areas making up the pemakai menoa and pulau galau are not included. Besides the fact that the surveyed lands are classified as communal land, the proviso accompanying such perimeter surveys is that any areas outside of the s 6 title granted are classified as state land. This is something that is not made known to the people who gleefully and gratefully receive the communal s 6 titles thinking they are individual longhouse land titles.

We also question the purpose of conducting s 6 perimeter surveys instead of surveying under s 18 and issuing titles straightaway. Why does the government want to conduct s 6 perimeter surveys first? Is this a way for the government to delay and deny the NCR rights of the people of Sarawak? The total area of NCR land if it includes pemakai menoa and pulau galau could easily be more than 3 times the 1.5 million hectares of existing NCR lands as disclosed by Awang Tengah not long ago. The s6 perimeter surveys are merely distractions by the government to cover up the unsavoury truth about their refusal to recognize the whole NCR lands of the people. They have too much to lose.

Whatever statements or clarifications made by the government, their intentions are obvious and crystal clear from their actions in the legal cases pertaining to NCR lands and in their conduct in the State Assembly. The unsavoury truth is that the government refuses to recognize the full native customary rights lands of the people. This is why they appealed to the Federal Court in TR Sandah’s case and this is why they rejected my attempts to have the definition of ‘Native Customary Rights’ in the Land Code amended to include pemakai menoa and pulau galau.

It would be much better for the people to support a Pakatan Government – we have pledged to recognize that the NCR lands of the people include the temuda, pemakai menoa and pulau galau. It is written for all to see in our policy documents, notably our 18-Point roadmap for the upcoming Sarawak elections.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

BARU BIAN: PKR SARAWAK ASSERTS AUTONOMY IN SEAT NEGOTIATIONS


PRESS STATEMENT
15 APRIL 2016

The air has been thick with speculations about the seat allocations among the Pakatan Harapan parties. Whilst the negotiations at the Presidential Council level have not been finalised, we have received some indications that the negotiations had been steered in a direction that was against the mandate of the MPN Sarawak. It should be noted that we would have preferred to have carried on with negotiations at the local level but we acquiesced when DAP asked for talks to be moved to the national level. It must also be noted that MPN Sarawak had stipulated to our national leaders at the outset that should the talks be moved to the national level, we reserved our veto powers if the decisions made are not in keeping with our mandate.

We are appreciative of the efforts of several of our national leaders in negotiating on our behalf in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately what has been communicated to us at this stage pertaining to the allocation of seats is not in line with what had been decided at state level. For the sake of fairness to our local members, and in order to uphold the integrity of MPN Sarawak with regard to our duty and undertaking to our potential candidates, we have made the decision to exercise our veto powers reserved at the outset. We have indicated to our national leaders that we are unable to accept the decisions made at their level in so far as the allocation of seats is concerned. MPN Sarawak is henceforth taking back the mandate given and we will make the final decisions on the seats we are contesting based on our KPI results. Our decisions will be based purely on the winnability of our candidate, and not for any other reasons.

We believe that in taking this step, we are merely giving effect to the autonomy that has been acknowledged by our national leaders as being our right. We trust that they will accept our decision, as this would be a positive indicator of their stand vis a vis the autonomy of Sarawak within the Federation of Malaysia, and the position they will take when the opposition finally gets the mandate to govern the country.

Moreover, we have been very accommodating in our seat claims. This time, we have staked our claim on only 40 seats, as opposed to the 49 seats that we contested at the last elections. With the increase of 11 seats in Sarawak, our claims have not increased but in fact reduced, as we were always willing to share, and have indeed shared, more seats with our PH partners. We believe that we have been upfront and open with our partners at all times and we have always accorded the respect and honour due to our partners within the coalition.

It is regrettable that certain parties have seen fit to jeopardise the opposition coalition’s potential to increase our seats in the coming elections by their conduct these past few months whilst negotiations were taking place. For this reason, MPN Sarawak firmly believes that we must resume control of our destiny in this 11th Sarawak Elections. We are the people of Sarawak and we must do what is best for Sarawak.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak





Thursday, April 14, 2016

10 reasons why Najib is accountable on 1MDB


P Gunasegaram     Published


QUESTION TIME Does the release of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report last week exonerate Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of all wrongdoing in relation to 1Malaysia Development Bhd as the usual suspects are claiming? Absolutely not, because Najib is ultimately culpable for everything that has gone wrong at 1MDB.

We give 10 reasons why Najib must be held accountable for 1MDB - he is more accountable than anyone else, including one former CEO who may become the fall guy for this entire sad, sorry episode.

But before that, let’s dispel another notion. Does that PAC report say that all monies are accounted for in 1MDB and there was no wrongdoing? Absolutely not, although some are trying to paint the picture that way.

From all previous evidence, it is crystal clear that 1MDB was not a mistake but a wilful, scheming, brazen, unprecedented and greedy pilferage of billions of ringgit of the nation’s limited resources as comprehensively detailed out in this series of articles and many other sources of information in the last three years.

Just to summarise, mispricing of loans alone at 1MDB could have given others gains of as much as RM6 billion while a further RM4 billion involves strange collateral arrangements and exorbitant payments for options, clearly a means to siphon money out of 1MDB.

Questionable asset selection accounted for some RM27 billion, while overpayment of advisers come up to some RM2 billion and a payment to a Jho Low-linked company came up to RM2.6 billion. That’s almost RM42 billion lost and/or at risk.

Now back to those ridiculous, ludicrous and completely illogical attempts to absolve Najib of all blame for 1MDB. Here’s 10 reasons why he is the person most responsible and should be held accountable.

1. It is Najib’s brainchild. 1MDB was his idea in the first place. He conceived it and envisaged it as a strategic development company which will bring in foreign direct investment and enable investments in strategic areas. It is inconceivable that Najib will not be involved in every aspect of 1MDB’s operations. If it’s your baby, you will nurse it.

2. Najib is prime minister. As prime minister Najib has ultimate responsibility that the billions raised and invested by government companies are completely above board and are done for proper purposes.

If a state corporation goes into debt to the tune of RM50 billion and has little to show for it, Najib should have been on top of it.

Questions about 1MDB appeared in the media as far back as 2009 when it raised some RM5 billion in government guaranteed bonds at an excessive interest rate which gave those fortunate enough to get first bite at the bonds a windfall of some RM1 billion.

3. Najib is finance minister. Okay, as prime minister, he would have left matters to the ministers and others when it came to 1MDB, right? Even if that was a correct argument, he can’t plead that because he was and is finance minister - through the entire episode.

1MDB is directly and wholly owned by the Finance Ministry through Minister of Finance Inc, its corporate arm. In fact, all shareholder resolutions under the law has to be signed by the finance minister who is the shareholder’s representative.

Further, according to Article 117 (c) of 1MDB’s memorandum and articles of association, any financial commitment (including investment), restructuring or any other matter which is likely to affect the guarantee given by the Federal Government for the benefit of the company, the national interest, national security or any policy of the government, has to get written approval from the prime minister. Najib must have known about all of 1MDB’s major dealings.

4. Najib is chairperson of 1MDB’s advisory board. Although he is not chairman of the board of directors or on the board of 1MDB, he must have known of all the major dealings, and should have made it his business to know, as chairman of the advisory board.

5. Najib put it above GLC supervisory norms. Government-linked companies, or GLCs, have in the last few years undergone major transformation to strengthen their governance, ensure greater transparency, and set up detailed procurement practices, amongst others.

While governance of GLCs, especially those under government investment company Khazanah Nasional Bhd, have improved tremendously over the years, it was rather a strange thing to set up a company which would run up RM50 billion in debt with none of the control procedures which are now standard practice in other GLCs. Why?

6. Najib knew about the strange practices. From the foregoing, Najib knew or ought to have known about the strange practices happening at 1MDB. In fact, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had confirmed to the PAC that Najib approved the US$1 billion initial investment in the highly dubious PetroSaudi venture, 1MDB’s first major investment.

Also, as shareholder representative, Najib would have had to sign termination letters for 1MDB’s auditors after the auditors had raised important queries over the accounts of the so-called strategic development company. He would have known what were the issues the auditors raised when he decided to terminate their services.

7. Najib did nothing to stop strange and questionable practices. Despite knowing about these activities, Najib did nothing to further investigate these activities, to stop them and bring the culprits to book.

8. Najib quashed investigations into 1MDB. In fact, he quashed investigations into 1MDB when the former attorney-general (AG) was removed under extremely strange conditions and new a one was appointed in his place. The new AG not only exonerated Najib of wrongdoing in the unprecedented RM2.6 billion (now RM4.2 billion) “donation”, he dismantled a multi-agency investigative committee looking into 1MDB.

Meantime, the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB which has been substantially leaked in the foreign media, continues to be a classified secret under the Official Secrets Act to prevent its dissemination within Malaysia. Why put the one serious investigation on 1MDB under the infamous OSA if it is not to stop the spread of damaging information?

9. Najib denies any wrongdoing. Despite a mountain of evidence indicating major wrongdoing at 1MDB and further mounting evidence, Najib, BN and current 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy continue to sing the same refrain and insist that all is well at 1MDB.

And this when several international jurisdictions are already conducting serious investigations into the 1MDB money trail.

10. Najib could have put things right but he did not. When 1MDB mispriced its first RM5 billion bond issue way back in 2009 and raised eyebrows and suspicions in the international financial markets, it would have been the time to act, bring the miscreants to book and put this sad excuse of a “strategic development company” back on the right path. But that did not happen, raising very serious questions as to Najib’s role in the whole episode.

Yes, Najib is still very much accountable for 1MDB. Nothing in the PAC report says otherwise. And nothing in the PAC report says that all the money at 1MDB is accounted for and that there were no questionable or corrupt practices at 1MDB. Anyone who says otherwise is simply lying.

Former editor now consultant, trainer and writer P GUNASEGARAM likes this quote by Joe Biden: “Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defence. It’s patriotism.” E-mail: t.p.guna@gmail.com.

~ Malaysiakini

Exposed! Real intention of NCR land perimeter survey

by Joseph Tawie

OPINION: Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan has revealed that a total of 644,448 ha of native customary rights (NCR) land in 433 areas have been perimeter surveyed under Section 6 of the Land Code up to September last year.

Of the number, the Department of Lands and Surveys had gazetted 425,999 hectares involving 295 areas as communal reserves under Section 6.

Have the Dayaks been intentionally “robbed” off their NCR land when they have no more rights to their land after they were gazetted as Native Communal Reserves?

This was the question posed by a tuai rumah (longhouse chief) in Spak, Betong when he found out that NCR lands belonging to residents from 52 longhouses were now known as “Native Communal Reserves”.

“When we were presented with this beautifully framed map and the official looking certificate in a ceremony officiated by YB Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Alfred Jabu anak Numpang in early 2014, we were led to believe that this is our longhouse land title,” said a representative of Tuai Rumah Timang Geramong from Rantau Lelayang longhouse in Spak in Betong.

“However, written at the top of the frame are the words ‘Pewartaaan Rizab Gunasama’ (Gazette of Communal Reserve) and this means the land is ‘Tanah Galau Bekunsi’ in Iban.

“Were we intentionally misled by the authorities?” he asked.   

Another longhouse headman Tuai Rumah Ambu Kadukom of Lempaong longhouse said that based on Section 6.3 of the Land Code, these lands have always been state lands.

“Are we therefore ‘orang tumpang’ (squatters) living on our own lands since January 18, 2011?” questioned Ambu.

According to Section 6.4 of the Land Code the BN government can take these lands from them anytime without their consent since they are only ‘pemegai lisin’ (licensees), and the compensation amount is at the discretion of the government.

“This means we have no absolute rights whatsoever over these lands, unless they are converted to Section 18.

“If the BN is sincere, then give us Section 18 straightaway, why Section 6 first?” demanded Tuai Rumah Merundie Lindang of Batu Pesok longhouse.

The order to convert their lands into native communal reserves was published through the Sarawak Government Gazette dated July 26, 2013,

The order stipulated that their NCR lands have been ordered to come under Section 6 of the Land Code and the order was deemed to have come into force on the January 18, 2011.



All 19 longhouses in the Spak tributary have been gazetted under Section 6 and so are 18 longhouses in the Padeh area.

Tuai Rumah Esley Bedindang, a retired police officer from Stambak Ulu Asal, Layar, raised a glaring point: “Since our temuda farmlands have been perimeter surveyed without our prior consent or knowledge and gazetted under Section 6, what about the larger communal NCR lands that have not been surveyed at all?

“We consider these lands as our pemakai menua (territorial domain) where we hunt, fish and gather jungle produce and our pulau galau (reserved forests) which we keep fallow as large pockets of untouched forest reserves.

“Are our Pemakai Menua and Pulau Galau now automatically becoming state lands, like what has happened in Machan and other Dayak areas all over Sarawak where there are on-going disputes over land rights?” he asked.

Another retired senior civil servant Unding Ringkai from Nanga Tebalau in Middle Layar, said that many of these longhouses in the Spak and Padeh were involved in the Getah (rubber) IRAD scheme, including many other longhouses in the Middle and Lower Layar.

The participants were offered free rubber seedlings, free fertilizers, free pesticides, free construction of access dirt roads to the farmlands and free training.

But under this scheme they had to have their temuda (farmed) lands perimeter surveyed, he said.

Uding said that many of the participants were not aware that their farmlands were perimeter surveyed by contractors appointed by the Agriculture Department and Risda.

In a report published in the Berita Iban Section of the Utusan Borneo, dated March 15, 2016, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Douglas Uggah Embas confirmed that all temuda farmlands under the Getah IRAD scheme in Betong were perimeter surveyed and gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code.

Are they too losing their NCR lands?

“This is an extremely serious matter as all the temuda lands of longhouses along the Layar that participated in the Getah IRAD scheme, including the 18 longhouses of Padeh and the 19 longhouses of Spak, have been gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code,” said Vernon Aji Kedit, Sarawak PKR information chief.

“Many longhouse residents are still unaware that their NCR lands have been perimeter surveyed and that the unsurveyed NCR lands like pemakai menua and pulau galau have automatically become state lands”.

He said that in legal terms, the landowners of Layar who do not possess ‘pala tanah’ (titled lands) have all surrendered and lost their customary rights over their NCR lands, including those with JOT lands that were fully recognised during the Rajahs and the British colonial periods pre-1963.

He said many Betong longhouse residents are under the impression that their NCR lands are still safely theirs.

They were wrong, he said.

“The BN government keeps telling them that the opposition is lying and that the government will not take their NCR lands.

“But today we have produced irrefutable evidence gazetted by the government itself that the entire Spak, Ulu Layar and Padeh are under Section 6 with effect from January 18, 2011.

“These lands are now known as native communal reserves,” stressed Kedit, who is PKR candidate for Layar.

The “truth” about the perimeter survey on NCR land has not only angered the Dayak landowners in Betong, but also in other parts of Sarawak.

It is becoming the hottest election issue.

- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Exposed-Real-intention-of-NCR-land-perimeter-survey#sthash.vgc1iHcB.dpuf

BARU BIAN: INDISCRIMINATE BANNING OF OPPOSITION MEMBERS A SIGN OF CM’S WEAKNESS


PRESS STATEMENT

11 APRIL 2016



The banning of Penang State Exco member Dato’ Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim yesterday by the Sarawak authorities is a sign that the Chief Minister is no different from his predecessor, whatever he may say and in spite of the nice-guy image that he tries to cultivate.



We agree that the rights of Sarawakians should be protected, including our rights to control entry under the Immigration Act. However, the power to deny entry must be exercised in good faith and for the right reasons, such as to keep out extremists and criminals. The parliamentarians and assemblymen and assemblywomen who have been banned by the Chief Minister were coming for the ‘sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’, which is permitted under s 67 of the Immigration Act. These visits were merely to see our PKR members and to discuss party matters. The flimsy excuses given by BN politicians for the banning of opposition leaders are only attracting ridicule and scorn from the public.



Our right to deny entry under the Immigration Act 1959 was designed to prevent the exploitation of Sarawakians at a time when we were lagging behind in economic and infrastructure development. Sadly, it has been used by the BN administration as a political tool for many years. This is a blatant case of abuse of power by the CM who is clearly determined that there will be no level playing field in Sarawak during the elections next month.



The public is free to judge for themselves whether this is a leader worth supporting – someone who does not play fair, and who will resort to lowly tactics to gain unfair advantage over his opponents. It is time to vote out the BN who have had too many years and too many chances. Sarawak is still one of the poorest ‘states’ in Malaysia and we are lagging behind in every aspect. BN is only interested in protecting their own interests, when they should be treating Sarawakians with the respect they deserve. Do not insult Sarawakians’ intelligence by depriving them of their rights to fair and free elections and to make fully informed choices. By banning opposition members and giving lame excuses, the CM is showing his weakness: his fear that the public may actually favour the alternative vision of the opposition for their future. What is there to fear if you have done a good job as CM?



A Pakatan Harapan government will protect and preserve the rights of Sarawakians, but in a proper and legitimate manner. Fairness and justice must be restored to the administration of Sarawak for the better future of Sarawakians.



Baru Bian

Chairman, PKR Sarawak

Lawyers: International probes on 1MDB could see arrests in M'sia

Geraldine Tong


International investigations of 1MDB can result in the charging or extradition of anyone who is found to have committed offences, lawyer Syahredzan Johan said.

"If at the end of the day, they find evidence that persons have committed offences, then they can certainly bring charges.

"Even if those persons are not citizens of that country, just like if there are non-citizens here who commit offences, the authorities here can take action," Syahredzan explained, when contacted by Malaysiakini today.

If the persons are not within their jurisdictions, he said the international investigators would have to explore ways to secure the persons, which may include extradition.

He added that extradition requests can be made for financial crimes as well, though it would depend if there is an extradition treaty between that country and Malaysia.

"If there is no treaty, and if an extradition request is made, then it would be up to the Home Ministry whether to fulfill that request," he said.

He conceded that there are many "permutations" and it would be difficult for him to make any sort of sweeping statement on the state of the law.

"But I can say, if the Malaysian authorities refuse to cooperate with any of the investigations, either by way of a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) or extradition, it will look really bad on us.

"It would look as if we have got things to hide," he added.

Interpol red notice

Alternatively, fellow lawyer Andrew Khoo said that the international investigators could ask for international assistance to detain the persons and to send them to their jurisdiction through, for example, an Interpol red notice.

He also pointed out that there are two main issues with international investigations such as these.

The first issue is whether a country has the jurisdiction to charge for a particular offence, he said.
 
"In this day and age, especially for transboundary, international, cross border corruption or money laundering and things like that, most countries now do have the enabling legislation to give themselves jurisdiction to charge for these kinds of offences," he said to Malaysiakini.

A country would have jurisdiction to charge someone even if the person was not a citizen of the country, but the offence had been committed within the country, he said, such as if money transactions went through the country.

Some countries would also have jurisdiction to do so, he explained, if the situation was reversed, where the persons were citizens of that country, although the act was not committed within the country.

The second challenge then, he said, would be actually apprehending the person, even if they might have the jurisdiction to charge them.

"You may have jurisdiction over the crime, but can you get to the person?" he pointed out.

As such, this would require the cooperation of the law enforcement agency of the country where that persons actually are.

While he agreed with Syahredzan that extradition requests would depend on whether an extradition treaty exists between the country and Malaysia, he said that if there wasn't, the persons' lawyers will argue that there is no possibility of extradition without a treaty.

Immunity for heads of gov't

Asked what other steps the international investigators could do if faced with that situation, he said that they would have to wait till the persons travelled to a country that does have an extradition treaty with the country that wants to arrest them.

However, Khoo noted that some countries do grant immunity from arrest to existing heads of state or government.

"But once they step down from office, they lose their immunity," he added.

In response to one of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's lawyers, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, questioning whether the jurisdiction of international investigators extends to a prime minister of Malaysia, Khoo stressed that a corrupt act is a corrupt act, regardless of who committed it.

"Unless that person is claiming sovereign immunity. Even if such an immunity exists in a country, it does not normally extend to acts of alleged corruption," he said.

1MDB is currently the focus of several international probes, including in Switzerland, Singapore, the US and Luxembourg, in relation to suspected misappropriation of funds from 1MDB and allegations of money-laundering.

Last month, the Swiss Attorney-General's Office (OAG) said it was in contact with Malaysia over its request for MLA in the criminal proceeding concerning 1MDB.

The OAG's communication specialist Anthony Brovarone had said that the OAG cannot provide further information on the matter but that they were satisfied with Malaysia's reaction.

Though 1MDB has consistently denied any wrongdoing, they have said that they remain committed to fully cooperating with any lawful authority and investigation.

Baru pledges autonomous S’wak under Pakatan

William Mangor | April 11, 2016

The Opposition’s stand on Sarawak’s rights and status has been crystal clear, consistent and certain from the beginning, and was set out in manifestos and policy documents.


KUCHING: It was his submission, stressed Sarawak Opposition Chief Baru Bian on Sunday at the first polls debate of its kind in Sarawak, “that it was without a doubt” that PKR together with partners had made it very, very clear that their policies were carefully articulated. “We would maintain the autonomous right of Sarawak within the Federation and protect these rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the 18 points agreement (Sarawak) upon which Malaysia was formed.”
 

Baru, speaking at the “Safeguarding Sarawak” Debate, stressed several key points in his address before an 800-strong gathering at the Kenyalang Theatre in Kuching. The participants included representatives from the UN and observers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
 

On religion, he said that no other political party had seen the need to remind the Sarawak Government that the state had no religion. “This is the very fundamental right of Sarawakians, that there’s no official religion in Sarawak, a point that was fought for by our forefathers. It must be maintained.”
 

“PKR Sarawak’s stand on this matter was public knowledge as it was widely reported in the press and online media.”
 

In fact, he added that he brought up on two occasions, glaring errors in government websites that stated that Bahasa Malaysia was Sarawak’s official language and that Islam was the official religion. “These entries were removed from the websites.”

The latest incident on the official religion issue was during the last Sarawak Assembly sitting in December 2015, said Baru. “I demanded an explanation from the Chief Minister as to why the government’s official portal www.sarawak.gov.my , under the tab ‘Visitors’, states that Islam is the official religion of Sarawak.”
 

“The first time was in the Chief Minister’s State Planning Unit’s website under ‘Sarawak Facts and Figures 2010’. “
On the status of English as Sarawak’s official language, said Baru who is also PKR Sarawak Chairman, he first raised the issue in 2012 in the May session of the Sarawak Assembly. “I also raised the issue in statements in the press each time some misguided civil servant called for the enforcement of the use of Bahasa Malaysia in official documents.”
 

“I am very glad that the Chief Minister agreed with me on this point, when he said it publicly but only at the end of last year.”
 

Baru, continuing, said the Opposition’s manifesto for GE13 pledged that a Federal Government under Pakatan will recognize UEC for admission for higher education. “Although the Chief Minister has said the state government recognizes UEC, long after we declared it, the Federal Barisan Nasional (BN) Government disagreed with him.”
 

The Opposition’s stand on Sarawak’s rights and status has been crystal clear, consistent and certain from the beginning, and was set out in manifestos and policy documents, said Baru.
 

He listed the policy documents in the public domain that had been publicly launched: Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto 2011 (Sarawak Elections 2011); Submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee for Electoral Reform 2011; the Kuching Declaration dated 16 September, 2012; Manifesto Rakyat 2013 (General Elections 2013); and 18-Point Roadmap 2015 (Sarawak Elections 2016).
 

Among the issues consistently addressed in these documents, he said, were Sarawak as an autonomous state and equal partner within the Federation of Malaysia, within the framework of the Federal Constitution; guarantee to increase petroleum royalty for Sabah and Sarawak to 20 per cent; land reform and the setting up of a Land Commission, on Native Customary Rights (NCR), was in all four policy documents; guarantee of Freedom of Religion; and Borneonisation of the civil service.


~ Free Malaysia Today

Baru Bian: Let them come, I will be waiting for them

04 Apr 2016 12:00 PM
 by Joseph Tawie

ELECTION TALK: Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian knows very well that he is the prime target of the ruling coalition and will face the Barisan Nasional juggernaut in the coming polls. But he is prepared for them.

“I expect a lot of promises, a lot of money to be poured into my constituency. There will be ‘zinc projects’ here and there,” he said.

Such promises have always been made every time there is an election, and these are their “election gimmicks” to hoodwink the people into voting for the BN candidate, he said.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem has announced a sum of RM29.2 million for the stalled road projects in Ba’Kelalan, and has pledged more projects for Ba’Kelalan.

“I have done my best to serve the people of Ba’Kelalan, and I leave it to them to judge my performance in the past five years,” said Baru, who is also the state chairman of PKR.

Out of 10 issues, he listed religious freedom, native customary rights (NCR) land, GST, basic amenities like schools, water, clinics and roads as well as drug abuse as the top issues that he has been fighting for or against.

“Religious freedom is very important to the people of Ba’Kelalan where nearly 100 percent of them are Christians.

“The next top issue is our NCR land. Even lands surrounding our villages are taken away from us,” he said, adding that he has been fighting throughout his life for NCR land rights.

Baru, who is a specialist in NCR land law, has won a number of NCR land cases.

He cited Adenan’s proposal to convert some 120,000 hectares of land in Ulu Trusan, Lawas as a forest reserve.

When he made the announcement, Adenan did not know that almost all the 120,000 hectares of the land are NCR land belonging to the Lun Bawang.

The Lun Bawang protested through Baru who threatened to sue the government if it proceeded with its proposal.

If the proposal went on, it would leave the Lun Bawang small portions of land for their villages, and it would also deprive them of their hunting, foraging and fishing grounds leaving them with nothing to live on, Baru said.

Realising his grave “mistake”, Adenan announced that the proposal had been suspended.

Even before he took up politics, the 58-year-old Baru has always been a thorn in the flesh of the Barisan Nasional and the authorities.

After graduating as a lawyer in 1986, he went through another “education” in native rights law with environmental groups, including Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and human rights activists like Harrison Ngau, the ISA detainee, and Bruno Manser, the Swiss anti-logging activist.

He went to Japan several times to meet with other activists of all stripes and delivered speeches at international forums and the International Tropical Timber Organisations (ITTO) council, attacking indiscriminate logging activities in Lawas and Baram areas.

Japan was one of the leading importers of Sarawak timber.

For his anti-logging activities, Baru had been branded a “traitor” by the Barisan Nasional and the authorities.

He confessed that he was almost arrested.

When he contested the Lawas seat in 1991 against Awang Tengah Ali Hassan of PBB, BN effectively used the “traitor” label against him causing him to lose heavily. However, he did not lose his deposit.



His first attempt to contest the Ba’Kelalan seat in a by-election in 2004 and in a state election in 2006 all ended in failure.

But Baru was not deterred by the setbacks.

He won Ba’Kelalan in 2011 against a PBB-nominated candidate by a majority of 473 votes. This time he contested on a PKR ticket.

Since joining PKR after the deregistration of PBDS in 2004, Baru had worked relentlessly in Ba’Kelalan, especially to educate the people on religious freedom, their customary rights in their ancestral lands and the right to development.

His efforts, however, was not only confined to his constituency, but also to at least 40 other constituencies in Sarawak.

Through his efforts and the efforts of other PKR leaders, Sarawakians are slowly waking up from their political slumber.

No wonder, BN feels threatened by Baru’s growing influence.

And this perceived “threat” could have prompted Adenan to invite Baru to join the Barisan Nasional, but later rejected it outright.

For PBB, it has other reasons to bring Baru in, because it has always been its design to take over Ba’Kelalan which is the only state constituency within the Lawas parliamentary constituency that is not under its control.

The other state constituency is Bukit Sari and the incumbent is Awang Tengah, a senior PBB leader and an influential minister.

Baru’s refusal to join PBB was regarded as an “insult” to the chief minister. Partly for this reason, he is considered the “number one enemy” of the BN and must be eliminated.

The state legislative assembly is to be dissolved on April 11 but Adenan has yet to announce the candidate to challenge Baru.

From SPDP sources, it has already identified its deputy president Nelson Balang Rining as its candidate.

However, a certainly personality in PBB rejected Nelson, accusing him of failing in his duty during his two terms as Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.

Instead, the PBB leader suggested that Mutang Tagal be nominated as the BN candidate, but the problem is that the former MP has been out of politics and is not a SPDP member.

Several other names have also been mentioned as possible candidates for Ba’Kelalan.

 Could the last minute decision to select the candidate be an advantage to Baru? Let’s wait and see.

- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Baru-Bian-Let-them-come-I-will-be-waiting-for-them#sthash.KU4kBsUi.dpuf

BARU BIAN: INTERESTING REVELATIONS BY ABC AUSTRALIA


PRESS STATEMENT
29 MARCH 2016
Yesterday ABC Australia aired an episode of their programme Four Corners, detailing the shocking events surrounding the 1MDB scandal. The Prime Minister of Malaysia is alleged to have received vast amounts of money by improper means. This morning, in a report entitled ‘Najib Razak 1MDB Scandal: Malaysian Prime Minister’s accounts triggered internal money-laundering alarm’, ABC News disclosed that Najib’s account received more than $US 1 billion in two years and that millions were spent on luxury hotels, cars and jewellery.

What was interesting was the disclosure that Najib used this money in his account to fund ‘political affiliates’ in the run up to the 2013 General Elections, naming the Sarawak United People’s Party as one of the recipients of the PM’s tainted money. This is a serious matter which the leaders of SUPP must explain to the public. There are legal and ethical issues about being the recipient of the proceeds of corruption. Besides that, one must ask what price the PM extracted from SUPP for his generosity. Blind and unquestioning support? Is this why the leaders of SUPP have not made any stand about the 1MDB scandal?

The other question that springs to mind is this: did the other BN component parties receive similar handouts from Najib? If SUPP was a recipient, it is logical to assume that the other BN parties were also on the receiving end of Najib’s generosity. This means that they are all beholden to Najib. It is no wonder that they fall over themselves fawning over him when he comes to Sarawak, pledging their undying loyalty to him. It is no wonder that they are all silent about the 1MDB scandal. Is the price for this largesse that they all shut down their thought processes and not apply their minds to whether it is possible, in the face of all the evidence, that the PM is in fact engaging in corrupt practices?

I invite the leaders of all the BN component parties to come clean and tell the public whether they received money from Najib for GE13, before further disclosures are made by the investigative journalists. This 1MDB money belongs to the people of Malaysia and we have the right to know. They must explain to us how they can claim to be fighting to safeguard Sarawak’s rights when they are beholden to Najib Razak for the huge sums of money given to them.

The Chief Minister must also make his stand on 1MDB. Just saying that a man is innocent until proven guilty does not work in this case as the accused has removed the parties who are believed to have intended to bring criminal charges against him. The gravity of the situation should not be lost on the BN leaders. Human beings have been murdered over this scandal and I hope these leaders will ask themselves whether it is worth them sacrificing their conscience to continue to deny an unassailable fact. The Prime Minister is unable to explain this obscene amount of money flowing into his accounts. The story keeps changing. Nobody believes he is clean.  Do not insult our intelligence by insisting he has done no wrong.

Baru Bian
N81 Ba’ Kelalan
Chairman, PKR Sarawak