Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Land Grabbing - When will it end?

Chung Fung Moi whom I choose as a model of strength for women has weathered storms in her years of life.

Life has never been easy for this woman whose looks mirrored the hard years of life that she had gone through. Losing a husband in her young days and having to bring up 4 children herself, she toiled hard on the land left behind by her late husband at Bako.

Fung Moi worked hard, brought up her children, who subsequently have their own children. Life is hard but happy for a woman who is surrounded by her families. What more would a simple woman want in life.

Building a nice country house with her children’s adjacent to her, Fung Moi’s life turned upside down when the government took away 21 acres of land in 1997. She was told that the lands were for a Malay cemetery.

A pious Buddhist, Fung Moi respected the dead, never mind what color they are. She gave in.

With her 3.8 acres of land enough for her family to work on, Fung Moi was contented thinking that to sacrifice her bigger portion of land, she would be rewarded in her after life.

Never in her thoughts did she realise that she would be robbed of a place which has been her roof all these years. Life shattered when Fung Moi found that her remaining land has been alienated under Section 47 of the Land Code and the time is coming near forcing her to give up her land totally.

No one could empathise the bitterness and anguish of how life is unfair to Fung Moi unless they were in her shoes.

At 65 today, Fung Moi life-long slaving and toiling on her land and to be surrounded by loving children and grandchildren would be coming to an end soon.

Life today holds no certainty for her. Where would she and her big brood of family go to? Her life has been spent in the country side, quiet and filled with contentment. Where would she go to find such peace again? Were her children be able to live with her? Would there be a house big enough to house them together? Would there be a garden for her grandchildren to run and roam with nature? Would she be able to cope with life in a different place? These thoughts plague her daily, giving her great mental anguish.

As all these thoughts came to her mind, she sought my assistant hoping that something could be salvaged. I have seen so many ‘Fung Mois’ the last few years. Each story told to me was filled with heart-beaking pain, fear and uncertainty.

Each time the story was retold, it ends with most of the land owners wiping tears; they were shedding tears of fears, of facing an uncertain future in their life. I hope members of the heartless government responsible for their plight could see and feel for their suffering. To see and able to perceive that their irresponsible action are cold and heartless, instead of what good governance is meant to be - caring and not treating its citizens in such a manner, all for want of greed.

Fung Moi is not alone. Chin Siew Jung, 72 has a lot to lose too as his land spans 20 acres. So will Lee Yong Thien, 43 who inherited the lands from his forefathers.

Chin has a beautiful orchard of fruits and vegetables. He planted coconut, oil palm, coffee, oranges, bananas, rambutan, rubber, langsat, sweet potatoes and all the fruits that he could sell in the market to earn a decent living for himself and his children.

All the three has received letters of rejections from the Department of Land & Survey Sarawak and within the next two years, they would be losing their lands one by one if the government continued to turn a blind eye to their fate.

The most ridiculous thing was the land that was alienated under Section 47 for the last 30 years, which the government claimed it wants to develop but nothing was done yet. How much planning period would they need? Another 30 years?

Two parcels of land belonging to the Chief Minister’s sister Raziah @ Rodiah Binti Mahmud, i.e. Lot s 127 & 129 both of Block 2 Muara Tebas Land District were also around the area. As expected the lands have perpetual titles and free from Section 47. How easy for them to get that. Has it been easy due to nepotism and because she was the Chief Minister's sister?

Chin's son Mr. Chong said he refuses to go to the SUPP for help because as he always expected SUPP is useless and will only asks the people to wait. “Wait until I got kick out of my own land and sleep in the streets,” he said when he was asked by a team of reporters recently. Mr. Chong threw in a sarcasm saying that when the land was snatched from him, he hoped not to see private companies acquiring it for commercial purposes.

The government should stop this land robbing. It’s like daylight robbery. Draw a Section 47 and the land is mine. I believed that if the land is really needed for development for the benefit of the people, then compensate them accordingly.

Sarawak is a land of plenty. While must the government break out families who lived together for their own greed or ‘Fung Sui’ factor. I was made to understand that by lifting the Land Code of Section 47, it would be bad 'Fung Sui' of one "Mighty Person" who lives nearby.

What Fung Sui are you talking about? A Fung Sui at the expense of bringing misery to the people by grabbing their land? That is not good Fung sui. To steal and rob people off a roof over their heads is a big sin.

I am writing to the Land and Survey and the Chief Minister himself over this issue. I want them to see of the sufferings they have subjected to the Sarawakians.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SUPP Getting the People to be Clowns

It is interesting to watch what the SUPP will do next after losing their Sibu by election. Trying to find out what the Sibu people wants and refusing to face facts over what causes the loss, the SUPP is still at a lost, blaming everything and everyone from A to Z except themselves.

They started to put the blame on DAP for importing the West Malaysian culture followed by the fear and hate tactics used by Pakatan Raykat. Of course, the most idiotic statement came from their top boss who wailed the next day after the loss, “I don’t know what Sibu people want.”

Everyone knows why they lost except the SUPP. And everyone knows that PM, his Deputy and ministers were in Sibu to ‘woo’ the Sibu people with money. And don’t tell me the PM and his cabinet ministers are from Sarawak.

After a couple of weeks searching for answers, SUPP suddenly came out with a ‘brilliant’ solution. Do what the DAP did. SUPP starts to collect data from those landowners who had paid their hefty land premiums as a result of the unfair and unreasonable BN Government Land Policy announced in year 2007 and submitted them to Land and Survey.

Coming to such a desperate act, they decided to set up a booth in front of Kenyalang Theatre last Sunday and tomorrow, asking those who have paid their land lease renewal to come out and sign the petition for refund. It was so sad to see the pathetic act of SUPP.

I want to know the necessity for the SUPP to collect names when the data were already in their hands and the Land and Survey Department Sarawak. To refresh everyone’s memory, in December 2007 and 2008, SUPP Secretary General, Sim Kheng Hui came out in the media asking every resident to pay up fast for the land lease renewal. He said the renewal fees were already very cheap and urging the people not to delay in making their payment . He even told the public the longer they wait, the more expensive the premiums they have to pay.

As a result of SUPP's fault in 2007 & 2008, the people are now facing the problem of overpaying the land lease renewal premiums.

The SUPP is a Barisan Nasional coalition party. Why the need to collect data which was already in their files and in Land and Survey. Why don’t they bring up the people's problem in the state cabinet and said, Look here, we need to refund these people the overpaid land premium which has now gone down 50%, a tactic to win the voters over in Sibu by election.

SUPP is one of the ruling parties, their role is to come out with a policy in refunding all the moneys which are due to the people. That's why it is aptly for me to say in the recent state assembly meeting that SUPP is just a mere puppet of the Chief Minister. No guts at all to tell the Chief Minister of what the people want.

If there is a refund, all those who had paid would be more willingly go back to Land and Survey to collect their refund. There is no need for them to know who has paid up. And the SUPP don’t have to use the people as clowns for their act in gaining their political mileage. It is just too cheap. Have some dignity and pride. Go back to see Chief Minister and get him to refund the people who had already paid. SUPP should stop making fools of the people.

And I want to congratulate the Sibu people for being so brave to vote for DAP despite money used as a carrot by the Prime Minister to win their votes.

Sibu win is the People’s win!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Police Flexing His Muscles

I am most upset to see police flexing their muscles at the people whom they know very well would not be able to fight back. What coward would do that.

When I received a call from Serian claiming that three persons had been beaten, my first thought was whether they had lodged a police report elsewhere.

A father, Baini and son Sharil including the uncle Jeli were allegedly beaten up by a policeman in Serian last Thursday.

Sharil had gone with friends to ‘lepak’ at a bus stop and when a patrolling police car came, the friends all ran off leaving him behind. He was beaten up, slapped, kicked and punched both at the bus stop and in the police station.

The next morning Baini who heard of his son’s arrest went with his brother to Serian police station at 6 am. They were told to return at 11 am but they went back at 10.30 am. When the family saw the Sharil’s face, they brought him to the Serian hospital for treatment.

Baini and Jeli went back to the police station to get back Sharil’s motorcycle which proved to be a wrong move. While trying to get out the motorcycle, the two brothers were stopped by a police who asked them why they made complaint about him. Jeli retorted that why he, the policeman beat up his nephew. The two brothers were then at the mercy of the police and were punched and kicked.

I read that the media had contacted Serian KPD who assured to give a fair investigation. This is not the only case of police abuse in Serian. The next day, a case handled by my colleague, Wong King Wei was also on police abuse. If indeed, there is a suspect arrested, I don’t think kicking and punching him is the answer to get him charged. Everyone has their rights, in case the police forget that one.

The public has lost faith and confidence in the police. Yet once too often, they always appeared in the news for all the wrong reasons. Shooting dead teenager, corruption of police, suspects died in their lockup and now we have to deal with this in our own state, abuse of police power.

It is time an Independent police misconduct and complaint commission is set up to stop all these. Absolute power of the police is unhealthy. Someone needs to take a look at their conduct. How many cases would they cover up especially when it involves one of their own man. Stop all these abuses and get down to real crime work.