Rumah Sakai

When I was a small boy, my parents were posted to the Marudi General Hospital, and I spend my early secondary school in Marudi. During our stay in Marudi, I remembered there was a house, built like a longhouse at the bank of the Baram River.

The locals called it as Rumah Sakai. I do not know why it is term as such, but the rumah served as a temporary shelter for people from Ulu Baram who came to Marudi for trading, medical appointment, etc.

And on yesterday’s news, Mercy Malaysia Sarawak Chapter is seeking fund to build similar shelter in Miri. The shelter will definitely a welcoming news to outstation Dayaks who comes to Miri to send their sick ones for medical treatment. Currently this Dayaks are being served with a small room with 3 beds, sharing the same building with the Miri Palliative Centre at the Miri General Hospital. Thank you to MMSC under the leadership of Benjamin Chai for the job well done.

Government employees too need shelter

Today marks the new school term for Sarawak schools and we hear teachers being posted here and there, and, Miri is definitely the last place they want to serve. Why? Simply because everyone says it is an expensive place to live in. With rental fetching RM450 per month, it is definitely a burden to teachers.

However, just at the outskirt of Miri, we do have government quarters that are available but not being fully utilise. Why can’t these quarters be ‘borrowed’ to the Education Dept to house teachers who are being posted to Miri?

With prices of commodity fetching very high price (compared to other cities in Malaysia) in Miri – you need to fork out RM9 for a kilo of chicken head, or RM10 for chicken liver!! These teachers need urgent attention.

Which government agency monitor the prices of goods in Miri? Which government agency have the power to bring this culprits to the law and execute them for over-pricing their goods?

We talked about changes, but these laws do not need any changes. We only need the relevant agencies to execute it well, fair and square.

Do not blame the people if they make changes because these agencies deserved to be change if they don’t change.

Do we, the natives of Sarawak, have any rights in Malaysia?

On 13th September, 2008 about 150 members of Indigenous People Networks of Malaysia or Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) marched to Istana Negara to deliver a petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The march was stopped by the Police even though the Police had earlier given the permit for the march. As a result the march did not reach the Istana.

Indigenous people or Orang Asal from eight states participated in the march. They were from Johor, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak. The majority of the participants were Orang Asli from Semenanjung Malaysia with a few from Sabah and Sarawak. It is reliably learnt that the representatives from Sarawak were members of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA).

Why are they making a petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong?  The petition was to ask the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to protect their constitutional rights which they claimed have been eroded by the government. The memorandum which they intend to hand over to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was to urge the government to honour the United Nation Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People (DRIP) to which Malaysia is a signatory.

Amongst other things JOAS demand an end to the government’s practice of leasing native customary rights land without consulting the native communities. The organisers of the march said the handing over of the memorandum to the Agong was to be a symbolic gesture. In fact a petition to the Agong for protection of rights is a constitutional right vested on the indigenous people in this country.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which Umnoputra boasted as “social contract” or “special Malay right” (hak istemewa orang Melayu) provides for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong a responsibility to protect the interest of not only the Malays but everybody else.

Article 153(1) provides “ It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and  the natives of any states  of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.” (emphasis mine). Thus, it is obvious that the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are also conferred with the special position like the Malays. But why is it that the leaders from Semenanjung have never include us whenever they mention Article 153. The Orang Asli, unfortunately, are not given that special position and therefore, must fall into the category of “other communities” referred to in Article 153(1) since they are not natives of Sabah or Sarawak.

Do we, the natives of Sarawak have rights such as, for example, rights to property? Article 13 of the Federal Constitution is about rights to property. Clause (1) of Article 13 provides “No person shall be deprive of property save in accordance with law.” Although the rights to property are given, those rights can be removed if there is a law made to take those rights away. Laws have always been the instruments used by the government to curtail or take away the rights and this is seen in clause (2) of Article 13 where it says “No law shall provide for the compulsory acquisition or use of property without adequate compensation.” yet Section 48 of the Land Code (cap 81) authorised the government to acquire people’s land (property) by compulsory acquisition even though compensation is given. The adequacy of the compensation is always the issue in dispute resulting in many cases of land acquisition compensation dispute still pending resolution in Court.

The natives of Sarawak have rights, right to property, position in the public service, scholarship, special training, business etc., under Article 153. Article 161A provides that the state constitution of Sabah and Sarawak may make provision corresponding (with necessary modifications) to Article 153. Yes, Section 39 of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak has provision similar to that found in Article 153. It is very comforting to look at what is written in the constitution but in reality, very often we see a different picture. That is why JOAS sent the memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to request for His Majesty’s assistance to urge the government to honour the rights spelt out in DRIP and in the constitution to ensure development for indigenous people in the country in accordance with their rights.

By all mean please resign en bloc

Gone are the days when Sarawak football fans used to travel from as far as Lawas, Limbang, Miri, Bintulu, Sibu, Sri Aman and Lundu just for one common purpose – to support the Reds Nyap Sayot team. These fans even spend to watch Sarawak play away games in West Malaysia.

Today, Sarawak is best known for its empty and next-to-nothing stadium. It was a shame to watch the roller on the field during the last Youth World Cup.

And, on today’s BP Sports article, the Vice President of the Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) even threathen to resign en bloc in respond to Datuk Mawan’s call to quit last Monday. By all means, Mr. Paruwadi, please do it fast! Maybe a new team should take over the management of the Sarawak football team. And, Datuk Mawan, in my opinion do not need or deserve to be the President of FAS even.. But, there is nothing wrong with him to call for those benchwarmers to quit..

FInally, any Sarawak football fan at my age will love and support any move to build a new management team. We love to be back banging the drums and enjoying a game of great football.. at least we could see someone from our division have the chance to play for Sarawak.

The new team must stand up for what they believe in and not being remotely controlled from the grandstand during games.

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