Monday, November 3, The Broken Shield
Comments by Sarawak Headhunter in red as usual.
He didn't forget. He did it purposely. What does he care about the adat and customary practices of the Dayaks and other natives of Sarawak? All he cares is what he wants for himself, his family and his cronies.
If he knew, he would not have embarrassed them the way he did when he opened the function last Saturday, 1 November 2008; unless, of course, he wanted to pass a message through them to their parents and their folks in longhouses and villages.
He not only wanted to embarrass them but insult them with impunity as well, knowing that none of them would have been brave enough to stand up to him or walk off.
“You see, they (Dayaks) have two million acres under NCR lands just because of shifting cultivation. Apa itu?”, Taib said.
What is 2 million acres of NCR lands which benefits at least half a million and maybe more of the natives of Sarawak, especially the Dayaks, compared to 7 million hectares and more of timber concessions which benefit only a handful of people, namely Taib himself, his family and cronies?
No less than 5 million hectares of timber concessions in Sarawak are controlled by only 5 companies. Let us not even go into plantation lands.
Almost all of the Dayak listeners, especially the Ibans, were jolted by the words used by Taib to hit back at the shifting cultivators. YB Francis Harden, assistant land development minister, and other YB Dayaks sat uncomfortably. Alfred Jabu, a senior Dayak minister, appeared to enjoy the criticisms.
Yet none of them had the guts to speak out or walk off. If Sarawak Headhunter had been there, he would have shouted at Taib, "7 million hectares of timber concessions, apa itu?" Why should they be jolted when this is what they should expect, knowing Taib? Does anyone still want to deny that Taib is a bully?
Taib’s choice of words not only smacked of arrogance, but also seemed to confirm Beginda Minda’s accusation that Taib was a big bully.
Since the amendment of the Land Code in 2000, the NCR lands have become thorny issues as the amendment not only declares all untitled lands including NCR lands as “State Lands” but criminalizes the land owners for defending their rights. Many have landed in jails.
According to the 2005 reports of Land and Survey Department, some 1.2 million hectares of land have been approved for oil palm plantations, the bulk of which is NCR lands. And by the year 2015, some 4 million hectares of land are to be planted with oil palm. Out of the total, about 1.5 million hectares are NCR land. By then there will be a few acres of NCR land left, if any!
Native land owners claim that their ancestral lands have been in existence for hundreds of years. Regarded as their life, now their lands have created nightmares for them and their children as they (the lands) are slipping away from their grips.