The brother of the state assembly speaker will be contesting against the chief minister in the Balingian seat! Awang Abdullah Awang Nassar, a former member of the unregistered Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak says he will run as an independent candidate. The tussle for the Batu Kawah seat between DAP and PKR has been resolved. RFS gets the views of both potential candidates on this matter. An ex-PRS leader admits that there is a possibility that PRS would leave BN should the coalition fails to heed its insistence of returning the Pelagus seat to PRS. Meanwhile, partyless Larry Sng who is the incumbent is hoping to be re-fielded as a BN candidate Just as people of all races and religion can live under one roof, this election will also see the tolerance attitude of Sarawakians being extended into the political sphere. Jimmy Donald, PKR state vice president, speaks to RFS about his son’s Leon Jimmy’s active role in another opposition party, the DAP. PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim expresses confidence that the on-going seat negotiation will be resolved soon. He also tells RFS of his ceramah that was disrupted at Padungan, Kuching on Tuesday and his upcoming activities in his 9-day visit to the state.
As preparation for the state election heats up, the anger of a headman in Balingian also increases. Tuai Rumah Munan tells RFS that he will not hesitate to kill the Land and Survey Department staff if they carry on demolishing his land. Like many longhouse dwellers faced with mounting encroachment into their NCR lands, TR Munan has also hired legal help to fight off yet another incident of landgrab. As PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim kicks start his 9-day visit to the state, the authorities are keep a tight rein on his activities. His appearance at Kg Tupong, near Kuching was greeted with heavy police presence, creating a fearful atmosphere for ordinary folks. RFS speaks to a citizen journalist and a villager who provided first-hand account on the peaceful event. PAS is confident that it will be accepted by the people of Miri. Its information chief Azwani Rani tells RFS that early assessment shows that three out of the five Chinese-majority urban seats are PR-friendly. The lack of women candidates from the ruling BN component parties are clear signs that the Sarawak BN government is not gender-sensitive. PKR Cecilia Embat shares her views and assures the Penan rape victims that PR would pursue the perpetrators should it come into power. Secretary-general of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Nicholas Mujah tells RFS the frustration of Simunjan villagers that are duped into so-called joint venture with companies set up by the assistant minister in the Chief Minister Department Naroden Majais. Many villagers have taken their struggle to the court as they are encouraged by positive decisions upholding NCR rights. Friends of Pakatan Rakyat in the UK has handed over its contribution for the Belaga seat election campaign and PKR state chief Baru Bian expresses his gratitude.
In a highly-unusual move, eight longhouse headmen in the Balai Ringin constituency joined DAP. The party’s branch chairman Augustine Terban tells RFS that the leaders were fed-up with land grab occurring in their native customary land and are convinced that only a principled party like DAP could defend their rights. The lingering tussle for seats in Dayak-majority areas between PKR and SNAP will be resolved before nomination day. PKR vice president Tian Chua tells RFS that the party has demanded to know if SNAP is still committed to the coalition which the latter affirmed but insisted that three-corner fights are inevitable should both parties failed to agree on certain seats. The Election Commission is setting ridiculous demands on election watchers, charged Mafrel’s BK Ong. He informs RFS that among others, the Commission has demanded that Mafrel should not speak to the media and not publish reports on its observation! Ong also rubbishes the Election Commission’s claim that helicopter will be used to ferry voters. He is also surprised by the Commission’s declaration of ‘hot’ seats which included the chief minister constituency, Balingian. DAP beats BN at its own game! BN’s predictable tactic of delivering land titles to distressed landowners in Bako was sabotaged by DAP’s alert politician Chong Chieng Jen. The Bandar Kuching MP advises the landowners to renew their leases which are near expiry before the election to avoid disappointment should the BN wins again this time and reverse the decision. A successful start to the PKR fund-raising drive for the election has PKR treasurer-general William Leong confident that Malaysians in general wants to see a change in the Sarawak government.
Longhouse villagers affected by both Bakun and Batang Ai hydroelectric dams are appalled by news of chief minister Taib Mahmud’s electricity theft. Wing Miku who now lives in the infamous Sg Asap tells RFS of the injustices inflicted on the 10,000 displaced villagers while Ba Ie Saing shares his views on the empty promises of socio-economic development at Batang Ai. PKR and DAP has resolved their seats tussle! Both state chiefs, Baru Bian and Wong Ho Leng expresses their confidence that the amicably resolved dispute will pave the way for a concerted effort to fight the common enemy, BN. From canned sardines and mattresses to basketball courts and land titles, BN is pulling out all the stop to win over voters in the urban and rural constituencies. Political leaders from PR shares their views on the prevailing practices with RFS and urge voters to exercise their democratic rights wisely. Eat the sardine but vote for change! Confirmation that Taib Mahmud will defend his seat at the rural Balingian constituency is greeted with disdain. Disenfranchised voters tells RFS that this time they will give the chief minister a run for his money. Vote PKR candidate to protect the remaining forests in Baram. Besieged by logging and plantation development, the northern region of the state holds a significant chunk of degraded forests that are under threat of conversion. Hinting that environmentalist turned land rights activist Harrison Ngau as the PKR man for Telang Usan, PKR chief Baru Bian urges the Orang Ulu to vote for the long overdue change.
Christian leaders condemn deputy Minister of Information and Culture Joseph Salang Gandum. Speaking to RFS, our resident pastor, Pastor Greman and Rev Fr Trevor are dismay by the Sarawakian MP callous dismissal of Christians at the religious freedom rally as ‘making fools of themselves’. They reckon that the uncouth MP does not live up to his culture portfolio. We selected some key issues that were covered in the past week such as the expose on SNAP’s collusion with BN and how the chief minister Taib Mahmud made a fool of himself in his foray into the cyber war ahead of the hotly-contested 10th state election.
PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim is confident that the party and fellow coalition member of Pakatan Rakyat, the DAP, will overcome the current stumbling block in the seat allocation to avoid three-cornered fights in the April 16 state election. RFS speaks to leaders from both parties to voice their views and hope for a quick solution. Activists past and present ridicule Taib Mahmud’s assertion that 70% of the state’s forest are still intact and challenge the chief minister to invite authentic and truly independent organisations to go on his proposed verification trip. Former Baram MP, Harrison Ngau, who was an environmental activist 20 years ago, tells RFS that everyone knows the state of the forests while land rights activist Nicholas Mujah criticises the state for its promotion of plantation forests and oil palm that are responsible for the mass loss of natural forests. The second round of international week of protest against the corrupt regime of Taib Mahmud ends on a high note with three protests, two in Australia and one in Switzerland. The protest in Bern, saw the handing over of some 20,000 signatures including 1,500 from Malaysia to the Malaysian Embassy, calling for the Swiss authorities to investigate and freeze the assets of Taib Mahmud deposited in Swiss banks.
MCLM leader Haris Ibrahim tells RFS listeners that the movement has severed its ties with SNAP following revelation that the political party is working with BN behind the scene and preparing to defect to BN after the election in a plot to keep BN in power. RFS tries to speak to SNAP secretary-general Stanley Jugol after he denied the deal and dismisses the expose in Sarawak Report as mere fabrication in a press statement. Calls placed to his mobile phone went unanswered. The party’s deputy president Kebing Wan meanwhile says he is unaware of such deal with BN peninsula. More leaders pummel MP Joseph Salang Gandum’s remark that those who attended the rally for religious freedom organised by the Sarawak Ministers’Fellowship on Wednesday. More rallies are being planned.
Election watch activist BK Ong calls for the postal vote service to be given to Sarawakians living and working outside the state. He says it’s the duty of the Election Commission to ensure that every citizen could exercise his/her rights to choose the government. Telang Usan constituents will vote for change as they are fed-up with empty promises of BN which has failed miserably to improve their standards of living. RFS catches up with grassroot activist Dominic Langat and Penan headman Alah Beling of Long Belok to get a glimpse into their demands and aspiration for change. Bernard Bayang, a potential PKR candidate denies rumours that he is a BN stooge simply because he comes from the same longhouse community as Dr Stephen Rundi, PBB’s secretary-general and is related by marriage with the latter. He tells RFS that he is against the existing government’s policies that suppresses the people. Outspoken social activist, Francis Siah of Movement for Change Sarawak urges PR not to give in to the excessive demand of SNAP for seats as he alleges that certain leaders of SNAP have been found to have acquired questionable wealth suddenly. Withdrawing his support for SNAP, Siah says he might be forced to take on SNAP in the coming election personally. A land rights lawyer from Bintulu concern with the lack of information for hinterland voters has dipped into his own pocket to purchase about 100 pieces of radio sets and distribute them personally to longhouse folks so that they could listen to RFS’ broadcast. He says this is so that those information-deprived voters can make informed choices at the polls later.
A family member of Taib Mahmud gives an exclusive interview to RFS, revealing dirty secrets of the Taib’s household. The estranged nephew throws his support behind PKR Sarawak and urges Sarawakians to give their votes to the opposition. He also describes PKR leader, Baru Bian as a trustworthy candidate as he has fought relentlessly for their rights that were trampled on by the Taib’s government. BN component parties are concurring with the secret poll results that Taib’s regime is shaky. Echoing their president James Masing’s statement that educated Sarawakians will not back BN, PRS supreme council member Patrick Sibat and former PRS leader Tedwin Ngumbang elaborates further. The much touted fresh line-up of PBB candidates going into the 10th state election are merely old wine in new bottles. Political analyst Dr Jeneri Amir and PKR leader Baharuddin Mokhsen explains that politics of development ala-PBB are not people-centric.
Seat allocation negotiation among PR component parties is still on amidst talk of its having collapsed. RFS speaks to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali who leads the party negotiation over overlapping claims with chiefly SNAP. He expresses confident that the talks are progressing and would be finalised soon, Has Paul Kadang, a SNAP party leader sold out for pittance? Francis Siah of Movement for Change Sarawak threatens to bare all if the former refused to come clean while claiming that Paul’s alleged dubious deal is a closely guarded secret. Gutter politics of BN will be rejected by Sarawakians! PR leaders condemned the use of sex video purportedly involving PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and that such dirty tricks will not fly with the Sarawak electorate. Today marked the beginning of another week of international protest against Taib Mahmud ill-gotten empire. The week starts with a protest organised by the Rainforest Information Centre in front of the Valentine on George boutique hotel.
Movement of Change for Sarawak Francis Sia drops a bombshell as he gives an interview to RFS. A former editor, Sia claims to have evidence of bribery of certain SNAP’s politicians and he issues a 48-hour notice for the leaders to come clean else he will expose them at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday (Mar 23). BN ‘goodies distribution’ tactic will not work this time around as the Dayaks are already fed-up with empty promises as they are becoming more aware of their rights to choose a government that is accountable and clean. The release of the land registry detailing who-grab-what shocked Sarawakians and opened their eyes to the extent of the greed of Taib Mahmud’s regime. RFS gets the view of Dayak blogger Dr John Brian and headman Nur Nyawai of NCR fame on this hot-potato issue. Former deputy general manager of Sarawak Forestry Corp Mengga Mikui rubbishes the state’s claim of sustainable logging practice.
PKR’s Baru Bian and DAP strong man Lim Kit Siang discuss how Taib is trying to fool the people in his decision to quit. We also hear from Pastor Greman and take a look back over some of the weeks highlights. Listen out to hear if the song you requested has been played!
The state election fever has spread to the peninsula. BERSIH, and several other civil society organisations concern with free and fair election lined up a panel of speakers comprising longhouse leaders and native rights activists to speak about the hot-potato election issue – widespread land grab – at the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Papa Orang Utan appears as mystery guest towards the end and rallies the 150-strong crowd in chanting the slogan – 30 years is ENOUGH! Down with Taib! RFS speaks to several panellists who conclude that the rally call is vital but the ultimate aim is to dislodge BN’s grip on the state and replace it with Pakatan Rakyat. Is Pakatan Rakyat guilty of stirring racial politics in Sarawak? RFS speaks to Ali Basar, a Malay Muslim who rise above racism and tells listeners that PR’s commitment towards resolving land conflict is ‘race-blind’. PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim shares his views on PR chances of winning more seats if not taking over Sarawak , at the upcoming 10th state election. In answer to the defamation law suit against him, Beginda Minda, an Anwar Ibrahim supporter, is launching a roadshow to counter Ummi Hafilda’s allegations of Anwar’s wrongdoings.
Assistant environment minister Peter Nansian’s claim of taking care of his constituents with development projects is rubbished by a resident of Tasik Biru. Typical of BN-style development in Sarawak, Patrick Anek Uren tells RFS that native land were taken without compensation and the failed fanciful bamboo plantation project is a waste of public money. SNAP’s claim of being a Dayak party is being challenged amidst growing conflict with PKR over seat allocation for the upcoming election. RFS speaks to blogger Lesley Kalun who questioned the role of SNAP in defending the escalating NCR land grab. Jimmy Adit, chief editor of Borneo Post, is not confident of the chances of SNAP’s candidates while a PAS and SNAP’s’ leader speak of the need to negotiate further. NCR landowner Minggat ak Nyakin has regained his voice! He and his son Juan ak Minggat were viciously beaten up by illegal loggers on Feb 14. Minggat relates his experience and outrage at the lackadaisical attitude of the police. He is also scheduled to speak at a public forum in Kuala Lumpur today (Friday)!
Two brothers from Sg Binyo, Bintulu, released after two years of detention under the Emergency Ordinance are to be banished to different districts back in Sarawak. RFS catches up with the brothers, father and sister who expressed disappointment with the short reunion time allowed by the authorities. The feud over seat allocation between PKR and SNAP is heating up. Politicians from both parties speak to RFS on the brewing conflict and how it could be resolved ahead of the impending state poll. Englightened longhouse leader TK Lah Anyie of Long Teran Kanan in Tinjar explains why his community decided to blockade the IOI-Pelita Plantation after failing to reach a compromise with the company to work out a profit-sharing arrangement over the mature plantation. The High Court ruled that the community has NCR rights in March 2010 and the company has since filed an appeal. Lah Anyie concludes that the only way to resolve escalating land conflicts in Sarawak is to vote in a new government.