Youth to the fore!

Friday 30 November / Leave a comment

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Here’s a voice you won’t hear in the mainstream media, though as the Federal Opposition Leader he deserves almost as much airtime as his counterpart in government. Anwar Ibrahim salutes the young ones and their growing political activism, in a 17 November speech at Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat in Kemaman, Terengganu.

Cikgu Tony of Julau offers a lesson on how to listen to RFS (it’s an ‘F’ if you’ve been doing it in your room alone). He also opines on which media’s been lying to us, and the PM’s reluctance to call for elections. And he hopes the government-in-waiting can solve the problems of fraudulent joint ventures, ID-less Dayaks, and the ever-present bad roads.

Madam Ini Ujang of Pakan, Julau, is happy to support PKR’s candidate, whatever their ethnicity, as long as they champion the people.

Anyone remembers James Masing pre-BN? Rambing of Sibu is happy to jog your memory. He also talks about the discrimination against Dayaks.

Madam Bulan of Bintulu shares the sorrow of losing a husband to a mysterious death in 2006 and receiving little sympathy from the police, with whom she’s lodged numerous reports in the hopes of a probe.

And Jeffrey Kiding updates us on the volatile Sabah political scene.

What do we do with a recalcitrant government?

Thursday 29 November / 3 comments

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We heard it from two BN ministers at the recent state assembly sitting – NCR land does not include pulau galau and pemakai menoa. So what do we do with a government that refuses to accept the decision of the highest court? Baru Bian has the answer.

Baginda Minda of Kapit reminds us to stay the course peacefully as support for Pakatan Rakyat is increasing while that for BN is the opposite; by all means, let’s have blockades, but do it civilly and don’t allow GE13 to be tainted by violence.

And here’s a peaceful blockade at work: Jonathan Tinggi updates us that the blockade in Sekaloh, Niah, has been removed for a week to allow the offending quarry company to remove the boulders and clean up the place.

Richard of Miri astutely observes that longhouses close to the main roads benefit from the GE13-inspired resurfacing, but that’s the extent of the window dressing.

We catch up with Philip Jau, who led the 11 Baram participants in the incredible Green Walk. He also responds to the chief minister’s criticism of those whom he accused of opposing development projects.

And he joins others in lashing out at the Orang Ulu National Association president for favouring only a select group.

Roads, land; not dams

Wednesday 28 November / 3 comments

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Roads are the lifeline for human populations, yet the budget for roads in Sarawak is hardly reflective of this, as DAP’s Dr John Brian Anthony explains.

As important as roads are, land comes first. RFS listener Balan Nyanding expounds on humanity’s relationship with land, and how dams destroy this.

Community leader Michael Luang reports the brief detention of four Iban villagers in Melikin for allegedly encroaching an oil palm plantation.

Bulin ak Nyalu updates us on his village’s 23rd day of blockade against Tung Huat Pelita plantation company, which they have been diligently doing in four shifts for 24 hours. He also tells us about the recent High Court decision rejecting their case.

BN’s corruption is obvious even to the blind. Seven years in waiting, an e-Kaseh house was found wanting in quality due to the usual ‘leakages’ along the way; Baki of Tatau voices his disappointment.

Someone’s been selling T-shirts promoting RFS and it’s high time we found out who he is! Lawrence Jayaraj is from KL but his heart has been with Sarawak since he met his better half, who’s from Lawas. We get to know him and the woman behind his activism.

Sacked for promoting PKR talk

Tuesday 27 November / 3 comments

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From Sabah, Jeffrey Kiding reports the sacking of three UMNO community leaders for encouraging people to attend PKR vice-president Azmin Ali’s recent talk which drew 4,000 people (never achieved by a BN ceramah). From fearing to attend Opposition events, the people are now coming in droves and even inviting them; we have a pretty good idea why.

Fed up with BN’s empty promises – that’s the recurring topic everywhere.

It was heard at PKR Baram’s successful Open Day over the weekend in Beluru. And in Betong, where village heads complain of still getting a RM400 salary despite being allocated RM800 in the 2010 budget, and longhouses and roads remain unbuilt.

Inai of Lubok Antu, 62, was a BN voter all her life until she realised that it brought no difference to her living standards. An illiterate she may be, but her heart knows the truth, she says. Find out what the issues are from fellow villager Tuai Kayan.

Priscilla of Miri shares another familiar tale of evicted urban settlers receiving no compensation.

Edward Sumbang, who heads PKR Kapit, reports a failed RM9mil operation to make navigation of upper Rajang safer.

And we catch up with DAP’s Lim Su Kien on the progress of a child burn victim she’s helped.

Walking into history

Monday 26 November / Leave a comment

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The historic Green Walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur has ended, and what a welcome they got at Dataran Merdeka yesterday when thousands showed up in support. Jonas, one of the 11 Sarawakians who undertook the two-week journey, can barely contain his emotions as he shares what it’s like being part of history.

On a similar journey in Australia, SAVE Rivers’ Peter Kallang briefs us on the support he and James Nyurang Usang have been getting from the Green and Labour parties.

PKR is slowly but steadily advancing into new ground. Yet another area that was previously ‘forbidden’ to the Opposition is now opening. In the BN-stronghold of Kampung Bungin, 800 villagers have set up a PKR branch, says Abang Kassim. Eight Tuai Rumah in Ulu Pelagus requested a forum on NCR land, which attracted 300 villagers, shares PKR Bintulu information chief Kennedy Paing. And find out from Stephen Epay what PKR Selangau has been up to.

Social activist Dr John Bampa explains what’s behind the brief detention of 30 Sungai Asap residents for allegedly stealing palm oil owned by Ekran.

Another victim of the ongoing perimeter survey, Banchang of Lundu, describes how it happened.

Tune in for all this, and more critical comments from our regulars Kumbong ak Langit, Linchu ak Luat and Joshua Jabeng.

BN’s betrayals and shortchanges

Sunday 25 November / Leave a comment

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Sunday brings us Pastor Greman’s sermon, the highlights of the week and more voices of an emboldened people.

We rebroadcast our revelatory interview with PKR Sarawak chairperson Baru Bian, who gave the cautionary tale of Data Kakus as an example of the treachery of

Section 6 of the Land Code. He also talked about the 100,000 civil service jobs for the Dayaks and the limitations of PBDS Baru.

Edi of Betong and Aya Empulu, 75, from Sarikei, join the growing chorus of warnings about Section 6, and avowals to reject BN.

Being blind doesn’t stop James Ensering from seeing; the Miri resident says BN hasn’t been giving adequate aid to the sight impaired and has even been shortchanging them. He urges support for Pakatan Rakyat.

Jefri Kiding of Sabah points out how the Kedai  1Malaysia (KR1M) will cream not only the mom-and-pop shops but also the people.

And since RFS has also been in the news this week, our listeners speak up against our detractors. PKR’s Abun Sui Anyit says RFS is but a channel for the people to express themselves freely. Aya Empulu thanks us for enlightening the people. Edi says it is not RFS that is poisoning the people’s hearts, but BN; rather, RFS is the cure.

Fight the real enemy

Saturday 24 November / Leave a comment

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Peter John Jaban aka Papa Orang Utan finds more compelling issues for our Saturday night show.

Even in BN strongholds, people’s lands are being taken away. Chundi Ak Kuming from Raeh, Samarahan shares his unhappiness with his Wakil Rakyat, Ali Mahmud and Sulaiman Taib, who stand by as it is happening.

Feeling helpless against oil palm companies that use fear and power to force you to sell your land? Listen to the angry Tuai Rumah of Sungai Lansat as he speaks out on behalf of the villagers of Sungai Bulu, Sungai Bawuh, Sungai Engkeranji and his own community, who stood up for their rights and protected their land.

PKR Sarawak chairperson Baru Bian makes clear the hidden taxes that affect all longhouse folk. The government gets money out of you one way or another, through petrol, food, goods and – most insidious of them all – corruption. Regular commentator Cikgu Bui also weighs in on how corruption is retarding our socio-economic progress.

Three longhouse folks from Simunjan hold a Randau Ruai and come to a consensus that the Ibans should put the energy they use to fight each other into fighting the real enemy – the land robbers and oppressors.

Oh no, OUNA!

Friday 23 November / Leave a comment

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The Orang Ulu National Association president states his support for the Baram dam, and goes on to present a list of 15 “friendly suggestions” to the government, which includes giving logging licences and land clearing contracts to ‘certain people’. Hear what Roland Engan, the PKR potential candidate for Baram, has to say about this indigenous leader who encourages the logging of the pemakai menoa and pulau galau. Baram Action Protection Committee’s Philip Jau and Jonas, one of the 11 Sarawakian green walkers, also voice their objections. We’re sure this will be the hot topic at PKR Baram’s Open day this weekend in Beluru; Denis Along tells us what’s in store there.

Following our interview with PKR leader Baru Bian yesterday, Jimmy Temaga of Bintulu voices frustration at the BN Dayak leaders for their inability to affirm once and for all the status of the pemakai menoa and pulau galau. Apai Jack of Sibuti urges the people to reject MP Ahmad Lai Bujang for failing to keep his many promises and campaign for PAS’ Robby Tandang instead.

More warnings from our callers, of BN’s efforts to dupe the people into signing away their land.

What can we do?

Change the manager and jump ship – valued commentator Aya Jangkam Bulan advises the people and the chief minister’s men, respectively.

Silence means ‘yes’, minister!

Thursday 22 November / One comment

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Rural Development Minister Alfred Jabu yesterday gave Baru Bian the opening to pin him down on the government position on pulau galau and pemakai menoa. Replying to Baru’s query at the state assembly about RISDA’s refusal to help NCR landowners without land titles, the minister blamed the people for rejecting the ongoing perimeter survey. The Ba’Kelalan representative pounced there, but the wily minister managed to avoid checkmate yet again. Even so, his evasion was answer enough!

Abun Sui Anyit, PKR potential candidate for Hulu Rajang, takes on Land Development Minister James Masing for saying the government will not bow to NGOs’ demands. He also gives examples of how governance has improved under PR states.

You’ve been retrenched and as compensation, here’s 0.6% of your wage – would you take it or leave it? Hundreds of former Sanmina workers took it to the state assembly yesterday. Spokesperson Sila Robin tells us their demands.

The people are revolting against unelected leaders! Anderson Ason of Rumah Jonathan Juna in Sibu explains why fellow residents have ‘blockaded’ the home of their BN-appointed Tuai Rumah from the rest of the longhouse.

The issue of village heads being susceptible to BN bribes was also raised by one of our callers. A regular, Ambrose Badi, unpacks what’s behind the 100,000 civil service jobs for the Dayak and Orang Ulu. A caller who claims to have heard the chief minister say in Balingian that it is easy to kill the Dayak at the stroke of a pen wonders why we continue to vote BN.

Of speakers who silence, blackholes, and deaf ears

Wednesday 21 November / Leave a comment

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Kota Sentosa representative Chong Chieng Jen expands on three Opposition motions that were rejected by the State Assembly Speaker yesterday.

As for the budget, Chong points out a glaring RM1.8bil ‘blackhole’ that is the unexplained “government agencies approved by the chief minister”. Don’t voters and taxpayers have a right to know where RM1.8bil of their money will go to? Why should Sarawak keep such secrets when other countries publish such information? Is it because there is corruption?

PKR potential candidate for Hulu Rejang, Abun Sui, also weighs in, saying a 20% oil royalty, as proposed by Pakatan Rakyat, would have ensured Sarawak autonomy in governance. Community opinion leader Kumbong ak Langit of Kapit says the budget allocations benefited the towkays and townies while the rural residents are reduced to being coolies.

BN’s deaf ears and people pressure are the compelling factors behind Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s meeting with Pakatan Rakyat leaders recently. SAM’s Sarawak office coordinator Jok Jau Evong tells more.

Johnny of Kuala Medalang brings up the unfair legal suit that villagers are facing for objecting to the extraction of river pebbles in Limbang by two companies.

The green walkers have only 70km to go! Jonas of Long Atip in Baram was happy to talk to us last night about their incredible journey so far and the happy memories they are collecting from this historic walk.

BN policies – fail!

Tuesday 20 November / One comment

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We catch up with popular Dayak leader Baru Bian, who heads PKR Sarawak, on his campaign in Limbang. He also gives the cautionary tale of the Data Kakus road to Miri, where NCR lands taken by the state were not compensated for because they were measured in 1995 under Section 6 of the Land Code. More land grabs happening in Limbang, Ulu Medamit, Ukong, Melaban, Long Lapir and Batu Danau!

His compatriot who heads PKR Kota Samarahan, Dr Ramlan Rahmat, responds to the state budget tabled yesterday, pointing out that the intention to increase farmers’ income is defeated by the inadequate budget and the increasing production costs vis-a-vis stagnant produce prices.

Speaking of price – how much is an Orang Asli’s dignity? To some teachers of SK Bihai, Kelantan, it’s RM300. That’s the sum offered to the parents of the four Orang Asli children who were slapped by a teacher for not reciting the Islamic prayer, to get their police report withdrawn. Arom Asir, the deputy chair of the Parent-Teacher Association of the school, updates us on the October incident.

We hear what transpired at DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang’s recent visit to Rumah Emperan in Sebauh, Bintulu.

Our callers complain about BN’s lopsided, belated and unpragmatic policies, from unfulfilled promises in Kapit to the 100,000 civil service jobs for the Dayak and Orang Ulu, and the piecemeal BR1M.

Take heed, Parliament!

Monday 19 November / Leave a comment

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We hear from Peter Kallang of SAVE Rivers and four green walkers on the submission of their memorandum to Parliament this morning, which had the support of the movements against the Bukit Koman cyanide gold mining and Lynas rare earth refinery.

Our intrepid green walkers from Sarawak are already two-thirds along the way from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and doing a great job at spreading awareness of the 12 mega-dams in Sarawak to their peninsular brethren.

PKR Baram info chief Denis Along shares with us what’s in store at the PKR Baram Open Day from 24 to 25 November – free health tests, activist t-shirt for sale, membership drive, ceramah and more!

PKR potential candidate for Sri Aman, Nicholas Mujah, offers advice to the Simunjan folk who are seeking SADIA’s help in suing a tresspassing timber company. He also shares his other news, including the warmer response to their election campaign outreach.

Our callers have helpful warnings of pretenders, dirty political tricks and other cheats, as well as the perennial complaint of poor government service, bad roads and no water supply. Gendang of Betong reminds the people to stick to PKR’s potential candidate Edison Tinggi, from PKR’s pool of potential candidates*, while Dorus Katan Juman of Baram warns of Sarawak Energy Bhd’s efforts to seek local approval for the Baram dam.

(*Amendment: “from PKR’s pool of potential candidates” added on 20 Nov).

Words to live by

Sunday 18 November / 3 comments

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As usual, Pastor Greman gives the Sunday sermon and we rebroadcast some umissable highlights of the week, particularly commentator Aya Jangkam Bulan’s great insight on what we need to do to create political change in Sarawak. What do you think of his cheeky suggestion for the residents of Rumah Ranggong?

Our call-in features Tuai Kampung James Nyurang’s speech objecting to the Baram dam; yet another warning about Section 6 of the Land Code, from Kaban Baru of Ulu Poi, Kanowit, who also shares with us the problem with the Song-Kapit road and other issues; an explanation by Andrea of Suai, that blockades are the last resort of the people in reaction to BN’s greed in land-grabbing; and a community dialogue against Sarawak Workers Party and BN.

Let there be light

Saturday 17 November / One comment

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Peter John Jaban aka Papa Orang Utan goes to the ground and hears from an angry Tuai Rumah of Sekaloh, who says that they have yet to be supplied electricity despite paying the RM800 connection fee two years ago. Suai women complain about being deprived of the same utility while the Indonesians in the neighbouring oil palm plantation are bathed in light. And Penan Chief Surang Along asks why, living in the shadow of the Murum dam, his people have to buy their own generator to get power.

Suai villagers have a 50-inch TV, but no mains power to run it. So, they prefer to listen to RFS on their battery-operated radio instead.

The women of Ulu Teru, Baram call their YB great – a great liar, that is! He never calls, writes, nor visits them.

An angry Penan woman declares that as long as her people are not compensated for the loss of their livelihoods, culture and way of life, they will return to the blockades.

One angry woman and her husband have a blockade just for two.

A few Penan women talk about the dangers of giving birth in their community with no access to healthcare.

Smallholders from Niah say they are being squeezed out by the oil palm giants.

Michael Luang of Balai Ringin explains the importance of NGOs as agents of people power.

Subsidy sham and other shames

Friday 16 November / Leave a comment

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Social activist Dr John Bampa exposes the sham that is the RM20 electricity rebate, which is not how it works in the peninsula. This and the unending compensation woes over the Bakun dam project all point to a need for change, he says, but not the skin-deep variety. Find out what he means.

SAVE Rivers’ Peter Kallang tells us about his upcoming trip with other indigenous peoples to Australia to spotlight the role of Hydro Tasmania and other Aussie companies in the construction of Sarawak’s mega dams.

On a similar mission locally, 10 Sarawakians are now on the fourth day of their journey from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur. Hear how they’re doing so far.

Cikgu Peter of Kanowit describes what happened at a community dialogue with a Land & Survey officer by the name of Peggy in Sibu, and warns indigenous peoples of the tactic being used under Section 6 to dupe them of their land.

Heartening news from Betong: the PKR info chief for the area, Edison Tinggi, says the residents have been assuring him of their support, quiet as it may be.

Continuing from yesterday, our chat with PKR’s potential candidate for Selangau, Joshua Jabeng, who explains why PKR is his party of choice.