Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Battle starts for natives suing Taib’s sister

KUCHING: The hearing of a lawsuit against Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s sister, Raziah Mahmud, has begun.
The lawsuit was filed by natives Numpang Anak Suntai and 14 others on behalf of 276 Iban landowners of Sebangan/Sebuyau.
The suit, which is against Quality Concrete Sdn Bhd and Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd, is being heard at the Kuching High Court.
Quality Concrete, which is owned by Raziah, is alleged to have encroached into 3,305 hectares of forest which the Ibans have claimed as their native customary rights (NCR) land.

The Loyal Billion timber company, a contractor for the licence holder, Forest Department and the state government are also named as defendants.
One week has been set aside for the hearing, which began yesterday, before Judicial Commissioner Ravinthran N Paramaguru.
Lawyers See Chee How and Desmond Kho are representing the natives, while counsel Liew Tang Chieh and Joseph Chioh are representating Quality Concrete, Loyal Billion, the Forest Department and the state government.
More than 300 Ibans turned up at the court to give their support.
In their statement of claims, the Ibans alleged that Quality Concrete and Loyal Billion had trespassed into their land and had illegally carried out logging activities.

They also claimed that such illegal activities had affected their farms, their fruit trees and old longhouse sites.
The natives also claimed that their land was damaged as a result of the construction of roads and extraction of timber from the land, which is not a licensed area.
They also alleged that the rivers which are important for their daily needs have been found to be polluted by the logging activities.
This has also affected their farms, hunting and fishing ground as well as their cultivated gardens.
Seeking court’s help
The natives want the court to assess the losses and damages suffered by the people.
In March this year, after a full inter-parte hearing, Kuching High Court Judicial Commissioner Rhodzariah Bujang granted a further interim injunction sought by the Ibans against the timber companies to stop all logging and related activities on the land.
The injunction will be in place until the disposal of the case.
In July this year, the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) had withdrawn his appeal against Numpang in a related case involving Loyal Billion and Quality Concrete timber companies.
Numpang was acquitted in March this year after magistrate Sharizat Ismail found out that the prosecution had failed to put up a prima facie case against him for criminal intimidation.
The companies had lodged a police report against Numpang for criminal intimidation.
Numpang and six others were arrested after fire destroyed the campsite of the Loyal Billion timber company.
In the fire, six tractors, two logging trucks, a pick-up and excavator worth RM2 million were destroyed.
However, Numpang alone was charged. 

Taib’s ‘rogue’ PR campaign, thanks to Najib     

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