Human rights activist urges police to probe “act of violence” incident in Niah

Peter John Jaban

KUCHING, Feb 15: A Borneo States human rights activist is calling on the police to clarify the immigration and employment status of a group of men who viciously attacked a young Iban as captured on a viral video recently.

Peter John Jaban, who is a founder of Persatuan Etnik Dayak Sarawak (DRAF) and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMLDS ) said, the government of the day must ensure more protection of natives or Anak Negeri according to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

He said, the latest act of violence, which took place in Niah, involved both auxiliary police from a plantation and a group of unidentified men, who are not members of the local native community.

Peter said, such incident happened less than two months after the alleged murder of a native community leader Albert Agang in Sabah on Dec 22, 2020 by one suspect still at large named Hobalan @ Jimmy Black, a gangster placed under police watch since 2008.

“The viraled video in itself is very disturbing indeed. A mob, one of whom is armed with a stick, set upon a single boy who makes no attempt to retaliate and simply tried to flee as they rain kicks and punches on him.

“The auxiliary police stood aside for several minutes as the attack took place only intervened to allow the victim to leave.

“These men, several of them were wearing what appeared to be a security uniform, must face the consequences over this act of extreme violence which has shattered a peace-loving Sarawak community,” Peter said in a statement issued here today.

However, he asserted that additional questions are being raised over what this particular group was doing in the rural native community and what their connection was to the local plantation company.

“Violence from plantation company security against local communities was at one time almost commonplace in Sarawak. Thankfully, the number of incidents has died down in recent years,” he said.

Additionally, Peter also called on the police, Immigration Department, Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and Local Government to fully investigate the re-emergence of such violence in the plantations.

“What concerns us most is whether these are non-Sarawakians or illegal immigrants working in the state legally and, if so, what action will be taken against their employer to prevent this from happening again.

“This is exactly what our immigration autonomy is designed to work against, the disruption of our harmony by outside influences, not, as it is more commonly used, to prevent opposition politicians from campaigning here.

“Who has issued this mob with a work permit and, if they are here without one, why have immigration allowed them to remain here?” he asked.

Peter said, the case of violence on the helpless Dayak Iban boy from (village/longhouse) was reportedly heading to the Miri High Court on February 22, 2021.

“We hope that these violent men will receive the proper punishment. But without a full investigation into the background of this case, Sarawak could soon end up being a safe haven for murderers and gangsters like Jimmy Black and the natives of Sarawak will find themselves the targets of ongoing gangsterism.

Meanwhile, Peter said as a member of the Malaysian Corruption Watch (MCW) he will be heading to Miri to conduct a brief watch over the case to monitor how access to justice is protecting the peoples of Borneo States.

“I think it’s crucial we take look at this case, which, I’ll prepare a high level report and submit to International Human Rights and the international community. Copies of the report will also be send to both international and local human rights groups such as Suaram and Suhakam,” he added.

On the same note, he also asked whether the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) should be first implemented in the Borneo States which have the power of immigration and might as well return all troublemakers back to their own society. — DayakDaily