KUCHING, Dec 18: Lawyer Kamek for Change was left astonished by the bizarre procedure requiring permission from the state secretary to use Padang Merdeka for a memorial and candlelight vigil in remembrance of land rights activist Bill Kayong.
As such, the vigil and memorial for the late Bill Kayong this Saturday (Dec 21) at 7pm will change its venue to 3rd Mile wet market (behind HNL Supermarket).
In a media release yesterday (Dec 17), the group however noted that a signboard was put up at Padang Merdeka informing that no usage of the venue was allowed without prior permission from Kuching North City Commission (DBKU).
If true that DBKU had no power to grant the said permission, the group said DBKU should not have accepted the letter as it was not within their prerogative.
“And the said notice at Padang Merdeka must also be changed so that members of the public who wishes to use the compound will write directly to the State Secretary for permission.
“We see no logic and purpose why a permission to use the compound of Padang Merdeka must be directed to the State Secretary office,” the statement added.
The group disclosed that they only learnt that permission was required from the State Secretary to use Padang Merdeka for the said event when following up on the application from DBKU.
“Following a call to the DBKU director’s office, we were being informed that permission from the State Secretary is required.
“We were advised to write to the State Secretary through the Chief Minister’s Office. DBKU was not in a position to give its permission,” the statement said.
Held in conjunction with International Human Rights Day observed on Dec 10 annually, the group called on the public to come to the vigil and memorial to show their support to Bill who had relentlessly fought for native rights to his last breath.
Bill was shot to death in broad daylight in his vehicle while waiting at the traffic light intersection near e-Mart supermarket in Tudan, Miri on June 21, 2016.
It was alleged that Bill was murdered because of his involvement in one of the land disputes between the natives and a company. —DayakDaily