NCR Land Rally Organisers Thank Police; Not Politically Motivated

Peter ,in his striking headgear, talking to Dev Kumar, Sarawak CID police chief who was present at the rally to oversee public safety. – Photos courtesy of organisers

KUCHING: The organizers for the NCR Land Peaceful Rally recently held on November 13, 2017 have expressed their utmost gratitude to the police for their professionalism and ‘show of presence’ in maintaining peace and order of the public attending the rally.

Nicholas Mujah Ason who is SADIA Secretary General said, “It has been a week now. So far the police have not called us in for investigation after the rally. That means the police are satisfied with the outcome of the rally and all conditions set out to us have been met and complied to.”

Bill Jugah, left, with Peter John Jaban and a volunteer.

“We are thankful to the police for facilitating us during the rally and deeply impressed by the professional conduct of the police. We are also impressed by the large number of participants who came from as far as Lawas and Kapit even though that day was a working day.”

We are glad to note and thank the volunteers and all committee members who strived extremely hard in ensuring the rally was a success, who helped the police so that no untoward incidents happened and who picked up rubbish and swept the old courthouse grounds after the rally.

According to Mujah the organisers would also like to thank those who gave moral support even though they weren’t able to come. “All your good efforts have contributed much in portraying the IP of Sarawak as a caring, peaceful and law-abiding community in the eyes of the world,” he said.

The November 13 rally was organized by SADIA and various Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups of communities for themselves. Over 3,000 participants attended the rally to lend support.

The organizers were expecting elected representatives and ministers from both sides of the political divides to attend the rally without prejudice to mingle and attend to the needs of the IP affected.

A ritual ceremony was held to seek divine intervention for a successful rally.

This simple act of attendance would have meant a lot to the IP upon seeing their representatives going to the ground to meet and join them.

“We would like to reiterate that the recently held peaceful rally on 13 Nov 2017 was never politically motivated,” said Bill Jugah, one of the coordinators.

“It is a people-issue where indigenous people of all walks of life, from all ethnicity and from all political leanings gather together to show solidarity in defending a common issue affecting the common indigenous people of Sarawak.”

Those who attended the rally brought along banners and posters sending out a firm message to the powers that be.

He added, “Indigenous people of Sarawak are not confined to the dayaks only. The Malays, Melanaus and Orang Ulus to name a few, are indigenous people too because they are the settlers of their land, their pemakai menoa, their tanah pimu’ung, their kampung reserve land and their territorial seas.

“As sons of Sarawak, we must move beyond our limiting beliefs that we are separated by creed and skin colour. We are all natives of Sarawak, born and raised in Sarawak. Where else can we go aside from toiling in our beloved motherland and contributing our sweat, tears and blood as equals?”

Participants sweeping and collecting rubbish after the Rally to ensure that the area was kept clean.

The rally was deemed necessary due to the compounding land cases in court pending a fair and equitable decision.

Peter John Jaban, another coordinator added, “There are over 400 cases of land disputes currently pending judgement in court. This land issue is affecting all Sarawakians including the Chinese.

“Before this issue escalates into something unmanageable, we demand the government to look into the affairs of the IPs to reflect the government’s sincerity and good governance. We are here to remind the government that we the IPs support a fair government but despise a biased one.

“We hold no malice towards any people’s representative who genuinely work for the people. They are the government servants serving the people.”

Peter also stated that the IPs is not only facing land rights issues but also statelessness and religion issues. Peter and Bill are very actively involved assisting IPs in resolving their identification documents and religion reinstatement.

On a recent development, while aware of various movements propagating Sarawak to leave Malaysia, the public is advised to hold their tongue and not to issue meaningless and thoughtless threats to leaders of the current government.

“Please accord respect to yourselves. Most of all, please respect the IPs by being professional, courteous and civil in whatever dealings, interactions and communications. To earn respect, we accord respect to others,” Bill added.