MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, February 28, 2011

Drop appeals against NCR awards, Bian tells Taib

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian is hoping that Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is not pulling a number on him over the public debate on NCR issues.

KUCHING: A well-known native customary rights (NCR) lawyer here has urged Chief Minsiter Taib Mahmud to “withdraw immediately all government appeals against NCR cases won by the natives”.

Baru Bian said Taib must keep his word and direct the attorney-general to withdraw the appeals.

He was commenting on Taib’s speech during the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party’s (SPDP) annual general meeting (AGM) on Sunday.

Taib has reportedly said that he would “concur with any court decision (in NCR cases) even if it does not favour the government”.

Said Bian: “Our response (to Taib’s pledge) is loud and clear: withdraw all government appeals against NCR cases won by the natives immediately.

“The courts have decided in favour of NCR landowners but the government still insists on appealing against these cases.

“Will the chief minister direct the attorney-general to withdraw these appeals immediately and keep his word?

“Or was the statement at the SPDP AGM mere rhetoric and lip service to deceive the people yet again?”

According to Bian, who is also Sarawak PKR chief, there are already some 200 NCR cases still pending in court which the A-G is fully aware of.

Land issues have been a prominent issue flagged by the opposition in Sarawak.

Overwhelming evidence

Yesterday, Taib reportedly accepted Bian’s challenge to a public debate on allegations that the state government had seized NCR land on condition that Bian showed evidence to support his claim.

Bian said he had a “mountain” of evidence to show Taib.

“As for the chief minister’s request for proof, we would like to inform him that our evidence is ready.

“The evidence cannot be revealed now or else there would not be a need for a debate.

“We are happy to draw his attention to the overwhelming mountain of evidence already submitted in court,” he said.

Bian said he hoped Taib was not pretending to be ignorant of the evidence as an excuse to avoid or evade the debate.

Thanking Taib for accepting the challenge to debate, Bian said: “ We hope the truth will finally be made known to the public through such a debate.”

“Since the chief minister has accepted our challenge, we propose the following dates: March 5, 6, or 10. The time and place will be determined by him. Chief Minister, please choose one,” said Bian.

He also suggested that Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Social Science academics who are well-informed of NCR issues be appointed to chair the debate.

He also proposed that the public debate be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching or the Stadium Perpaduan at Petrajaya. - FMT

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