Saturday, February 16, 2008




When taking oath of office, all YBs irrespective which political party he represents had to take oath to uphold both the State and Federal Constitutions and it is in the Federal Constitution that no person should be deprived of his property without compensation unless in accordance with the law.

To ensure people’s confidence in this BN government, Ministers had time and again told the people that this BN government would never take or illegally occupy land belonging to its’ people without any compensation. However, this seems not the case, as we could see how a landed property in the Samarahan Division, Sarawak, which legally belonged to a poor 73-year old spinster, Millah Anak Kitat, been illegally occupied for many years by the government. This piece of land was alienated to the late father of Millah sometime in 1967 and a proper title was issued. The said land was at one time used by the Anglican mission to spread Christianity as this was allowed by Millah’s late father and for this purpose a hut, named, “ALL SAINTS” was built on the said land for the purpose of prayers and the studying of the Bible. Since most natives who attended the place were illiterate, classes were held to teach them to read and write so that they could be able to study the Bible.

When Millah’s father died, the property was transmitted to Millah and to Millah’s annoyance, the government had occupied the said property without the consent of Millah with a school officially named, SK ST. MARTIN KPG. MERDANG GAYAM. Millah also discovered that “ALL SAINTS” gone and there was also no more Christian activity there. On the said land, now is an Islamic state government school, but, with poor facilities for the school children there. (Remember, Dr. Mahathir had declared Malaysia as an Islamic State and this was also recently repeated by DPM Najib Tun Razak).

Since the property was occupied by the government, Millah thought that BN government concept of negotiations over the table always worked, but, Millah’s humble approach by way of negotiations with the government to protect her rights to over the years failed. Millah had spent not less than 20 years seeking help to settle this matter, but, all avenues closed to her. Instead of reaching an amicable settlement over the matter, Millah was persuaded to surrender the land to the government on the reason that the land had been used for a public facility as a school has been built there. Millah had in the course of negotiations with the authorities, sought the services of many YBs including Ministers in the BN government, but, all did not hold true to their oath of office to protect Millah’s rights as provided in the Federal Constitution as to her dismay, they all could not or refused to help her. There should not be any reason at all for the government to fail to settle the matter amicably and much time had been given to the government to settle, but, chose to unreasonably sit on it.

Millah had no income and no other property to survive on and had to live on the generosity of her nephew.

Unlike the present BN government which preferred, without Court’s intervention, the use of machine guns, policemen, parangs and axes against those who occupied government land, Millah who respects the law, instead, chose the matter to be settled by the Court by seeking the Court to determine her constitutional rights to property as protected under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution. It was after seeking the Court’s intervention, the government then removed the school children of the school on Millah’s land to a nearby school and of course with better facilities, such as computers. To avoid such an unpleasant action, the government could easily have offered Millah some compensation or bought Millah’s land if the government had wanted to without having the matter brought to court. Under both the State and Federal Constitutions, the government of the day is responsible for the education of people but, preferred to spend millions of ringgits on unnecessary projects, such as sending a medical doctor with no academic degrees in space science into outer space. Such a responsibility should not be forced to the country’s citizen as there is no provision for this.

Our Federal Constitution does not provide for such kind of spending of sending a Malaysian to outer space and when it was known that such a project was taken by the BN government, DAP and many individuals were against it, because DAP and these individuals knew things must be done in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and everyone should uphold the Constitution.

When students had been removed from attending SK ST. MARTIN KPG. MERDANG GAYAM in Millah’s land, Millah was helplessly and falsely accused of closing the school. This was not only defamatory, but, what power Millah had in closing the school when only the government and the court had such power.

Being the protector of people’s rights, the BN government has much to explain how “ALL SAINTS”, a hut where religious activities took place, gone! With that, the right of the Christian people in the area to practise their religion had been affected. Since freedom of religious practices is enshrined in the Federal Constitution, YBs approached by Millah should have held true their oath of office to protect the religious practice of the Christian people in the area, but, they never did honour their Oath.

In the past years, we also have witnessed that the BN government had systematically turned Christian schools into Sekolah Kebangsaan and had diluted the concept of Christian schools and ways of teachings as pioneered by early Christian missionaries when setting the schools. See what had happened to premier schools such as St. Thomas and St. Joseph in Kuching. Are they still Christian mission’s schools?

I still remember when I got my education in a Christian school, we had prayers everyday before classes and it seems that, this is no more practised. A few days ago, my teacher who is now retired, came to my house for the Chinese New year told me that she was very sad that the authorities had turned many mission schools into Sekolah Kebangsaan and according to her, religion was always important to build a student’s character to always do the right thing.

Now, as a politician, I have to ponder what will happen to our society when students who left school would not always do the right thing. The answer could be that, there could be more crimes, drugs, disrespect to elders, laziness, unfriendly attitude towards others and lack of sense of justice and equality. There will also be lack of conscience in dealing with people and life and there will also be sheer greed for property, which, in the end will destroy this society.

Let us as civic minded society not forget what would happen if the rights enshrined in the Constitution are not protected. It will one day bring the country in chaos. We need to remind ourselves the recent incident in Korea where an old man burnt down a 600-year-old gate, known as Namdaemun or “Great South Gate” which was constructed in 1398 and designated as Korea’s number one treasure because the old man was angry about inadequate government compensation for redevelopment of his residential area.

If such an incident could happen in Korea, then, there is no reason that this may not happen in Malaysia. We should not forget the ugly incident some years ago in Ulu Niah that cost the lives of some people who protected their property when the BN government was helpless. We also don’t want longhouses such as the longhouse of Rh. Nyawin in Bintulu, being forcefully pulled down by the government without going to court and without providing them alternative shelter.

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