Monday, March 24, 2008

ISSUE OF POLITICAL MORALITY ON BN GOVERNMENT’S OCCUPATION OF MILLAH’S LAND

Figure 1: Guard House at St. Martin



Figure 2: Administrative Block of St. Martin


Figure 3: St. Martin - The condition of Block Pentadbiran



Figure 4: St. Martin - Another Block Pentadbiran


Figure 5: St. Martin - A Classroom Block


Figure 6: Block Pentadbiran



Figure 7: St. Martin - Staff Carpark

Figure 8: St. Martin - Toilets



Figure 9: Gate of SK Jalan Muara Tuang



Figure 10: SK Jalan Muara Tuang - Guard House


Figure 11: School Block of SK Jalan Muara Tuang


Figure 12 SK Jalan Muara Tuang - Staff Quarters



See the difference between the two schools, SK St. Martin and SK Jalan Muara Tuang?Why the BN government didn't take care of SK. St. Martin where most students were Dayaks. The "ALL SAINTS' CHAPEL", which was said existed at Millah's land was gone. There was no explanation of the missing of the chapel. This definitely was not the work of David Copperfield!!!




73 years old Millah anak Kitat, who was unmarried and unemployed with no source of income and property except for a piece of 12-acre land which she inherited from her late father came to seek my help to assist her to reclaim her land from the BN government after her effort for the past over twenty years failed. Millah and her nephew had sought the assistance and advice of many influential people including YBs of the ruling BN including those from the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) failed to have the land returned to her. Millah also could not get compensation paid to her for the use of the land by the BN government where a government school, Sekolah Kebangsaan St.Martin, had been built on the land. Her uncle, Datuk Ramsay Jitam, who was a former State Assistant Minister from the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party also could not assist her. Most of those whom Millah or her nephew approached advised them to surrender the land back to the government as a national school had been built on the land. With no income, Millah was therefore living on the generosity of her nephew and some close relatives. Millah also could not have her rights determined by the courts as Millah could not afford their fees.

Millah wanted the land back because it also hurt her when she discovered that a chapel, “ALL SAINTS’ CHAPEL” which her late father allowed to be built had been demolished. Who, when and why the chapel was demolished was not known and nobody including the authorities could give Millah any information at all. The will of Millah’s late father to spread the Christian faith had been destroyed!

Millah came to see me through her nephew and as YB, I see it as a political responsibility for me to help her. It is a political responsibility as right to property and freedom of religion are protected by the Federal Constitution. As a YB I had to hold true to my oath of office, that is, to protect and to uphold both the Federal and State Constitutions when I took oath in the Dewan Undangan Negeri.

My series of negotiations with the relevant authorities and government officers also failed to have the land returned to Millah or that Millah be allowed some compensation as she also badly needed money to upkeep her health. Upon Millah’s instruction, suits were filed in court and before the matter could be arbitrated by the court, the government moved the students to a nearby school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Muara Tuang, which was about three kilometers from Millah’s land. The school I was told had better facilities equipped with computers in which Sekolah Kebangsaan St. Martin did not.


TOLD NOT TO CONTEST
However, during the election campaign, the DAP after the State Committee meeting in Sibu issued a statement that I have to face the matter alone if attacked by political opponents on St.Martin issue in the event the national leadership allows me to go down to contest. I had no choice, but, was prepared to swim on my own in this dangerous water! Of course such a course of action was contrary to my training I had in the Police Force in which it was not for any one to abandon each other when under attack by the enemies! In politics, I think, this was the way things should be handled so that others not get hurt!

Some senior leaders of my Party also suggested that I give up from contesting due to this St. Martin issue. I was confused and so the many party supporters and party members who wanted me to contest the Stampin Parliamentary Seat as they knew that I had been working hard in the constituency in the past many years. To them, St. Martin was a non- issue that could negative impact on the voters. I was asked to give up contesting the seat, but, I could not betray my supporters and comrades who worked for me unless they wanted to dump me and the Party wanted to dump me too!

Things became very confused in my “Stampin Camp” just before Nomination Day when news went around to say that Stampin had been given up to PKR because of the St. Martin issue. The issues were first, could PKR deliver? Second, would St. Martin continue to haunt DAP during the election if DAP gives up Stampin to PKR? Third, the true reasons why Stampin should be given away to PKR? Fourth, in both camps, who were the negotiators and the terms reached. These answers were necessary to calm down the supporters so that proper explanation could be given to satisfy them and to prevent them from losing confidence in supporting DAP.


I was advised that as politician I should not have taken up the case and was told it was morally wrong to do so as I was the cause to close down the school! Senior leaders in the Party also was of the opinion that I caused the school to close down, not the BN government! What authority I had to close down the school? I pray that people need understand that only the government and the court have the authority to close down a school. The matter had yet been settled by the court and there was no order from the court to close down the school yet, why the government took the step to remove the students away from the school and caused it to close down? To me, it was a political strategy of the BN government of which SUPP is a component party to kill me off politically so that I no more able to help the people who wanted me to address their political plights. It was a vicious political strategy of these BN politicians including some those in SUPP!

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE OF CLOSING DOWN OF CHUNG HUA PRIMARY SCHOOL NO. 2 WITH ST. MARTIN?
I could not see any difference at all the issue of students in St. Martin and Chung Hua Primary School No. 2 in which the school was supported by SUPP leaders to be closed down and students be moved to a new school that will be built later. It was politically immoral for SUPP leaders chose to close down Chung Hua Primary School No. 2. There were also many Chinese schools closed down by the BN government in which leaders of SUPP kept quiet or agreed to.

School children from Chung Hua Primary School No. 2 will also have to travel very far away from their homes when they move to a new school and their parents will also incur extra expenses.

What I am concerned here again is this, that is, who will later on take over the land of this Chung Hua Primary School No.2 once it be demolished? What will also happen to the land? I am sure there are people already setting their eyes on the land and the Chinese community will again be made a fool if a five-star hotel will then rule the skyline on the land!


POLITICAL IMMORALITY OF PKR AND SUPP LEADERS
Some PKR leaders as opposition instead of working with me also helped SUPP leaders to attack my character to say that I had done an immoral thing to cause St. Martin to close down. To me, those in the SUPP and in PKR who attacked me on the issue were all morally wrong not to support me in the fight for the right of Millah who had been deprived the use of her land. It was also morally wrong for them not wanting to fight for the right of the Christians in the area to propagate their religion. Their prayer house, ALL SAINTS’ CHAPEL had also been demolished and these PKR and SUPP leaders just kept quiet! They were a bunch of immorals because they had cheated the people by not holding to their oath of office to protect and to uphold the Constitutions which they swore when they took their oath of office. The oath taken by them as YBs were the same as mine and they had cheated the people by not protecting people’s right to property when right to property and freedom of religion which should be protected by the Federal Constitution were not protected by them.

They had no political morality at all when they could not hold their heads high to protect these rights enshrined in the Constitution. Again, the Constitution provides that funds should come from the authorities for the purpose of maintaining education and it is politically immoral for YBs to beg funds from members of the public to build school as begging money for schools are not provided for in the Federal Constitution!

Is it not against political morality when government took or used people’s land without compensation? Therefore, to those in PKR and SUPP who supported this, they were all political immorals. They could not see the protection of rights as enshrined in the Constitution. As politicians, they should also look back into history that many countries collapsed or the political systems in their countries were in chaos with bloodsheds when their elected representatives failed to uphold their countries’ Constitutions!

It was also against political morality when the BN government and SUPP leaders failed to solve the problem of St. Martin. The government had sat on the issue for too long and could easily have settled it by acquiring Millah’s land by way of rentals or payment of compensation. The government instead, had mismanaged people’s money by spending people’s money on unnecessary mega projects and by spending millions of ringgits in sending a medical doctor who had no space science degree to space and who also served no purpose after coming back to earth!

In the past more than thirty years since occupying Millah’s land, BN government could have easily build at least 20-30 St.Matin schools if the BN government had wanted to do so to solve the problem, but, the BN government did not want to do so. SUPP just pretend not to know about the matter, not until this matter was taken up by me.


ISLAMIC STATE
BN government led by Dr. Mahathir had declared Malaysia as an Islamic State and this was repeated by DPM Najib. Our present Prime Minster, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had also said that Malaysia is an Islamic country. SUPP being a component party in BN never opposed this. They could not oppose, otherwise, they could have been kicked out from the BN government. Are not PKR and SUPP leaders aware that while Islam is our official religion, the Federal Constitution did not say that Malaysia is an Islamic State? If Malaysia is an Islamic State, is not St. Martin School an Islamic state government school? What happened to Christian schools in Sarawak now? What happened to schools like St. Thomas, St. Joseph, St. Teresa and St. Mary in Kuching now? They all became national schools by taking before them additional name, “Sekolah Kebangsaan” where the medium of instructions are in the malay language. Are they still Christians schools? Are they not government schools in an Islamic State? If they are still Christian schools, are they not schools in an Islamic State? Why SUPP and PKR had kept quiet?

Are not SUPP and PKR propagating Malaysia as an Islamic State?


MORALITY OF LAWYER-POLITICIANS
Comrade Chong Chieng Jen, also voiced the issue of morality in me taking the St. Martin case in the press. DAP believes in the freedom of expression within the perimeters of the law. To him, I should have refrained from taking the case. However, to this I need to make a stand. Millah was a poor old lady who was refused help by influential people and lawyers whom Millah approached. She was illiterate, poor and unemployed and I took pity and offered help to fight as I believed in helping the small and downtrodden people when their rights were transgressed and when their religion had been threatened.

I am to clarify here that I am not a lawyer-politician who believe in helping commercial banks to issue eviction order and to auction the houses of people like many lawyer- politicians did which resulted in miseries to families of these people and their children who had to leave their homes when banks took possession of their houses. If one says that as an opposition lawyer-politician I should not take Millah’s case, then, there is also no difference with other opposition lawyer-politicians who helped the banks to evict people from their homes when mortgages not paid! Their doings caused many to go bankrupt and families quarreled among each other.

In the years of my practice, I never helped the banks on the simple reason that these banks were powerful institutions as they have money and money is power and that most of these banks were supporters of BN government or belonged to BN politicians or their cronies! So to me, opposition lawyer-politician should for purpose of political morality not touch such cases at all! It is an improper political conduct to help our opponent.

Likewise, when one talks about political morality then one would wonder whether it was against political morality for lawyer-politicians like Karpal Singh to defend cases like dangerous drugs trafficking cases given the fact that dangerous drugs traffickers caused the increase of crimes, the loss of many lives and broken homes of many families?

As far as I know there are lawyer-politicians defending suspects caught for gaming including illegal lotteries. It was a known fact that gaming caused many social ills where loan sharks do good business and people cheat to win and families not properly fed and taken care of and broken homes were common with many wives and young girls being forced to become prostitutes to help feed their families. Is this not a political morality an issue here for a lawyer-politicians taking up such cases?

RIGHT TO BE DEFENDED
I would say a person has a right to be defended when charged in court and a person also has a right to protect his property when his property has been transgressed. This is a universal rule and this was also derived from the Bible! It was stated in the Bible that when God told Adam and Eve not to pluck and eat the forbidden fruits in the Garden of Eden, God was protecting God’s own property by saying so. What God commanded Adam and Eve was law by itself that Adam and Eve should not steal God’s property, otherwise, punishment will follow.

When Adam and Eve was found to have plucked and eaten the forbidden fruits, God never straightaway punished them, but, allowed them to defend themselves by giving them the right to defend themselves and explain their action! Therefore, lawyers, be they politicians or not, it therefore to me, morally correct to defend and help people who sought their help. This is because like what was allowed by God to Adam and Eve, they have a right to be defended although they could have committed the crime. To me, what Karpal Singh did was perfectly correct because God allows people to protect and to defend their own right and property.

It is also morally right for lawyer-politicians to protect the property rights of people as like what God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruits as Law, such property rights were as protected in our Law and therefore, this right must be protected. It is morally wrong if help was not given by lawyer-politicians, especially, to poor persons in the position of Millah who had suffered so much under the BN government abuse of authority. The BN government is a mighty body against a weak person, and being a weak person, it was much more desirable that Millah’s right should be protected.

So if what I did was morally wrong in Millah’s case, then, I would also say that it would be also against political morality for Dominique Ng and Chee See How next time to defend squatter cases in government land. This is because as politicians they should not be seen given support or help to those who committed crime. Likewise, lawyer-politicians from SUPP, Alfred Yap and Chen Yee should also think of closing their legal firms if their legal business involve in recovering debts for banks from house buyers as by taking such cases for the banks, house buyers and their families may be affected by their action as they may be left in the cold winds to fend themselves where their lives may be in danger. By repossessing or auctioning their homes for the banks, they not only deprived them of a shelter, but, such action could also cause many social ills such as inviting loan sharking and gangsters to do dirty job for the banks. We also know many committed suicide when chased by the banks with the help of lawyers!


END RESULT OF MILLAH’S CASE
Some Party leaders even said that Millah’s case was a grave I dug myself and I could be buried alive politically, but, I never received such a warning from the voters. In fact, many landholders, Christians and people of other faiths met and phoned me to speak up the issue so that the public could know the evils done by this BN government and also the doings by some politicians in PKR and SUPP in supporting a morally wrong act by the government. Are these politicians also supported the church to be demolished? The government must also answer questions as why, when and by whom ALL SAINTS’ CHAPEL had been demolished.

I humbly believe that the Christian community was angry when they discovered that their prayer house had been demolished. People of other faiths also expressed the same and I think Millah’s case helped me to obtain many votes despite gangsters were used by the opponents to threaten my party workers and voters. My votes increased to nearly 50% from the last time I contested against the incumbent in 2004. The incumbent only got an increment of about 3% votes and if Millah’s case, did not help then, Chee See How, would not have lost his deposit.

At the same time, many people were also not happy that some leaders of PKR and SUPP were like professional beggars begging for people’s money for the purpose of education, when funds for education and maintenance of schools should come from the government. They could not understand why these leaders have to dig people’s pocket, especially at this time when most families already felt the pinch of inflation although soliciting funds from public for the purpose of education and schools should be a good deed. People told me that they felt bad if they did not oblige to the begging of these politicians and so they had no choice, but, to cough out some money from their pocket for this purpose.

During the campaign period, people also voiced concern the lack of transparency of money collected from members of the public for Chinese schools by many leaders of PKR and SUPP. They wanted to know from whom the money were collected and this must be made public as they were afraid that the amount publicized in the press may not reflect the true amount collected.

Recently, PKR had collected more than RM300,000-00 for Chinese schools in Kuching, and the public wanted to know from where and whom PKR could collect such a huge amount of money. They asked me whether this money could have come from SUPP of from government grants channeled through PKR to Chinese schools. Since these are all issue of public morality, PKR and SUPP must answer these queries to the public.





6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Voon,

We all know that what you are fighting for Millah is good. What you did are both legally and ethically right! We all know that when the government take ppl's land without paying a single cent, it is totally against the law.
In the federal constitution, it is accorded that the citizens are guaranteed freedom, fundamental rights and freedom of owning a property!
I am proud of having you as my wakil rakyat, who is also the defender of justice, freedom and equality!
Let alone those who criticise you openly and in the back, ignore them! Keep fighting!

DAP Stampin Supporter

Anonymous said...

You have my utmost respect as a Lawyer.

Anonymous said...

There is a Big difference between a Lawyer and a Politician.

civic said...

YB Voon,
I strongly believe your defeat in Stampin was mainly due to PKR attacks, plus St Martin issue.
PKR has became anti-Opposition in Sarawak mainly in Stampin, Sibu and Sarikei, and generally this had caused the entire Sarawak opposition parties losing the momentum of united opposition power, as what we can see in West Malaysia.

Looking at the state election is coming soon and the preparation must well started ASAP, the coalition is indeed necessary to ensure the BIG win of opposition!
Otherwise, I foresee DAP can only look at retaining the current number of seats or less, which I believe still not strong enough to voice out in DUN (with so much restrictions).

Sincerely hope for a non-BN Sarawak government in the next state election!

Mr. Family said...

For my friend called 'anonymous', I think you should consider joining DAP. Kindly call YB Voon. Don't be a 'silent majority'. I too already joint DAP. Since you always online and visiting blogs, you may able to help DAP on the log online information search. Don't have time? Make some up la friend.

VOON LEE SHAN said...

PKR seemed had lost direction and did not know their political foes were BN-SUPP. Maybe,they seemed only interested to see DAP wiped out first and tackle BN later.If this persist, we forsee difficulties in having some cooperation with PKR in the near future if no change forthcoming.

DAP needs you all to fill in the vacum and inside the Sarawak DAP we hope be able to inject Bumi people to join the Party. We must change and and I hope the Party will grow stronger soon.