JOAS’s press statement:
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia Press Release (JOAS) – Indigenous representatives denied used of public hall to meet with SUHAKAM
11 December 2010
MIRI – The Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS) representatives today were denied the use of the Petronas Games Village Hall by the officers of Dewan Suarah Miri for a consultation with the Commissioners from the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), citing reasons that it was a directive from the higher authorities.
According to Christina David, who is one of the organising committee members for the event said that the Dewan Suarah officers only told her that the venue cannot be used yesterday when the day before they said the booking was already confirmed.
“We have already made a booking with the Dewan Suarah officers a month ago and everything was fine until yesterday morning when they called and told us that we cannot use the Petronas Games Village Hall.” said Christina.
When Christina asked for the reason of the cancellation the Dewan Suarah officer said that it was a directive from the top and only after pressing them for answers, the Dewan Suarah officer gave the reason that the government wants to use the hall and the government has priority over other bookings.
According to Mark Bujang, who is also one of the organising committee member said that the Dewan Suarah officers were not doing things according to proper procedures.
“The booking has been made and confirmed one month ago, but why only during the eleventh hour they suddenly just call us and tell us that we cannot use the hall and giving us lame excuses that it is a directive from the top?
“This is not fair and it looks as if there are some unseen hands here that are trying to sabotage our meeting with SUHAKAM”, said Mark.
JOAS feels that this is an act of intimidation by the Sarawak Government to deny the right of the indigenous representatives to meet and have a dialogue with SUHAKAM.
Adrian Lasimbang, President of JOAS said that JOAS consultation with SUHAKAM is an important process to look into the problems faced by the indigenous peoples of Malaysia especially with regards to their rights to customary land.
“The authorities should have not intervene and deny us the use of a public facility but instead they should have given us full support to proceed with this consultation and not cause us unnecessary inconveniences”, said Adrian.
JOAS is having a consultation with SUHAKAM on the National Inquiry on the land rights of Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia. The meeting is schedule to take place today at the Petronas Games Village, however with the cancellation of the venue JOAS is forced to look for another venue and they manage to get the Miri Red Crescent Hall to proceed with the consultation meeting.
SUHAKAM is being represented by their commissioner, Mohammad Sha’ani Abdullah.
The Petronas Games Village is managed by the Dewan Suarah Miri, which comes under the Sarawak Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation.
Press Statement issued by:
For more information please contact Adrian Lasimbang at 0138737676