Sebangan is located in the State of Sarawak, Malaysia.

Numpang Suntai and 14 others, representing 276 Iban families from the 15 longhouse communities of Kampung Entanggor, Ensika, Lumut, Arus Dayak, Tongkah Dayak, Tongkah Dayak Lubuk Manta, Tongkah Dayak Atas, Tongkah Dayak Rumah Panjai, Lunying, Belimbing Besi, Ketimbong and Bajong Ili, Bajong Ili Atas, Bajong Ili Tengah, Bajong Ili Baruh, all situated at Sebangan, Simunjan, Sarawak, filed their civil suit at the Kuching High Court on November 1st, 2010.

This case was heard at Kuching High Court on August 8th though August 19th 2011. This civil court proceeding is far from over. It is to continue on November 8th through 11th, 2011 and will reconvene again on December 19 through December 23rd, 2011.

Named as defendants in the civil suit are Quality Concrete Sdn Bhd the timber concession holder, Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd the logging contractor, 2 government appointed community leaders Penghulu Merum anak Babu and Ketua Kampung Agu anak Kaleng, together with the Director of Foresty and the Sarawak State Government.

The Sebuyau and Sebangan Ibans still need your moral and financial support to fight against illegal loggers. Your contributions will pay for the legal expenses and the cost of transportation, lodging, and food for Sebangan villagers who will be attending the proceedings in Kuching.

We desperately need your support to save our NCR heritages and our prestine environment from further destruction. If we lost this case, we will lost our land and forest to timber tycoons and oil palm plantation owners. Losing this case is losing our life line, our means of survival. Without our land and forests, we the Dayaks, the natives of Borneo, we have nothing.

In the USA please e-mail for postal address and other information. Or you can use Pay Pal by clicking Donate and you can use any credit cards to donate on-line. Thank you for you donations and support.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The Sebangan Seven that were jailed on From October 22nd to 25th 2010.  Out of the seven that were jailed, only Numpang is being charged, not for arson but for intimidation. 

High Court clarifies Numpang’s case

Posted on May 26, 2011, Thursday
KUCHING: The High Court has clarified that the case of Numpang Suntai was not fixed for hearing of appeal on Tuesday, but was called to accommodate the request of the respondent’s  counsel See Chee How who wanted to strike out the appeal.

However, when the case was called up, the necessary papers were not filed, the High Court said yesterday through a statement.

In respect of the other two so-called adjournments, it clarified that the case was only for monitoring purposes and not for hearing of appeal.

Numpang was discharged and acquitted from a criminal intimidation charge last March as the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

However, the prosecution subsequently filed an appeal to the Hight Court against the magistrates’ court order.

Numpang was alleged to have intimidated timber workers in the Sebangan-Sebuyau area last October.
Criminal intimidation comes under Section 503 of the Penal Code and it provides a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment or a fine or both.

The court proceeding will be held again on July 18.
High Court adjourns appeal hearing
by Anasathia Jenis Posted on May 25, 2011, Wednesday
Counsel YB See Chee How, Numpang and our 90 year old father, Suntai Bichu

KUCHING: The High Court here yesterday adjourned an appeal hearing against the discharge and acquittal of a self-declared native customary rights (NCR) land defender from criminal intimidation.
Numpang Suntai, appeared before Judicial Commissioner Ravinthran N Paramaguru who re-fixed the hearing for July 18.
The court was informed by the prosecution that the grounds of appeal were not ready for submission into court.
Numpang has been charged for allegedly intimidating timber camp workers at 2.45pm on Oct 18 last year in the Sebangan-Sebuyau area.
He subsequently appeared before a Simunjan magistrates’ court last December.
Numpang was discharged and acquitted from the offence last March as the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Criminal intimidation comes under Section 503 of the Penal Code, which provides a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment or a fine or both.
Numpang was among seven people, including the village headman, arrested to assist a police probe into cases involving alleged arson and criminal damage to property.
The villagers claimed that the company had encroached on their NCR land for logging.
Yesterday was the third time the hearing was postponed due to a technicality.
Counsel See Chee How said such delays were unfair to the respondent because it cost time and money.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NCR activist’s case postponed again as police not ready

Joseph Tawie

 | May 24, 2011
Taken from Free Malaysia Today
Is the police giving native NCR land activist, Numpang Suntai, the runaround due to the involvement of a logging company belongng to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's sister Raziah?
KUCHING: An activist and a defender of native customary rights (NCR) land, Numpang Suntai, is upset at being given the runaround by the police and the courts.
For the third time today, the Kuching High Court had allowed for a postponement because the police had failed yet again to prepare their appeal against him.

Numpang, who wasn’t alone in court, was accompanied by 100 other native land owners who had travelled all the way from Sebangan, Simunjan some 150 kilometres from here to the Kuching High Court only to be told yet again that the case was not ready for hearing.

According to Numpang’s counsel See Chee How, Numpang and his supporters are “not happy with the continuous delay of the case,”

“This is the third delay which is caused by the fact that the letter of appeal is yet to be prepared,” See said.
Numpang was first asked by the police to appear in the Kuching High Court on April 8. But when he appeared in the court that morning, he was told the letter of appeal was not ready.

Two weeks ago he was again asked to appear before the court, and again the letter of appeal was not yet prepared and served on him or his lawyers.

“This morning the same thing happened again,” said See.

According to See, Judge Ravinthran N Paramaguru postponed the case to July 18, 2011.
“It is most unfair for Numpang who came all the way from Sebangan in Simunjan to Kuching. Again for the third time the letter of appeal is yet to be prepared and to be served on him or his lawyers,” said See.

Criminal intimidation

The police had appealed against a decision by Magistrate Sharizat Ismail who ruled that the prosecution had failed to put up a prima facie case against Numpang who was charged for criminal intimidation.

The case which was heard on March 9 at the Simunjan district court was brought against him by logging company, Quality Concrete Holdings, owned by chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s sister Raziah.

Numpang, a native activist and a defender of NCR land was arrested on Oct 22, 2010 together with another well-known activist Nicholas Mujah and five longhouse chiefs in connection with a fire that occurred on Oct 18, 2010.

The fire had allegedly destroyed the campsite of a logging company, Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd, a contractor of the licence-holder Quality Concrete Holdings.

In that fire, six tractors, two logging trucks, a pick-up and excavator were damaged. The company estimated its losses to be worth more than RM2 million.

The seven were detained for three days at the Simunjan Police station, but were later released on police bail of RM1,000 each.

However, only Numpang was charged, not for causing fire but for criminal intimidation.

Quality Concrete Holdings has been in the centre of the dispute after the State Forest Department issued it a licence to carry out logging in 3,305 hectares of forest which the natives claimed to be part of their NCR land.

The company then handed over the contract works to Loyal Billion to extract timber believed to be among the best rainforest species in Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Numpang and the NCR landowners have already filed a civil suit against Quality Concrete Holding for allegedly encroaching into their NCR land. The case is expected to be heard on August 8, 2011

My comment:  There is nothing fair about this Barisan Nasional Government. They are punishing my brother and I hope they will get their dues some day. What goes around, comes around. We called it karma.

If the prosecutor could not prepare the case, the case should be dismissed and the prosecutor who is always not ready, should be fired from his job.

Is the Barisan Nasional Administration concerned about fairness and justice or fair play? Is the court only open for the convenience of the prosecutor and his politcal masters? They are abusing their power to prosecute any natives who dare to take a stand against the destruction of our NCR lands and forests. Rules of laws do not apply to the powerful people in this administration. They want natives to take this kind of injustice and abuse lying down and not fight back! They want to take all the valuable trees and decimated our forests. Well, I am not taking this lying down!

Monday, May 23, 2011



Today, 24th of May, 2011, for the Sixth time my brother, Numpang Suntai appeared in court.  However, it is not OVER.  The judge did not make any ruling and the case is to be determined at another date.  Obviously, the prosecutor is playing with the court at tax payers expenses.

The charge against my brother, Numpang Anak Suntai for intimidation was thrown out of court on Thursday, March 10th, 2011.  Numpang was discharged and acquitted by the Magistrate who ruled that the prosecution had failed to make up a prima facie case against him. We breath a sigh of relief and thought we could live free from harrassment and intimdation and get on with our lives. 

We were wrong!  The prosecutor had appealed.  My brother Numpang Suntai was told to appear at Kuching High Court of Appeal on April 10th 2011 and he did but the prosecutor was not there.  The mention was then scheduled for May 10th, 2011.

On May 10th, 2011 at 9:00 AM, Numpang Suntai together with his lawyers, YB See Chee How and Desmond Kho,  appeared before High Court Registrar Zubaidah Zharkawi as ordered but the case was far from over.  The High Court scheduled May 24th to decide whether to dismiss the prosecutor’s appeal against the discharge and acquittal of my brother, Numpang Suntai, from the charge of intimidation.

As you can recall, my brother Numpang Suntai had led a number of Native landowners, had urged the company, Loyal Bullion,who was extracting timber for another firm, Quality Concrete, claming to have been given the permit to exploit timber from an area of forests (pemakai menoa) owned by the Natives of Sebangan, to leave the area.  For that kind advice, Numpang was charged for intimidation.
As the workers were allegedly paid by the companies with connection to the Chief Minister’s sister Roziah, this case was classified as a high profile case. As such the Police had to act and they did arrest my brother and 6 others to include five village headmen.  They were jailed for 3 days.

To prosecute just for the purpose of prosecuting in order to please certain people, however powerful they may be, is wasting a lot of tax payers’ money, not to mention the appearance of targeted prosecution of my brother because he fights to keep our Native Customary Rights lands and forest in Ulu Sebangan from further encroachment and destruction.

The standard test in criminal cases is that guilt must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt but they continue to prosecute my brother anyway and May 24th will be his 6th appearance in court. 

Numpang said “They are the ones who use the gangsters to intimidate us, they are the ones who utilise the police to harass us.  “And yet I am the one who is going to be charged for criminal intimidation,” Numpang told the press.

“Within (our NCR) area, there are pulau galau, forests that have been deliberately preserved for future generations in "pemakai menoa" (our territory). I have every right, like anybody else, to (talk about) and fight for the rights of everybody in the area,” he explained.

He added that the fight was all about ensuring what has been theirs for generations, their native customary rights remain with them. “If all that’s taken from us, we don’t have anything,” he said.

Numpang pointed out that the issue was not specific to Sebangan , but all of Sarawak, from Lundu to Lawas,(whether) Malay, Lun Bawang, Kayan, Kenyah, Iban, it doesn’t matter.

“It stems from the simple fact of how the country is administered, how laws are made…<strong>I don’t like being locked up in jail, I don’t like to do a blockade up in the mountain, not enough food, not enough sleep, but the strength I have comes from the fact that I know I am doing the correct thing.”

Numpang Suntai's Professional Background

Numpang Suntai is the Principal Consultant of HSE Focus.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree, majoring in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, Australia in 1978.

Prior to establishing HSE Focus, he was with the Sarawak Shell Berhad from 1987 until his natural retirement in January 2010. Numpang had held a number of supervisory and management positions in that company, the last being the Regional Team Leader for HSE Control Framework Implementation for Shell Exploration & Production Asia Pacific region. Amongst others, the role included being the Senior Advisor for contractor HSE management for the region. This was from 2005 until January 2010. In addition in the period 2000 until 2003, Numpang successfully managed a number of production operations and engineering maintenance contracts worth US$80m for Sarawak Shell Berhad. These roles covered the entire span of contract management from identification of contract needs, development of contracting strategy, tender management including bid evaluations, post award contract management and until close-out of contracts.

Numpang is a registered Professional Engineer with the Board of Engineers, Malaysia and a Corporate Member of the Institute of Engineers, Malaysia. He is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He authored and presented a paper on Managing Contractor HSE in Shell E&P Asia Pacific (SPE 108879) at the Society of Petroleum Engineers HSE Conference at Bangkok in September 2007 and then in the Pertamina HSE Conference at Semarang, Indonesia in June 2008.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Iban Kepapas or Binking towards each other - Envy, Selfish and Jealousy

I am the baby sitting on my mother's lap.  My brother Numpang was not born.
In his blog Dr. John Brian Anthony wrote “By our environment I see that we are exchanging our community strength into individual living. People are still living in the longhouse but instead of being competitive in our approach to earning our living we prefer do display or make known to others that we are better than them. That attracts jealousy and that make people more selfish.”

Sorry, I tend to disagree with that statement. I am not responsible for their way of thinking and why should I feel guilty because my life is better than theirs? I know what it was like to be poor and living in a hut made of tree barks and “atap apong.” My parents worked hard to educate us. We worked hard to be where we are today. “Kepapas” have been in existence since the beginning of time. I am not going to tolerate any form of gossips about my brother after what he had gone through! Nothing come easy or free and we have to work for everything we got in life. Why do Ibans get away with blaming others for their own bad behaviors and way of life?

I did not grow up in a longhouse. Our longhouse was dismantled when folks decided to live on their own plot of lands for easy commute to their farms.

I remember my mother told me the story of living in the longhouse that if you went out hunting and bagged a wild boar, the meat was shared equally among the folks in the longhouse. My father loved to hunt and one of the few men who managed to bring meat to the longhouse. My mother told me after a while she felt resentful because they started to depend on my father for their supply of wild boar meat. My mother said that some men were lazy and did nothing all day but took for granted the steady supply of meat. Once my parents moved out of the longhouse, they no longer shared the meat with all the longhouse folks and they started to badmouth my father for being selfish and not sharing the meat with them.

During the colonial days, my father used to go to the district office to pay his “chukai tanah.” He remembered how the office workers talked down to him. He told himself that one day when he has children, he would make sure his children would go to school and get a good education and be sitting in an office like these folks. Instead of raving and ranting how shabbily he was treated and threatening to shoot someone, my father used the episode as an inspiration to do better with his life.

When I was young, I heard one of my uncles telling everyone that he was going to make 5 ribu ringgit from the sale of his pepper and he turned around to my father and said, “Suntai, nuan nadai kala meda duit nyampau nya.” That is to say that my father never seen that much money. Instead of raving and ranting and calling him “kurang ajar” we kept quiet and felt inspired. I swore that I too would be able to make 5 ribu ringgit one day.

In the good old days, my folks raised hogs. It was one of my chores to chop “keladi” and bath the hogs by carrying buckets of water from the river! I remember how itchy it was when the keladi saps trickled on my back as I was carrying it home in the rain. Every 6 months or so, my father would load the hogs on a boat and “bedayong” to Sarikei to sell the pigs. After a trip to Sarikei, he would come home with a wad of money. Just before harvest, many folks would borrow money from my father and after the harvest they paid him back with rice. After a while we had nice pile of rice.

I also remembered the grief stricken look on my mother’s face when she found out 4 of our hogs were dead, rat poisoned by our own relatives!

There are good people and there are bad people. People who bad mouthing others and kepapas, do not take responsibility for their own actions and always come up with all kind of creative reasons for behaving the way they do. They love to do the finger pointing not realizing that their other three fingers are pointing at themselves. I remember how SNAP officers blaming PKR and BN for their loss in the last election but did not take responsibility of their own words and press releases.

As the case in with my relatives in Sebangan, many of them sided with the logging company and secretly went to Sibu to be wined and dined and later signed the “Surat Penjanjian” to sell off their rights to the lands but felt insulted when someone told them that they had sold off their NCR lands and forests in Ulu Sebangan. This fight against logging company has gone on for over a year and none of these who bad mouthed my brother ever interested in taking part in the community meetings or with the blockades, except to grab the 250 ringgit as fast as they could. About 90 of them regretted it and complained to the Police. Others did not until they heard about the civil suit asking compensation for damages and loss of timber. The ones who complained the loudest are the ones who did the least! They blamed my brother to justify for their own bad behaviors.

My brother is not a saint but he does not deserve the meanest being directed at him and his wife for things that were fabricated in their own heads. What kind of Iban would dare someone to rape my sister-in-law? My brother did not volunteer to be the leader but members from 11 villages voted for him to lead them in their fight against the logging company. Yes, my brother was asked to contest in the last election but we fully understood how easy it is for fellow Ibans to turn on each other like a pack of hungry wolves!

Personally, I feel the Ibans who are “kepapas” and bad mouthed others, are usually not too well informed, not too successful in life and internally a very angry person. As a result they have very low self esteem and because they think so low of themselves, they also perceive others as “thinking low” of them. Unfortunately they gossip a lot and find fault with others who have a much better life than them. This way they feel empowered for being able to take down a person’s good name and reputation, a notch or two. Remember what they said about gossip? Gossips are malicious and gather strength with age and the more it is quoted, the more it is believed.

Kepapas and selfishness is a universal disease that afflicts every level of society and not just us Ibans. It so much more obvious in such a closed knit society like us Ibans in Sarawak.  It hurts and saddens me more than I can say.

NOTE:  When I was a broadcaster for Radio and Televison Malaysia, I used to know just about every civil service folks from Lundu to Lawas.
   As a reporter, I used to cover many of the ministers' trips to the rural areas.

Friday, May 20, 2011

At High Court with YB Chang Lih Kang from Perak on May 10th 2011

YB See Chee How, Nicholas Mujah, Helen, Numpang, My Father YB Chang Lih Kang

Numpang Suntai Press Conference with YB Chang Lih Kang from Perak

Numpang and YB Chang Lih Kang and his entourage from Perak

Numpang Suntai and YB Chang Lih Kang

Lawyer YB See Chee How, YB Chang Lih Kang and friends from Perak 

Numpang Suntai's High Court Appearance on May 10th 2011

Numpang to know outcome of prosecution’s appeal on May 24
Posted on May 11, 2011, Wednesday
Taken from Borneo Post

STRONG SUPPORT: See (second left), Numpang (sixth left) and Chan (fourth right) outside the courthouse complex.
KUCHING: The High Court here yesterday fixed May 24 to decide whether to dismiss the prosecutor’s appeal against the discharge and acquittal of a self-declared Native Customary Rights (NCR) land defender Numpang Suntai from the charge of intimidation.
Yesterday Numpang appeared before High Court Registrar Zubaidah Zharkawi who adjourned the case after receiving submission of replies from Numpang.
He was represented by Counsel See Chee How.
After the court proceeding, See related that they had not received the hardcopy of the notice of appeal from the prosecution side.
Instead they were told by the police through the telephone, he added.
“Numpang was only told to attend the court for mention of his case through the phone. Initially, we did not even know what they were appealing for,” See said.
Numpang allegedly intimidated timber camp workers at Sebangan Sebuyau area at 2.45pm on Oct 18 last year.
Then in March, Simunjan Magistrate Court discharged and acquitted him because the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Criminal intimidation comes under Section 506 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum seven years’ imprisonment or with fine, or both, upon conviction.
Numpang was also among seven others who were arrested early last year when they were said to have set up a blockade at the area to
stop the logging company workers to extract logs from their land.
However, the rest were freed and he was the only person charged.
Apart from See, who is Batu Lintang assemblyman, Teja (West Malaysia) assemblyman Chan Lih Kang who is also Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) supreme council member was also present at the courthouse.