Suspects involved in Niah plantation assault to be charged

Peter John Jaban

By S. Harrish

SEVERAL men alleged to be involved in the brutal assault of a man at the entrance of an oil palm plantation in Niah, Miri, are expected to be charged in court next week.

In a video that is being circulated in social media, the 22-year old victim, said to be mentally unstable, is seen being brutally beaten up by several men.

The Malaysian Corruption Watch (MCW) said it will closely monitor the case and update several interest groups including UNHCR, Suaram and Suhakam.

MCW representative Peter John Jaban said this was to monitor how Borneo folks received justice and to see whether they are protected.

“I think it’s crucial that we take a look at this case where I’ll prepare a high level report to be submitted to international human rights groups,” said the Borneo human rights activist.

In a statement, Jaban also called on the authorities to verify the immigration and employment status of the attackers.

He said the Niah incident came less than two months after the murder of a native community leader Albert Agang in Sabah.

The suspect is still at large but has been identified as one who is under restricted residence.

Jaban said the video was disturbing as the mob, one of whom is armed with a stick, set upon the youth, who makes no attempt to retaliate even as they rained kicks and punches on him.

“In the video, two men wearing “Polis Bantuan” can be seen finally intervening to allow the victim to leave.

“Violence from plantation company security against local communities was at one time almost commonplace in Sarawak but it has died down in recent years.”

He said the “Polis Bantuan” has also long been a source of confusion for the rural folk.

“How can the villagers have trust in the police with events like this?” he asked.

Jaban, who is a founder of Persatuan Etnik Dayak Sarawak (DRAF) and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination & Liberation, said Sarawakians should not live in fear of violence by organised groups of ‘ruffians’.