Minggat anak Nyakin who has a parcel of NCR land at Sungai Rotan and Sungai Penyaru Kuba (Kiba) found out the hard and excruciatingly painful way that standing up for his rights is no easy task and which almost cost him his life.
On the evening of 14th February 2011, he and his son Juan were bashed-up at a timber log-pond in Sungai Rusa, Sarikei Division in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Although badly hurt, his son managed to escape in the darkness towards a nearby oil-palm plantation, while his father was left dying, unconscious at the foot-steps of the log-pond manager’s office.
Prior to the incident, Minggat and Juan had gone to their land to check on the outcome of an alleged illegal logging over that land which they had previously reported for investigation to the Police, the Lands and Survey Department as well as the Public Works Department back in December 2010.
Upon finding that the logging has continued seemingly unabated, they decided to drop by the log-pond late that Monday evening and tried negotiating for compensation with its manager. The negotiation went sour and before Minggat and his son could leave the office building, they were initially attacked viciously at its footsteps.
Minggat and Juan are now admitted at the Sarikei Hospital, with the police guarding them as they are both being remanded.
Regardless of any wrong-doings or crimes that Minggat or his son may have committed, the source of the problem has yet to be investigated satisfactorily by the authorities. Minggat’s family agree that Minggat should be fairly investigated, and so does the timber company that has been operating for many years on NCR lands allegedly without a relevant or valid licence.
The alleged illegal logging seems to be proceeding unhindered thus far. A police report has been lodged by Minggat’s wife yesterday on 16th February regarding the attack. The attackers have not been arrested.
As of today, the name of the timber company which owns the log-pond remains unknown to the rest of us, while there is no telling when investigations will be made on Minggat’s and his son’s attackers. What is certain is that Minggat and Juan will remain hospitalized for a few more days or even weeks. Today, their pain is too debilitating for them to even ponder what they will do next.