MIRI (Bernama) – The police have denied using excessive force and direspecting the Iban traditional ceremony, ‘miring’ when solving a land dispute involving its owners and an oil palm plantation company in December last year.
Miri police chief ACP Gan Tian Kee said accusations to this effect by residents from the affected areas were untrue as the police had met them and given them two days to sort out the matter, apart from advising them not to take the law into their own hands, before eventually taking action on Dec 24.
“We have explained to them that what they were doing, namely the blockade, was against the law and if they wanted justice, they could bring the matter to the Federal Court so that action could be taken,” he told Bernama yetsterday. Gan said the residents had refused to heed his advice despite frequently advising them to take the matter to court.
“As for not respecting Iban adat, I strongly deny this…we gave them sufficient time to remove the blockade and they are using that (miring) as an excuse to prolong the blockade period,” he noted.
He said the police were not biased when taking action against them but acted within the law.
Gan was responding to a 2.38 minute-video clip which was widely circulated in Facebook, showing him removing the blockade on Dec 24, with the use of a hammer, which drew negative reaction from more than 100 netizens.
Coincidentally, longhouse residents from the affected areas from Rumah Jeli, Rumah Rajit, Rumah Jambai, Rumah Edward Ekau and Rumah Duat are reported to be angry with the conduct of the Miri police, despite the incident having occurred about a month ago.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the longhouses, Jambai Jali held a media conference, claiming that Gan had disregarded the Iban adat when removing the blockade site in Sungai Bekelit, Sibuti.
The blockade was aimed at protesting against the action of an oil palm plantion company for allegedly trepassing their Native Customary Land (NCR-Tanah Adat Bumiputera).