MIRI (Bernama) – Miri police are warning opposition politicians not to stoke racial tension over a blockade incident on Dec 24, 2014 by accusing the police of not respecting local traditions or risk being arrested under the Sedition Act 1948.
Miri Police Chief ACP Gan Tian Kee said police would not compromise with law breakers who use traditions as an excuse to commit wrongdoing as supporting such action tantamounted to encouraging or supporting criminal acts by taking the law into their own hands.
“I fully understand the adat “miring” but that should not be abused to justify criminal acts ‘miring’ was from Dec 17 to Dec 21, 2014, we had station one platoon of General Operation Force (PGA) at the site to avoid physical conflict,” he said in a statement yesterday. The ‘Miring’ festival is part of the Iban tradition to seek blessings from spirits or ancestors for future success in their venture or making a wish.
“Police will not hesitate to use the Sedition Act to deal with anyone who continues to exploit the issue to disrupt the existing racial disharmony in the state,” Gan said. He explained that police had exercised enough patience coaxing the offenders to dismantle the illegal blockade for two days but it fallen on deaf ears and instead those behind the blockade demanded RM10,000 as compensation for them to dismantle blockade.
“This demand of RM10,000 is like asking for ransom and it is unacceptable, if this is allowed there would be lawlessness,” he said, adding that any dispute involving Native Customary Rights land should be settled by the courts. He said for this particular case, the court had made its ruling and those unhappy with the decision could appeal to the higher courts for reddress and politicians should refrain from exploiting the issue for political mileage and created a wedge between locals and the police here.
On Tuesday longhouse residents from the affected areas, Rumah Jeli, Rumah Rajit, Rumah Jambai, Rumah Edward Ekau and Rumah Duat in Bekenu 6 were reported to be angry with the conduct of the Miri police, despite the incident having occurred about a month ago. The spokesman for the longhouses, Jambai Jali held a media conference, claiming that Gan had disregarded the Iban adat when removing the blockade in Sungai Bekelit, Sibuti and subsequently days later PKR leaders here were reported to have jumped the bandwagon questioning the police action.