The Borneo Post

Thursday, April 18 2002

Not Abduction claim

Orang Ulu adat to calm man down tying him up, explains longhouse chief

By Lucas Jalong Bato

MIRI: The longhouse chief, whose men were alleged to have "abducted" a timber manager on Sunday, said it is the Orang Ulu custom to tie up a violent man until he calms down.

He claimed that the manager was violently abusive which prompted the villagers to tie him up before anyone got injured.

Tuai Kampung Ding Anyie of Long Bemang, in relating to the incident, alleged the logpond manager become violent and wanted to pick a fight with the group of men from the longhouse who came to negotiate with another senior manager regarding compensation due to the longhouse.

"When the group of men came to the timber camp, the manager came out and started to "bersilat" and verbally abused the group. It is our Orang Ulu adat that whoever becomes violent would have to be pacified to avoid untoward incident from happening.

"Usually, such person has to be tied until he calms down."

"In the longhouse, those who get drunk and become violent are also tied up until they recover from their drunkenness," said Ding.

He said it was not true that the manager was released only after police came to the longhouse. "He was untied after about an hour when he calm down in the longhouse," he said.

According to the headman, the group of men never laid a hand on the manager, but claimed that the manager himself purposely injured himself by hitting his head at the side of the vehicle when he was brought to the longhouse.

Ding believed that the manager did injure himself so that he could blame the longhouse men for injuring him.

The Orang Ulu people in Long Bemang had been patiently negotiating for compensation with the company, but the logpond manager was rude and refused to meet the people from the longhouse, he said.

He said prior to his "abduction", the logpond manager was believed to have instructed a group of Iban workers to use bulldozers to clear the area of land in dispute, and removed the blockages put up by the longhouse people.

It was claimed that on the same day the Iban workers informed the Kayan that they had no choice as they were instructed by the logpond manager to use strong-arm tactics to intimidate the longhouse people.

The workers did not want to quarrel with the longhouse people as they were all Dayaks, and they together with the group of men had wanted to meet the senior manager when it was alleged that the logpond manager confronted them and started to create a scene which led to him being tied up. "I want to make this statement to the press to clear misperception on what had really happened. It was reported as if the men from the longhouse had taken the law into their own hands by abducting the manager and that he was held ransom for the company to pay up the compensation.

"Actually, the group of men had only acted according to their adat to avoid any untoward incident from happening. They did not use violence against violence but tie up the manager for his own safety and the safety of others present during the incident," explained Ding.

Meanwhile, Orang Ulu paramount chief Temenggong Pahang Ding called for calm among the Orang Ulu community in the wake of the "abduction" incident. "I was completely taken by surprise by this unfortunate incident as I was not informed earlier about the problem the longhouse has with the local timber operators.

"At this moment, I can't make any comment as to who are at fault here, but I urge the Orang Ulu in Baram to stay calm and allow the authorities to investigate the matter," said Pahang. Telang Usan state assemblyman Lihan Jok said he was saddened by the incident and urged those involved to remain calm.

"I believe that there is always a solution to any problem and the best way to reach such a solution is through discussion and negotiation, not to take the law into one's own hands.

"However, I am not blaming any party on this matter as I have yet to get the true picture on what had happened," said Lihan.