'Sibu MP 'did not 'curse at 'ceremony'

  • Nation
  • Friday, 28 Feb 2003

SIBU: Member of Parliament Datuk Robert Lau did not curse anyone at the recent ceremony to curse grave robbers organised by longhouse dwellers, longhouse chief Andrew Shilling clarified yesterday. 

He said the Sibu MP merely represented the assemblyman for the area, Datuk Wong Soon Koh, who was away in Kuching for official duties. 

Lau's presence at last Sunday's ceremony had raised eyebrows as he was seen performing the traditional Iban miring (offering) at the function. 

“Performing the ceremony is nothing new to Datuk Lau.  

“But we had Tuai Rumah Jantan anak Tanggik to help him to make sure he did the right things.” 

Shilling was also reported to have told the media at his longhouse that the curse was aimed not only at the robbers but also at their immediate family members. 

Many people were now questioning the morality of implicating the family members. 

“We should only condemn the guilty ones.  

“The wives and children are not involved. 

“Leave them out,” said businessman Jimmy Anye, representing scores of similar views expressed by Christian Ibans. 

“We should not be too vicious in our desire to have justice done. Leave it to God to punish those responsible,” he said. 

When contacted today, Shilling denied telling reporters that. 

“Our leader that morning Ingun anak Dinggon had only asked for the guilty ones to be punished,” he said. 

He also said the Batu Burak/ Penasu community was driven to take this extreme measure because they were deeply angered by the sight of their dead ones being so callously and heartlessly “disturbed.” 

“While we appreciate the path of law to eventually catch up with the culprits, we need an immediate outlet for our frustrations, our anger.” 

“One family had yet to find the skull of their loved one after her grave and coffin had been broken into.  

“Tell me, who will not be angry?” Shilling asked. 

A total of 26 graves had been desecrated at the Engkabang Cemetery. 

Tomorrow, people from seven longhouses in Tutus and Batu Burak near here will be repairing the tombs and graves. – Bernama  

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