KUCHING: Police should not discount political and land rights aspects in investigating the fatal shooting of PKR member Bill Kayong.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian said Kayong was not only a well-known politician who had contested in last month’s state election but also active in defending native land rights against encroachment by timber and plantation companies.
“The assassination of Bill Kayong must not be allowed to become yet another unsolved case in the police files of Sarawak.
“To find the motive, the police must look at Bill’s activities as a member of PKR and Sarawak Dayak Association (Pedas),” he told a press conference here on Wednesday.
Baru also urged the police and state government to act on violence related to native customary rights (NCR) land cases, citing two village headmen who were assaulted when defending their land in the last few years.
He said politicians, lawyers and activists who spoke up against land encroachment faced real threats, such as receiving calls not to get involved in land cases.
“As an urgent measure, the government must immediately look for a viable and effective process to quickly resolve all NCR disputes.
“Tan Sri Richard Malanjum (Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak) has proposed that a Land Commission be set up and we again voice our support for his proposal.
“I call upon the Chief Minister to act upon this suggestion immediately,” he added.
Meanwhile, MCA has condemned the killing of Kayong, who was gunned down at a traffic junction near a commercial area in the Kuala Baram district, some 20km north of Miri city, on Tuesday morning.
Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, the party’s religious harmony bureau chairman, said protection needed to be accorded to activists who champion voiceless causes, especially in the case of Kayong, a known advocate of native land rights.
“Political differences aside, we must stand united in ensuring that those who champion the cause of the people must not fall victim to such insidious people. In fact, they should or ought to be guarded or protected.
“We must not allow these villainous elements to intimidate activists, for a nation gripped with fear would never advance,” Ti said in a statement.
He urged the police to “leave no stone unturned” in finding the perpetrators of the drive-by shooting, saying that the recent trend of “targeted killings” on those seen to be fighting crime or corruption was worrying.