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Final Statement SALT 2011

Final Statement SALT 2011

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Published by Amanda Leonie
Final Statement SALT 4
Final Statement SALT 4

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Published by: Amanda Leonie on Sep 14, 2013
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“Malaysian Students’ Response t
o Indigenous Minority Rights Violationa
nd Environmental Degradation”
PACOS Training Centre, Kg. Lomunu, Kibabaig, Penampang,Sabah, Malaysia18
July 2011
 We, the 27 tertiary Catholic students from the various tertiary institutions of Malaysia, gathered at the PACOSTraining Centre, Kg Lomunu, Kibabaig, Penampang, Sabah from the 18
of June till the 2
of July 2011 to
 participate in the “School of 
Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly
and Treading humbly with God (SALT) 2011”organised by Malaysian Catholic Students’
Movement (MCSM) in partnership with PACOS Trust. This is thefourth SALT organized since 2008. Besides focused learning related to the theme
, “Malaysian Students’Response to Indigenous Minority Rights Violation and Environmental Degradation”
, SALT IV is a school withsafe and critical space for effective networking, fostering a sense of teamwork, partnership and camaraderieamong the participants. It is a process of mutual enrichment through information sharing, training on NativeCustomary Rights (NCR), the Federal Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the
United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
and the 20 Points SabahAgreement through interactive learning especially by experiencing the reality of the KadazanDusuncommunities in Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian situated in the area to be affected in the future by theconstruction of the Kaiduan Dam in Penampang. Below are the aims and objectives of the program whichinspired us to participate actively.
To s
tudy the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) regarding
the standards and violations. Develop critical understandings and strategies to uphold fundamentalhuman rights through effective advocacy at international, regional and grassroots levels.2.
To create a platform for South-East Asian students to analyze the Human Rights conditions of theIndigenous Peoples in terms of Socio-political, economical, cultural, spiritual and religious perspectives.3.
To develop critical understanding on the realities faced by the Indigenous People and to empower students to journey with the Indigenous People (IP).4.
To evaluate the present efforts, plan further actions and campaign characterized by social reforms for the indigenous peoples against institutionalized discrimination at all levels.5.
To create awareness about the link between the IPs and the environment, especially their contributionand efforts at arresting global climate change.
To enable our university students to understand the complex issues about the Native Customary LandRights (NCR) in East Malaysia in relation to logging, market-oriented cash-crop plantations under theinfluence of neoliberal global capitalism;2.
To arrive at a more critical understanding of the IPs struggle against the Kaiduan Dam and how
“development” contributed to their poverty and marginalization;
To respond in faith to the struggles of the IPs so that we are aware of our roles as university studentsthrough critical analysis and theological reflections.
To learn about the cultural traits of the community such as the traditional dance, traditional handicrafts, playing traditional musical instruments and traditional medicine.
The Kaiduan Dam is a project that is proposed to be built in Penampang which will directly affect nine
Indigenous People’s
Villages. The dam is to be built in order to meet the water supply demands of KotaKinabalu and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the processes that have taken place over the past few years bythe relevant authorities are highly questionable as they do not follow principles of democracy and human rightsstandards.There are nine villages that will be affected by the building of the Kaiduan dam, which are Terian, BabagonLaut, Timpayasa, Tiku, Buayan, Pongobonon, Kalanggaan, Timpangoh and Longkogungan. Based on theobservations in Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian, there are various sources of economy of thecommunities; Self-sustenance, Natural resources, Subsidies, Government servants. All these are dependent onthe land. The communities are also facing problems in developing their economic status because there is no proper road facility to commercialise their agricultural products. Besides that, their land and forest which is their main source of income is also threatened by the gazetting of Sabah Parks and the possible construction of theKaiduan Dam.The villages have a systematic political structure which will also be affected by the relocation if the KaiduanDam is built. Currently, the decision maker is the Village Chief (
 Ketua Kampung 
). Other than that, there arealso different organisations and leader, which are;-
 Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK), Pertubuhan Rakyat (PR),
Cathecists, and the Action Committee Against Kaiduan Dam. Some of themain purposes of these organisations are to help the leaders to solve various issues and problems, besides becoming the channel for the villagers to unite and voice out their opinions, comments or problems.According to Native Customary Rights (NCR) related laws from the
Sabah Land Ordinance
, Chapter 68, andSection 15- Indigenous People have the rights on their land if the land is a cultural/heritage land. Cultural/heritage land can be determined by using certain characteristics, such as there must be at least 50 planted treeswhich aged more than 3 years on the land.Section 14- Claiming Cultural/Heritage Land should be written by the Chief of the village or 
 Penolong  Pemungut Hasil Tanah (PPHT)
and the PPHT will decide the ownership of the land.Moreover, with referral to the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
The rights to the land of the Indigenous People at Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian will beviolated if the construction the dam takes place. The articles in the UNDRIP can be used asguidelines to defend the rights of Indigenous People.ii.
The objections that have been made by the representative of the Action Committee AgainstKaiduan Dam, Mr. Nousi Giun was ignored by the state and local government (violation of Article23 of UNDRIP).iii.
In deciding the implementation of the Kaiduan Dam the government has failed to fulfil itscommitments towards the UNDRIP which asserts the rights of Indigenous People to determinetheir own development or use their lands and resources and that they should not be forciblyremoved from their lands or territories without their own free, prior and informed consent(violation of Article 10 and 32).According to the
20 Points Sabah Agreement
, issues of land and forest come under the jurisdiction of the stateand not the federal government, and hence it becomes the responsibility of the state to ensure the land of theIndigenous People are protected.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 7 states that all are equal before thelaw and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protectionagainst any discrimination in violation of this declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.Thus, the government should protect the rights of the Indigenous People despite them being marginalized by thesociety.Furthermore, Article 5(1) of the
Federal Constitution
states: no person should be deprived of his life or 
 personal liberty save in accordance with law. Since “land is life” for the Indigenous People, their lives will be in
danger if their land is taken away. Article 8(2) states: Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, thereshall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in anylaw relating to acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment. Since the building of the dam will cause their land to be takenaway from the Indigenous People, we are yet to see any just processes regarding the acquisition.There will also be environmental degradation with the construction of the Kaiduan Dam resulting in the forestand rivers being destroyed. We are strongly against the private companies who are involved in the damconstruction for they are neglecting their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and actively violating the Native Customary Rights land in the name of development. The same applies to the banks and financialinstitutions that are funding this project.
SALT 4 Theology: Our Faith Reflections
We believe that our spirituality demands that we fight for the Indigenous People from oppression and suffering.We consciously advocate and take sides with the poor. This is our preferential option for the poor. We learnedthat the practices performed by shamans (
) are actually different manifestations of the same God.Hence we must immediately stop the discriminatory and racist perspectives towards the Indigenous Peoplespirituality. This is especially for Catholic/Christian missionaries who see the Indigenous People as emptyvessel that need to be filled with the European ideology. Liberation theology and one of its references in theBible (Mat 25: 31-46) says that as long as you help others in need, you will enter the kingdom of heaven. Westudied the relationships between God, us, the villagers and the people affected as well as the politicians and private companies involved. We prayed for wisdom and strength for us to carry on the fight, for motivation, perseverance and faith for the people involved so that with God they will be saved from the threat of the dam,and for humility for the politicians and the private companies so that they will drop the plans for the dam, andleave these people in peace. We also pray that the spirit of God will help the Indigenous People fight injusticeand be with them in their darkest times. We shall ensure that the Catholic Social Teachings and the radical lifeof Jesus are used to inspire all of us to join in the struggle.
Through our experiences and learning, we demand the society:Campus Level (CSG, CUS, CSS, CVS)
To conduct open forum and panel discussions on social awareness about the issues faced by IPs, inorder to generate critical thinking among the students;
To insert issues on the Dam project into campus level activities, to facilitate solution throughformation;
To strengthen the bond between members, EXCOs and etc. to ensure that the members would producea collective voice to fight against the dam project.
To form an advocacy group for Indigenous Peoples rights by indigenous students to be recognised byMCSM.

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