Was 'wanted' man, Radio Free Sarawak deejay Peter John Jaban, 'abducted' by Special Branch or his friends?
KUCHING: A day after London-based Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) presenter Peter John Jaban’s mysterious disappearance, speculations are rife that he may have engineered his “abduction” to escape the clutches of the police and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s henchmen.
Jaban, more popularly known as Papa Orang Utan, has been on Taib’s “wanted” list since 2011 for his Iban language call-in show which saw hundreds of natives complaining on-air about loss of their native customary rights (NCR) lands to unscrupulous Barisan Nasional leaders and other equally damaging revelations about Taib’s team of choice leaders.
The impact of the programme was best presented during last April’s state election when the opposition won several seats in the rural interior which was until then considered BN’s fixed deposit.
Attempts by BN to curb RFS’s broadcast have been futile.
According to RFS founder editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, Jaban has been under tremendous pressure from the authorities and, knowing the realities in Sarawak, he was terrified of being detained and hurt.
“He has been feeling the strain of being a ‘wanted man’ the past year for his work on the station.
“He shouldn’t have risked the flight [from Kota Kinabalu to Miri]. We booked the flight, then decided he should not do it as it was too risky, but he did it all the same.
“Peter [Jaban] is terrified of being detained and hurt – or worse, beaten up by gangsters. This is what he and all the Ibans see as Taib’s unofficial justice and they think it is a real danger.
“We think it is outrageous that he should be hounded for what he is doing since he is just providing a platform for the Dayak people to speak out about what has been happening to them and to their lands,” she told FMT today.
Rewcastle-Brown said as of this morning, there was still no news of Jaban’s whereabouts.
“We don’t know anything. Chee Hua (See Chee Hua, PKR vice-president and lawyer) met the Miri police but they said they are not involved in any arrest.
“We are worried. Our immediate concern is that Jaban is not hurt. His phone has been switched off the whole time,” she added.
Was it Special Branch?
Jaban was “abducted” by three unidentified plainclothes individuals in an unmarked car yesterday morning while travelling to Miri town.
He had earlier arrived at Miri International Airport and was expecting to be arrested after being detained in Kota Kinabalu airport and having his documents photocopied and himself photographed.
In a text message to a friend who forwarded it to FMT, Jaban said: “Ready to be arrested by Special Branch in Sarawak.”
But the Miri police, although present when he arrived, did not arrest him as they were awaiting instruction from the top.
PKR Miri leader Dr Michael Teo and lawyer Alan Ling, who were also present at the airport, seized the opportunity and whisked him off only to be waylaid on the way to town.
A traumatised Teo said: “It happened so quickly that I didn’t really understand what was happening.
“We expected him to be arrested at the airport and I think he thought this was now the Special Branch people.
“But, they did not identify themselves. Jaban did what he was told… I just don’t know…”