Saturday, April 20

Radio deejay Peter John to remain in Sarawak


Peter John Jaban

KUCHING: Deejay Peter John Jaban has apparently decided not to return to London where he has been working with the foreign-funded Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) since 2010.

He said in an email released to selected media yesterday that he would remain in the state as parliamentary elections are expected to be called soon.

“I need to be here among my people to work effectively,” he said.

“I feel that I can best continue my struggle for the future of Sarawak here. No matter what London offers, it has nothing to compare to my own ties that bind me to Sarawak.”

Jaban said he had spent the time since his return to the state on Gawai Eve “resting after going to ground and planning for the future”.

He also attempted to clarify the circumstances of his controversial ‘disappearance’ last week after arriving by plane in Miri from Kota Kinabalu.

Jaban admitted that he had actually returned to Kuching last month without any problems from the authorities.

“After my stay in Kuching in May, I went to Sabah for a week. I took a flight, first from Kuching to Miri — no problem at all — and then from Miri to KK — again, no problem. It was
only on my return flight to Miri that the problem surfaced,” he said.

As he queued for immigration at Kota Kinabalu airport, he was apparently told there was an issue and called to the office.

“I questioned immigration who informed me, very politely, that this was a police matter, which had been reported in July 2011, and they were waiting for Special Branch to arrive.

“Special Branch did arrive. They photocopied my documents and they took pictures of me from every angle, again very politely. Then, they informed me that I was being referred to the Sarawak police and escorted me to the aircraft. I understood this to mean that I would be met by police at Miri Airport,” he claimed.

Jaban said he then called his contacts in Miri to inform them of the situation.

Upon his arrival, he said, Piasau assemblyman Alan Ling and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Miri branch chairman Dr Michael Teo escorted him to a car.

“On the way into Miri, there was an accident ahead and a queue of traffic behind it. We were stuck. Dr Teo was busy on the phone, his driver busy with the road. It was raining heavily.”

He said a car then pulled up next to them.

“Two men got out – I recognised one of them from my flight – and told me that the police were chasing our car. So on the spur of the moment, I decided to follow them.

“There was no time to update Dr Teo, who was otherwise engaged on the phone anyway and I’m sorry for that but I had to make my move.”

Jaban said the men then dropped him off “somewhere safe”.

“So why did I not let anyone know where I was for three days? Well, it’s not that easy to do so when I was supposed to be avoiding detection.

“My own phone was not working because of the heavy rain. I had to get out of Miri, which I did on the same day. I travelled on foot under the Sesco overhead lines and by hitchhiking,” he claimed.

He said he did not read the reports about himself online or worry “about whom to tell first where I was”.

When he finally got a new phone, Jaban said he contacted his colleagues at RFS “as this was the only telephone number I could remember”.

He also admitted that he had been driving around Miri in a Cadillac over the last few weeks with a woman, as reported by Asajaya assemblyman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, but clarified that she was his daughter.

Jaban’s self-imposed disappearance caused a media storm locally and internationally with claims from RFS and opposition parties that he had been abducted by the authorities, although Miri police confirmed that there were no instructions for his arrest.

One online columnist even claimed that Jaban “was abducted by Sarawak’s Gestapo”.

However, RFS later admitted in a statement that he was “moving freely” in Miri and had “decided to hide himself voluntarily”.

The statement also admitted that Miri police were only “looking for him because of the concern over his confusing disappearance”.

This prompted mainstream media and online reports that the drama was actually staged  merely for political mileage.