KUCHING: News on the assassination of PKR Miri branch secretary Bill Kayong has sent shockwaves among both federal and state opposition leaders.
PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for those who were involved in the heinous crime to be traced, arrested and brought to justice.
“Bill Kayong was an activist and PKR member committed to all reformation agenda. He had been raising issues close to the hearts of Sarawakians, including the native customary rights (NCR) issues that he raised during the last state election,” they said in a joint statement yesterday, while also expressing their condolences to Bill’s family.
The 43-year-old Bill, who was Miri MP Dr Michael Teo’s political secretary and PKR candidate for Bekenu in the last state election, was shot dead by an unknown person using a shotgun while he was waiting in his Toyota Hilux at a traffic light intersection in Lutong, Miri.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian said he and other party members were shocked to hear about the death of their loyal member Bill at the hands of a killer, adding that words were not enough to express the sorrow and outrage they felt that Bill was so brutally and coldly shot and killed.
“Bill was a vocal activist for the natives of Sarawak, fearless in his passion about native land rights. He was a young man zealously pursuing justice for the people and was very outspoken against any kind of discrimination or unfairness in our society.
“He was an active member of PKR and was the secretary of our Miri branch. Bill stood as our candidate for Bekenu in the recent Sarawak elections. He was a man with a mission and had so much more to experience and contribute. We have lost a loyal comrade and a good friend, and Dr Michael Teo, his trusted aide,” he said in a press statement.
Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said party members were waiting for details about this heinous crime and he urged the police to be relentless in their investigations so that the culprits could be brought to justice.
“We offer our deepest sympathy to Bill’s family for their loss. Bill’s young children can be proud of the dedicated and committed man their father was. We pray that the family will find the strength and fortitude to bear this unimaginable grief. We thank Bill for being part of the PKR family and for journeying with us thus far. We will miss him.”
State PKR vice-chairman See Chee How, when contacted, condemned such an act of extreme violence and called on any person in the vicinity of the scene who might have information on the assassin(s) and the vehicle used to volunteer information to the police, who he hopes are hunting for the suspect(s).
“We have lost a diligent party leader and a well respected native rights activist who was friendly to everybody and bore no grudges to political adversaries or antagonists. Personally, Bill was more than a close friend.
“With the works that we had been doing together for the past decade, we had treated each as a family member. Many party colleagues and activists in the state will share that feeling towards Bill, remembering the good and helpful person that he had been and continue the good works and causes that he helped advocate and contributed.”
Meanwhile, state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said: “On behalf of DAP Sarawak, I would like to express my deepest condolence to the family of Bill Kayong. I am deeply sorry and feel shocked to hear of the incident. His demise is a loss to the state.”
Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP, said such cold-blooded murder was something that nobody wanted or expected to see happen, especially in the peaceful land of Sarawak.
“It begs the question to all Sarawakians: Is Sarawak as safe a place as we all perceive it to be, that someone can be shot dead in broad daylight in a public place? I call upon the police to top-prioritise the investigation of this murder case.
“It is a cold-blooded murder in broad daylight with firearms. A life was lost. This fact alone is sufficient to make it a top-priority investigation case.”
He said police must look at all angles to solve the case and bring those behind the murder to justice.
The added implication and importance of the incident, he elaborated, is that the late Bill Kayong was an opposition politician and a strong advocate of NCR land issues.
“The public perception of his assassination is that it is either politically motivated or linked to the NCR cases which he was fighting for. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the police must immediately take action to investigate the murder.”
He said the trend now is very scary for public figures and politicians.
“However, it is too early for us to pinpoint but let the police handle the case promptly,” he said.