The passing of an Orang Seletar supporter
Published: 22 December 2014
We were informed by Eddy Salim of Kampung Sungai Temon in Danga Bay, Johor Baru that his uncle Yem bin Palon succumbed to leukemia early Sunday morning (21 December 2014). He was buried the same afternoon in keeping with Orang Seletar custom.
Yem, 54 years, owned a successful sea food restaurant serving both local and Singaporean clients. He leaves behind his wife, Tayan, six children and four grandchildren.
According to Chun Yi Fan, who was then working as a researcher for the Bar Council's Committee for Orang Asli Rights (COAR), Yem was "a skeptic on anti-government social and environmental activism in the beginning. When the late Choo Chee Kuang came to their village some years ago, he wasn't very open to his research. But soon, he was converted and devoted much of his money and energy in fighting against relocation. He is really a down to earth and nice guy."
During the course of the court case of his community, which is still ongoing, Yem indeed was the quiet but staunch supporter of his community's efforts to assert their rights to their customary territories.
Despite his illness and business commitments, he made time to attend the court hearings, even if it meant sitting outside the court room the whole day as all the seats were taken up by others.
Our deepest condolences to his family.
CN-COAC | 22 December 2014
Yem (in blue, which seems to be his favourite colour) accompanying the group that handed over a memorandum to Suhakam on the problems faced by the community at Bakar Batu and Sungai Temon.
Bringing lawyers Steven Thiru and Lee Lyn-Ni on a site visit to the customary territories of the Orang Seletar
Sitting in on the briefing for lawyers re the court case.
Listening in on a briefing given by their lawyer Mohan after a court session.
Waiting with the others for the day's court proceedings to end.
Giving his usual quiet but concrete support to the court case taken by the community against the government and private developers.
This is the seafood restaurant he established.