Saturday, June 27, 2009

How Long Do They Think They Will Continue To Get Away With It?

Friday, June 26

A 64-year old grandmother, Daha Ak Penghulu Nunsang has been having sleepless nights since 29 April 2009, the day when DD Plantations and Pelita Holdings announced that they had signed an agreement with 94 longhouse chiefs to develop some 9,629 hectares of land in the Kpg. Samalatong/Kpg. Isu/Kpg. Kepayang area.

The wife of the late school teacher Adun and Buang, Daha is not the only one worried, as there are over 100 families from six longhouses having the same worry – that their lands have been signed away by a few community leaders to DD Plantations for the planting of oil palm without their knowledge and agreement.

What makes Daha very angry is that Temenggong Anthony Ngipa, the leader who signed the people’s land away to DD Plantations is her brother-in-law, who is married to her younger sister.

It is understood Daha confronted Temenggong Anthony and asked him why did he want to “sell” their land to DD Plantations? She asked him to go back to his own village at Sebangan and not to speak on their behalf regarding their land.

“You have no right to sell our land,” she was reported to have told him in front of so many people.

There are five or six persons believed to be involved in this scheme whose real aim is targeting the communal forests behind the longhouses. These communal forests are part of the NCR land as decided by the Federal Court. Any one taking away these communal forests is committing a serious offence against the interests of the natives.

Colluding with Temenggong Anthony are Tuai Sebeli of Kpg. Sibau Rumbau, Tuai Rumah Najib of Kpg. Samalatong (Melayu), Pemanca Muit and Tuai Rumah Uja, both of Kpg. Kepayang.

They are not only PBB members, but the “kaki” (side kicks) of YB Naroden, the state assemblyman for Simunjan who is allegedly owned DD Plantations together with a Chinaman from Sebauh, Bintulu. Naroden is known in Simunjan as the local “oil palm king” owning several companies to plant some 50,000 acres of land, the bulk of which is NCR land.

Temenggong Anthony, a retired teacher, is an ardent supporter of Naroden who appointed him as a councillor for Simunjan and when a vacancy existed for a Penghulu, he was also appointed a Penghulu at the same time. After three years or so as a Penghulu, he has now been promoted to be the Temenggong.

Daha has approached a lawyer to write to Pelita and DD Plantations that she did not want her land in 10 places totaling some 100 acres to be developed by them, and if they persisted in attempting to get her land she would sue them in court. The strongly worded letter was copied to her brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, six Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) have sent a joint letter to the minister of land development, Dr. James Masing and the chairman of the NCR land development task force, Alfred Jabu ak Numpang, saying that they did not want their land to be developed by DD Plantations and Pelita.

A copy of the letter was sent to SALCRA general manager, Vasco Sabat Singkang, inviting him to have a dialogue with them in order to open their land for oil palm cultivation.

The six Tuai Rumahs represent some 100 families owning some 2,000 hectares of NCR land. There are other longhouse folks from Keniong, Sangkalan, Munggu Ai, Gayau and Kepayang who refuse to surrender their land to DD Plantations.

All these longhouse chiefs are watching the DD Plantations and Pelita closely before making further moves including holding demonstrations and bringing them to court. – The Broken Shield


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