MIRI: The people of Bukit Peninjau will not be evicted as the lands they are occupying are theirs, assured Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Masing yesterday.
He said claims by the opposition that the people in Bukit Peninjau would lose rights to the land they had occupied for the last 30 years were baseless as the government was going all out to help them develop their land.
“The state government will help the residents develop their land for commercial agriculture. We will also help them build better houses in the near future,” he said at an event to present dividend to participants of the Sarawak Land Development Board (SLDB) Oil Palm Mini Estate project at Lot 86, Bukit Kisi, Beluru, near here.
Masing pointed out that the lands occupied by the people in Bukit Peninjau were indeed theirs and that the state government had long wanted them to cultivate it for their benefit.
“I have been discussing this matter with Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang and Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat to find the best ways to improve the standard of living and boost the economy of the people here.”
He added that the issue was even brought up to the attention of Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud during a function in Julau on Tuesday, and he agreed to help the people of Bukit Peninjau.
“The government will continue to assist the people in Bukit Peninjau and Bukit Kisi in Beluru here because they have been very loyal to the Barisan Nasional (BN) for the last 30 years.”
At the function, 72 residents of Bukit Kisi received their second dividend from Masing, who is also SLDB chairman, totalling RM360,000. The recipients were from Bunsang Braoh (22 doors), Jumat Aji (20 doors), Midul Sewi (20 doors) and Gan Munsang (10 doors). They received their first dividend in 2008.
Masing said starting this year, the residents would be receiving dividend of RM5,000 each annually.
He urged the people to work harder to ensure their estate produced quality products and in large quantities in order to boost their annual dividend.
Also present at the gathering were Ahmad Lai, Ripin, and SLDB general manager Datu Jaul Samion.