Claims over Mount Sadong to be probed, says Awg Tengah

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan

KUCHING: The government will investigate the authenticity of the claims by the Bukar Bidayuh community before taking any action with regards to their displeasure over the issuance of timber licence to a local company to extract trees from Mount Sadong, which they claimed as their sacred ancestral home.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said the government would soon instruct the relevant authorities to go to the ground to investigate the claims.

“We will conduct an investigation and in the meantime we hope the villagers will stay calm and give us a bit of time to see how the issue can be resolved,” he told reporters when met at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) foyer prior to attending the morning session yesterday.

He was asked to comment on the peaceful demonstration by some 1,000 people representing 26 Bukar villages to protest the encroachment of the sacred Mt Sadong at Kampung Lanchang Sabai in Serian on Sunday.

Carrying placards and banners to express their concern and worry, the villagers reportedly called on the relevant authorities to revoke the licence issued to a particularly firm to log the area.

It was earlier reported that Temenggong Robert Sulis Ridu, after presiding a dialogue at the village (Kpg Lanchang Sabai) told reporters that it was their hope that the authorities would take note of the anger of the Bukar Bidayuh people and revoke the licence as soon as possible.

“We are not anti-government neither do we do this because of political motives. We are united in wanting the land encroachment to stop,” he was quoted to have said.

On Monday, Tebedu assemblyman Dato Sri Michael Manyin also said he wanted the licence to log an area covering approximately 474 hectares at Mt Sadong to be revoked.

Manyin, who is Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister, said he planned to meet with the state forest director sometime this week to seek a solution to the matter that has caused uproar among some 30,000 residents of the 26 villages surrounding the mountain range, located some 60km from here.

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