KUCHING: Residents of two longhouses at Pantu near Sri Aman claim that a certain oil palm plantation company has been illegally running its operations on their Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.
A group of people from Rumah Munggu Sawa Ulu and Rumah Munggu Sawa Ili – led by their headman
Jampong Tibu and Asoi Agoh – submitted a petition and letter against the said company to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya near here yesterday.
The headman said the company had illegally converted their land into an oil palm plantation without their permission.
According Asoi, they first noticed the presence of the company in their areas in 2009 and had many a time sought to meet its representatives since then.
“Early this year, we went to see Land and Survey (Department) to enquire about the company and were told that it actually had provisional leases to operate on a number of plots of our NCR land. The thing is nobody from the company had ever met us to discuss or talk about any negotiation.
“The usual reply we get from the local officials is nothing more than to ask them (company) amicably and
peacefully and also to seek for negotiations, seeing that the company are running their plantation on our land at Sungai Tatai, Munggu Penyau, Munggu Temilong, Sungai Bundong and Sungai Buloh.
“The problem now is that those from the company have been refusing to see the villagers. It is as if having the provisional leases permits them to simply trespass our domain,” he said.
Asoi also claimed when they did get to meet somebody from the company, the latter would inform them that a certain ‘Datuk’ was not around and thus, unable to negotiate anything.
“This has been going on since 2009. It appears that the company is doing all it can to avoid contact with the villagers,” he stressed.
Asoi said the documents submitted to the CMO listed the land plots belonging to the villagers which the company held the provisional leases to – namely Lot 33 Block 1 Selanjan Land District (LD) covering 2,235 hectares, Lot 76 Block 13 Lesong LD (197.7 hectares), Lot 110 Block 12 Lesong LD (402.4 hectares), Lot 2 Block 6 Selantek LD (272.3 hectares), and Lot 27 Block 7 Selantek LD.
“The company’s activities have been affecting our NCR land and depriving us of our livelihood,” he told reporters here yesterday.
In his remarks, Jampong hoped that there would be a way for the company to engage the villagers and negotiate with them appropriately.
“There is another different oil palm plantation company that has been operating on our land for quite some time now. They went to see us and offered to negotiate with us on dividend-sharing from the profits. This should have been the proper way, rather than taking the NCR land away without even meeting us.
“The submission of the petition and letter against the company to the CMO is our last resort. It seems that our plight has fallen on deaf ears – we just cannot take it anymore,” said Jampong, adding that copies of the documents had also been forwarded to the deputy chief ministers and the offices of their elected representative.
Adding on, Asoi said should the company agree to negotiate, the villagers would demand for the division of the oil palm plantation between the villagers and the company.
“It is still not too late but for now, we appeal to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, his deputies and other top Sarawak leaders to listen to our plight,” he said.
It is learned that Rumah Munggu Sawa Ulu and Rumah Munggu Sawa Ili house 47 and 23 families, respectively.