Wednesday, March 20

Police finally move to diffuse stand-off

0

BINTULU: A team of police personnel rushed to Rumah Ranggong in Ulu Niah on Friday upon receiving a report from a few longhouse residents on the presence of many outsiders in an oil palm estate near their longhouse.

The quick action of the police diffused a tense standoff between the longhouse residents and security personnel of the neighbouring oil palm estate over a dispute on dividend payment.

The longhouse residents, through their trustees, had signed an agreement of indemnity with the company for the equity of 30 per cent in July 2009.

Recently, they demanded immediate payment of dividends. However, the  company explained that the decision on dividend would be made after the accounts had been finalised and audited.

This led to the longhouse residents taking over the estate, illegally harvesting fruits along the roadside and eventually seizing three tractors in order to harvest more fruits.

The company, on the other hand, had made 13 police reports against the locals for such illegal acts.

Workers of the oil palm plantation eventually left the estate for safety reasons as the longhouse residents allegedly threatened that they would cause bodily harm to them if they made further police reports.

A spokesman for the company said despite the numerous police reports on thefts of their fruits and seizure of the tractors the police had not done anything and security personnel at the estate had also been threatened by the longhouse residents.

He added that as the estate’s security personnel was inadequate to cope with the threats and thefts by the longhouse people the company was forced to beef up its security by sending in the extra men which led to the longhouse residents lodging the police report yesterday.

Meanwhile State CID chief SAC Huzir Mohamed confirmed that the police had received a report from the longhouse residents and detained one man at the estate for possession of explosive material.