Thursday, October 6

Two village headmen unhappy their land issue politicised

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DISAPPOINTED: TR Jilan (left) and TR Renggan commenting on a report about the issue that appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday.

KUCHING: Two village headmen from Balai Ringin yesterday jointly expressed their disappointments that some politicians seemed to have taken advantage of their land issue to gain political mileage.

They told The Borneo Post that they were so surprised when introduced to state Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary Chong Chieng Jen after filing their report at the Sungai Maong police station over the alleged transaction and agreement which relinquished the villagers of customary rights over their land.

The headman from Kampung Tanah Mawang TR Jilan Libat and TR Renggan Brita, the village chief from Mampung Menyang A, both in Balai Ringin, Sri Aman, were both surprised when they saw “strangers” waiting outside the station the moment they walked out after making a police report on Tuesday.

“We didn’t know who those people were and why they were there. It was only after they were introduced to us we knew one of them was MP for Bandar Kuching and assemblyman for Kota Sentosa”.

“We were unsure who brought them there in the first place but it certainly was not upon our invitation. They could have been informed by someone from among us but as far as we were concerned it was something improper because in the first place we did not want this matter to involve politics”.

“If we have wanted to bring in politics to this matter we could have brought it to the attention of Sri Aman MP Masir Kujat or Balai Ringin assemblyman Snowdan Lawan but we preferred to handle this thing on our own and approached the relevant authorities ourselves,” they said when speaking to The Borneo Post here yesterday.

They said what made them feel really bad was that some politicians were taking advantage of the situation to gain political mileage.

They said it was quite obvious that the DAP had been trying its best to make its presence felt in Sri Aman in view of the coming general election.

They revealed that the party was eyeing to contest the Sri Aman seat by nominating Leon Jimat Donald to challenge the BN incumbent from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

“Most of us became so uneasy the moment we saw the DAP people around that day when in the first place we did not want this matter to be a political issue but then again it has never been our culture to simply tell people off even when we dislike or disagree with them,” they clarified.

On Tuesday a group of disgruntled villagers from Balai Ringin lodged a police report over an alleged transaction and agreement that relinquished their rights over their land.

The 571.11 hectare communal land was shared by residents of Kampung Bayor, Pengkalan Kawi, Sungai Panggah, Sungai Engkabang and Lubok Melikin, Sungai Bayor, Pengkalan Kopi, Pengkalan Bait, Sungai Kerangan, Pengkalan Chabi, Sungai Danau, Pengkalan Langgir, Sungai Melikin and Batang Kran,

Apart from making the police report over the matter, the villagers also referred the case to the Land and Survey Department for investigation.