Friday, September 17

Villagers claim never empowered individuals or NGOs to represent them

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Villagers from Long Terawan and Sungai Melinau protest against Wikkie Kajan, Dennis Along and Ketua Kaum Ukau for smearing their village and the state government.

MIRI: Villagers from Kampung Long Terawan and Kampung Melinau Mulu have never empowered certain individuals or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to represent the Berawan community.

In fact, the villagers had unanimously agreed that the village leaders will represent them in discussions with any party including the government, as all decisions made are through the villagers, a spokesman for the villagers, councillor Garry Hassim Wan, said.

“We hereby confirm that the PL (provisional licence) area owned by Radiant Lagoon SB is excluded from the Mulu National Park area and this has been verified by the Forestry Department as well as the Land and Survey Department,” Garry said yesterday.

A police report was made at Tanjung Lobang Miri police station on May 13 stating that Willie Kajan and Ketua Kaum Ukau Lupong, who are currently overseas with the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), were campaigning to stop the planting of oil palm by Radiant Lagoon Sdn Bhd at Kampung Long Terawan.

According to Garry, the villagers want the police and Immigration Department to investigate the alleged report made by Kajan overseas to smear the state and the villagers of Long Terawan and Sungai Melinau.

Additionally, he said the claim that the water catchment area is contaminated is also untrue as the area is not located within the PL area owned by Radiant Lagoon.

The report from the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Miri also said that the catchment area was not polluted, Garry added.

“We as the leaders of Kampung Long Terawan and Kampung Sungai Melinau Mulu have rejected all the claims that Willie Kajan and Ukau Lupong propagated through the Bruno Manser Fund website under ‘Payment of suspected bribes to Berawan/Tering leaders’,” he said.

Garry said police reports have been made because the issues raised by Willie Kajan and Ukau Lupong are likely to cause adverse effects on the public’s perception of the village leaders and the Sarawak government.

“We hope that the relevant government agencies take firm action against the group that deliberately incites villagers to prevent development in the PL area of ​​Radiant Lagoon,” he said further.

“We believe this development will have a positive impact on the socio-economy of the villagers in Long Terawan and Kampung Sungai Melinau Mulu,” he added.

On May 18, a group of villagers from Long Terawan and Sungai Melinau held a protest against the three individuals who sparked the issue.