Tuesday, September 24

Villagers claim co-op not management-transparent

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One of the villagers shows the police report lodged at Siburan police station while others look on.

KUCHING: A group of villagers from Kampung Danu lodged a report at Siburan police station near here around 10.30am yesterday, over what they alleged as a breach of agreement committed by their village cooperative.

Padawan District police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan confirmed the receipt of the report, in which the complainant claimed that their village cooperative had not been transparent in the management of an oil palm plantation project, involving 72 villagers of Kampung Danu as the stakeholders.

“According to them (villagers), there was a breach in the agreement when the cooperative failed to come up with the first dividend of RM25,000 that should have been paid (to the stakeholders) within the first three years from the (date of the) agreement,” said Aidil.

It is said that the stakeholders and the cooperative had agreed for the oil palm plantation project to be run over the course of 50 years beginning from date of document signing, which was June 29, 2014.

However, the stakeholders said for the period until Aug 10 this year, they had received only RM1,500 each and on top of that, they also did not receive the 25 acres of land that was supposed to be transferred to them based on the agreement.

Aidil also mentioned that initially, it had been agreed upon that the said land would be developed as ‘Tanah Berapoh’ (communal land).

However, it is alleged that over the years, the management of the cooperative has been pressuring the villagers to surrender their land.

“This has upset the stakeholders as they feel that the development of the communal land does not bring any benefit to them, especially in terms of the dividend payout, which they claim to be unfair and not done according to schedule,” said Aidil.

The villagers also said as at Jan 31 this year, the cooperative’s bank statement only showed an amount of RM9,614.85, despite the sales of various timber products that derived from the communal land.

“The villagers also claimed that they are not allowed to step foot inside the communal land,” added Aidil.

It is said that a dialogue session between the villagers and the representatives of the cooperative will be held on Aug 17 at Kampung Danu’s multipurpose hall, meant to address this issue.