Sg Lijan longhouse folks urge ministry to not issue licences to companies for clearing the land for plantation, logging


Some of the longhouse folks in a group photo after lodging the police report.

SIBU (March 4): Longhouse folks at Sungai Lijan in Julau are hoping that the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) will prevent the issuing of licences to any companies wishing to clear the land for large-scale oil palm plantation and logging activities.

According to its tuai rumah Runggul Belun, 53, there are 15 longhouses in the area and 11 tuai rumah have come up to object the issuing of licence to any companies.

“We have written to the ministry twice to prevent the issuing of licence to the companies. The first time was on Nov 24, 2020 and the second time was on Jan 26, 2022. I am glad that our voices were heard.

“However, now there is another company who wishes to apply for the licence. We are writing the letter to Manred for the third time, which we will send to their office on Monday,” he told The Borneo Post today.

Runggul said they had also lodged a police report at the Julau police station today against the latest company to clear the land for oil plantation and logging activities.

He said that Sungai Lijan is a native customary right (NCR) land, and clearing the land will have a negative impact on the environment and destroy its biodiversity.

“We need to protect the environment at the area. Another reason we object the issuing of the licence is because we have developed the ‘Tagang’ system at Nanga Sepulau Ulu Sungai Lijan. This system has been approved by the Sarawak Forestry Department.

“Not only that, the water at Sungai Lijan is our water source and our main mode of transportation because we are not connected by road,” he said.

Runggul added that they are not against anyone or any companies.

“We just want the ministry to prevent issuing of licences to any companies who wish to exploit the area, that’s all,” he said.