Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why I don't care about Sudan...

...very much.

Certainly not when crap like this is still going on my own country.

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities have forcibly evicted hundreds of families from villages in the Bintulu district of Sarawak in Borneo in the past year, claims Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia council member Mohideen Abdul Kader said the Forest Department and Land and Survey Department had issued licences to convert the land and forests in the area to plantations without obtaining the consent of the communities who have native customary rights (NCR).

Glyn Ingang, 32, from Kampung Mejau in Tatau, said they were only offered compensation of RM250 per hectare and had not agreed to give up their land.

“There are 80 families in my village, and the concessionaires or the contractors just come in like that to demolish our longhouses and evict us.

“My ancestors have been staying here for hundreds of years, long before Malaysia was even formed,” he said.

Bagong Swee, 49, from Kampung Sebungan in Sebauk, said the rubber trees which were cultivated by the locals were chopped down by workers, leaving them with no source of income.

“They even polluted our river, and we can’t even use it to bathe as our skin will get itchy. Now, we only drink rain water,” he said, adding that more than 250 families were affected.

Bagong said the concessionaires had started an oil palm plantation on the land, and he said the villagers might have to resort to ‘harvesting’ their oil palm and selling them to survive.

Marai Sengok, 27, from Kampung Binyo, said besides tearing down their longhouses and food storage huts, the workers had also destroyed their crops with pesticides.

“We can only stand and watch as they tear down our homes, as they are always accompanied by armed policemen,” he said.

At a press conference here on Wednesday, Mohideen called for a Commission of Inquiry to be set up to probe into the logging and plantation industry in Sarawak.

“Sarawak must accord full recognition on the NCR - both on cultivated and forest areas. The enroachment of NCR land must be put to a stop,” he said.

He said it was disturbing that Sarawak Forest Department itself is the project proponent for one of the projects, involving 490,000ha of land.

He claimed the department had licensed out 2.8mil ha of largely forest land for 40 plantation concessions, mainly for oil palm and pulpwood trees, since 1997.

- The Star

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