Hornbill Unleashed

August 20, 2010

Ibans from Rumah Ranggong start trial at Kuching High Court

By BMF

A press release by BRIMAS, the Borneo Resources Institute in Miri (Sarawak), on a legal conflict  between naive Iban communities and BLD Resources Sdn Bhd., a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur stock exchange-listed BLD plantations (www.bld.com.my), over new oil palm plantations on native lands in Sarawak. For enquiries, please contact BRIMAS executive direcor Marc Bujang under +60 19 884 36 31 or under markbujang@gmail.com.

PRESS RELEASE

20 August 2010

KUCHING – The much anticipated trial of the residents of Rumah Ranggong longhouse against BLD Resources Sdn. Bhd., the Sarawak Land and Survey Department and the Sarawak Government got off to a lively start yesterday morning at the Kuching High Court, with the representatives of the longhouse holding a peaceful demonstration in front of the court complex.

Around 80 representatives of the longhouse came in two buses at 9am and congregated in front of the court complex and held a short demonstration before proceeding into the court house where the trial started at 10am.

Three witnesses from three neighbouring longhouses were called to testify and acknowledge the existence of the native customary rights claims of the residents of Rumah Ranggong and their communal boundary between them.

The three witnesses are Tuai Rumah Belili anak Liom from Rumah Belili, Buak anak Jenau from Rumah Ampau and Tuai Rumah Umpor Anak Lunsa from Rumah Umpor.

At 4pm the trial was adjourned and set to another date on the 24 to 28 January 2011.

The case was presided by Justice Datuk Albert Linton, while Harrison Ngau Laing represented the Plaintiffs headed by Changgai Anak Dali and a few others from Rumah Ranggong. George Lo represented the First Defendant, BLD Resources Sdn. Bhd. and Joseph Cheoh represented the Sarawak Land and Surveys Department and the Sarawak State Government.

Previously in 2008, BLD Resources sued Changgai Anak Dali for allegedly trespassing into BLD’s plantation. Changgai disputed this suit saying that he and the residents of Rumah Ranggong have native customary rights (NCR) over the said land. In fact, in 1999, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between BLD Sdn. Bhd (sister company of BLD Resources), Sarawak Land Development Board (SLDB) and the NCR landowners at Ulu Niah, where Rumah Belili and Rumah Ranggong were the participating longhouses, to develop the Ulu Niah NCR land based on the joint venture project called ‘konsep baru’.

However in 2008, Changgai and his fellow villagers discovered to their horror that their NCR JV project was cancelled – reason given was the government made a mistake saying the land is NCR.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, Alfred Jabu and the then Sarawak Minister for Housing Celestine Ujang handed out the 10 percent upfront payment worth RM294,990 in 2001 to the participants of the scheme. The promised dividends or bonus payments for the participants of the scheme were not paid until 10 years later when the residents protested against BLD’s suit.

In 2008, Jabu in in an attempt to pacify the angry villagers handed a cheque amounting to RM436,708.20 in dividends and bonuses to 226 participants of the Ulu Niah NCR Joint Venture Project. However, the suit made by BLD against them was not withdrawn and worst still, the State Government does not recognise the land as native customary land.

bruno manser fund
for the peoples of the rainforest

Socinstrasse 37
CH-4051 Basel
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74
www.brunomanser.org
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5 Comments »

  1. very interesting, since the first should be done. but not too late.

    Comment by Asyraf Zaydan — January 15, 2016 @ 6:18 AM | Reply

  2. semoga membantu

    Comment by rumah gratis — October 14, 2010 @ 8:27 PM | Reply

  3. great stuff but these are the same villagers that vote for BN election after election.

    Comment by aca — August 22, 2010 @ 7:30 PM | Reply

  4. The riot police should move in and cart all these 80 Iban villagers to the lock-up, for illegal assembly. Then they’ll know not to challenge Alfred Jabu.

    Comment by Bean Counter — August 21, 2010 @ 9:50 AM | Reply

    • to be unchallangable is also illegal….so i think its fair and square now….

      Comment by mulai — August 21, 2010 @ 3:53 PM | Reply


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