The action of a group of longhouse chiefs who applied for a provisional lease (PL) to enable them to cooperate with a company to carry out certain project in Ulu Ngemah, Kanowit has displeased the landowners in the area.
A representative of the Ulu Ngemah residents, Thomas Laja Besi said the action of the longhouses chiefs was made known last week when they reapplied for PL after a previous attempt failed.
“They make use of the longhouse chaplain’s position to apply for PL because they want to carry out certain project on the estimated 9,000 hectares of land inherited from our forefathers in Ulu Ngemah for personal profit.
“We are not happy and protest against the action of these longhouse chiefs involved,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Laja said though presently they were not living there in Ulu Ngemah, they still had their fruit trees, crops and longhouse site left behind.
“Over there is our place for hunting, collecting fruits and other crops. Now we have moved to resettlement scheme of Jagau and Nanga Ngungun on the order of the government due to the threat of communist insurgency in the early days,” he pointed out.
He said if PL was obtained, it would enable certain company to carry out certain projects in the area.
Because of that, Laja said, the’ Persatuan Penduduk Ulu Ngemah (PPUN)’ should be de-registered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) because as long as the association was there, they would continue to apply for PL.
“The PPUN was originally set up to safeguard our lands from being encroached but now they make use of it to apply for PL to bring the company to carry out certain project to benefit themselves only. I am urging the ROS to de-register this association because it has deviated from the original objective, and moreover a lot of members have resigned from the association as they have lost their trust towards the association,” he pointed out.
In this connection, Laja pointed out that any company, agency or ‘wakil rakyat’ could not carry out certain project on the land without the landowners approval.
Meanwhile, Laja proposed to form a committee of Ulu Ngemah Landowners’ Association in safeguarding their lands.
“We will set up this association as soon as possible and I, myself will be the chairman. This is because the existing association has deviated from its objective,” he added.
Source : Danny Wong @ The Borneo Post Online