Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'S'wak Energy Board has no powers over NCR issues'

Sarawak PKR has questioned what authority the Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) has over land to which native customary rights (NCR) have been exerted and which have been acquired for a public purpose.

Hudud forum Baru Bian“I see that SEB is coming in to deal with the Penans at Murum dam, while the minister in charge of  Penan affairs is not making any comment,” remarked state party head Baru Bian (right) at a press conference today

“This is wrong. It must be done by the government. What are the government’s proposals in dealing with the demands of the Penans for compensation? What is Liwan Lagang, the minister in charge is going to do about it?”

He was commenting on the failed negotiation between the Penans and SEB over issues of compensation for alleged loss of land, properties, fruit trees and hunting forest as a result of land acquisition for the Murum  hydro-electric dam.

SEB, a statutory body and subsidiary of the state government, is the project owner.

Sazlanaying that the Penan community has been “mistreated and misplaced”, Bian said the government should be reminded of the Court of Appeal ruling that ‘pulau galau’ (reserved forest), ‘pemakai menua’ (territorial domain) and ‘temuda’ (farm land) are part of native customary land.

“Remember the Adong Kuwau case in Johor where the government had to pay him and his community some RM26.6 million for taking away their hunting ground for a water reservoir.

“Likewise, the Penans should be compensated for the loss of their hunting ground that would be flooded by the Murum dam.”

On allegations that foreigners and NGOs are instigating the Penans, Bian retorted: “That I cannot accept. I don’t like the allegation.  If you are alleging NGOs and foreigners of instigating the Penans, then you should arrest them and get them to court.”

“Don’t give the excuse that the Penans are being instigated. That is an insult to their intelligence because they know their rights. Some of them are more intelligent than those urban people.”

The writer, who uses a pseudonym, is based in Sarawak.

~ Malaysiakini

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