No EIA report from firm in Mount Serumbu mess — NREB controller
Posted on November 26, 2013, Tuesday
KUCHING: The company that was given a licence to quarry the historical Mount Serumbu in Bau has not submitted its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for approval.
State Natural Resource and Environment Board (NREB) controller Peter Sawal confirmed this when contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday.
“As far as I can tell, earlier on the company came to see us to discuss the terms of reference to conduct EIA studies.
“But so far their EIA report has not been submitted to NREB for approval,” said Peter.
When asked how the company manage to obtain the licence without the EIA report, Peter replied that the licencing was not under NREB’s jurisdiction.
He said these in response to a peaceful demonstration by some 50 people, including Chinese, Malay and Bidayuh community leaders, near Mount Serumbu on Sunday.
Residents from 17 villages in the vicinity of Mount Serumbu want the government to revoke the licence as they claimed the area is their ancestral land.
Advisor to the 17 villages, Stephen Sinyum Mitit, said the area around the mountain had been cultivated by their forefathers well before the Brooke era and it was steeped in history and had vast tourism potential.
Among others, the first White Rajah James Brooke built a cottage there and the mountain also boasts the world-renowned British scientist Alfred Wallace’s Trail.
Meanwhile, Bengoh assemblyman Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said he is aware of the situation on the ground, and said he was very happy that the villagers held a peaceful protest to stand up for the rights.
Dr Jerip, who is also Assistant Minister of Public Health, said nobody should trespass into other people’s land.
“I’m happy that they (protest) in such a way. There must be a dialogue between all interested parties and the villagers (to resolve this matter).”
During the dialogue session, all issues ought to be raised to prevent any misunderstanding from arising.
“I believe the villagers protested because they have not been consulted. The villagers have the right to be consulted and to know what is going on. They have the right to ensure that their land is protected.”
When asked whether he would speak to the authorities concerned to resolve this issue, Dr Jerip said he would assess the situation first, and emphasised that he was aware of what was happening on the ground.