Kpg Lubok Bunting villagers urge Naroden to clarify certain land-related issues

Hapeni (standing, fifth from left) with Ng (on Hapeni’s left), who represents 45 villagers of Kampung Lubok Bunting to lodge a report at MACC against a company and an elected representative.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 11: Kampung Lubok Bunting villagers have called upon Assistant Minister of E-Commerce Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais to clarify why a company was issued rights over 2,571.82 acres that was intended for a proposed village expansion scheme.

Customary Land Rights-cum-Kampung Lubok Bunting Expansion Scheme Site Working Committee chairman Hapeni Fadil made the call in response to Naroden’s recent statement that he had no vested interest in this land deal.

Hapeni said Lot 286 has an area of 912.4 acres and Lot 287 has 1,539.5 acres. These areas are the Kampung Lubok Bunting expansion scheme site, and they originated from Lot 282.

“Lot 277, which has an area of 119.8 acres and Lot 280 (0.12 acres) are also part of the village expansion scheme. Altogether, the land size for the village expansion scheme is 2,571.82 acres. This matter cannot be disputed,” said Hapeni to the press at the state Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)’s headquarters here today.

Last Friday, 45 villagers of Kampung Lubok Bunting in Simunjan District alleged there was a land grab by a company with the assistance of an elected representative.

The villagers, represented by lawyer Dominique Ng, today lodged a report over the matter, including handing over important documents, to the MACC.

Hapeni claimed that Naroden failed to inform the villagers openly and truthfully regarding the oil palm sales certificates (share).

“The villagers hope Naroden can explain who are the buyers of the oil palm shares from the villagers before this, because we do not know who are the buyers of the oil palm shares.

“There are some villagers who were entitled to receive oil palm shares or certificates, but they were not given to them. However, there were some who were not entitled but have the shares/certificates. For example, people from outside Simunjan area, such as Kampung Haji Baki, Batu 12 and Kampung Sri Ajuna,” he alleged.

Hapeni also urged Naroden to clarify as to how and why there are two individuals, one of them an elected representative, in the shareholders’ list of another company receiving 5,000 shares each when other shareholders were given only one share each.

In disclosing this inconsistency found in the offer letters issued to the villagers, including from Lubok Punggur, Gedong and Simunjan, Hapeni said: “I want YB Naroden to find out and tell us how this can happen. These documents were issued by the Land and Survey Department.”

Meanwhile, based on the documents in hand after searches were done, Ng alleged that a lot of village expansion scheme lands in the district were taken by the company under the guise of a joint venture project.

In 2001, the villagers were promised a joint venture plantation scheme, where they would get a certain emolument from it.

Seeing that as an income opportunity, the villagers signed up for it. But now, they believe it was an elaborate scheme to acquire some 1,000 ha of their village extension land, he claimed.

“This entire area belonged to the villagers in which Naroden claimed was part of the 5,000 hectares (approved by the state government) that was given to this company (for oil palm plantation development).

“From Naroden’s statement, the government was promoting a joint venture by allocating 5,000 ha, and the company is the vehicle for the development of oil palm or agriculture crops commercially. If it is a joint venture between the developer (70 per cent) and shareholders (30 per cent), then how is it possible that they (villagers) don’t own a single sen in that company?” he asked.

Referring to the amended Land Code, Ng emphasised that Section 6a provides that land immediately next to their village can be returned as native territorial domain and the expansion scheme site is clearly eligible for the 1,000 ha, in which once determined, the title can be issued to landowners only and not any company.

Due to the predicament, Ng claimed that the land now belonged to a plantation company, and the villagers were not allowed to enter the acquired land.

“The villagers cannot go onto the land, where some have farms there, and they are treated as trespassers in their own villages.

“Some of these issues have been brought to court, but it is too complicated with many problems faced in court. That’s why we want the MACC to investigate as it has a lot of power to do what the court cannot do, particularly an investigation,” he pointed out. — DayakDaily