Logging near Mulu issue: Affected company told to ‘stop all activities’ first — Gerawat

Datuk Gerawat Gala

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 24: Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala said he had personally informed the private oil palm company accused of carrying out logging and levelling activities near Gunung Mulu to stop “all activities” until further notice.

Gerawat explained “all activities” to mean logging activities and any other activities, including tree felling and levelling of ground for the opening of the road.

“I have met up with the personnel of the company two days ago, and I have told them to stop all activities there until further notice.

“During the meeting, they still hoped to continue with activities to clear land for the purpose of building road. I told them that has to stop too. All activities will need to stop,” Gerawat, who is also Deputy Speaker, told DayakDaily today.

On March 17, a group of Berawans, Terings and Penans, who organised themselves under a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Mulu United Land Action (Mula), had voiced out against a private company for continuing land clearing and logging activities on their native customary rights (NCR) land near Gunung Mulu.

Gerawat, when informed of the case on the same day, expressed surprise that the company concerned continued with the activities despite being told to put all activities on hold pending investigation.

He said since the issue came to light in February, the Sarawak government had told the private company to stop all activities and that officers from several relevant departments would go to the ground to check on the dispute.

“Two departments have come back with their reports. We are waiting for two or three departments to give their reports to us before we call for a meeting to deal with the issue,” assured Gerawat.

Meanwhile, Gerawat said there were community leaders of the area who had responded. They are landowners but not those from Mula.

He raised the question of the legitimacy of the representation of Mula, which is the latest twist in this land dispute.

“I was told that this Mula did not represent the natives of Mulu and that their representation is now in question,” said Gerawat.

According to Gerawat, the same group of community leaders also voiced out against the intervention of international NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund.

According to a STAR report, a pastor of a local church in Miri, Pastor Lian Malang, lodged a police report yesterday against an unnamed NGO. He alleged they had trespassed into land belonging to his community and set up blockades to prevent economic activities to be carried out on the land.

Lian claimed he and other community leaders are representing the natives of Mulu. — DayakDaily