KUCHING, June 23: Kampung Haji Wahid residents padlocked Miri Town Substation because Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) allegedly failed to compensate them.
The villagers’ legal counsel, Dominique Ng, said the land where the substation is situated was the villagers’ native customary rights (NCR) land.
“They have been there since the 1910s, and they have opened up the land. Even the Land and Survey Department map of the 1950s shows the area claimed by them to have been fully cleared, which is a clear indication that it is NCR land,” Ng told DayakDaily today.
He added that the villagers would allow SEB to build its substation there on the condition that the state’s power provider recognise and respect their rights.
“They don’t mind SEB building the substation, but their NCR rights must be recognised and respected, and whatever land taken by SEB must be compensated.
“SEB have met up with them and promised to pay them compensation, but SEB failed to keep their promises. All the things they said turned up empty,” claimed Ng.
Recently, SEB issued a statement that its maintenance crew had been unable to carry out maintenance work to the substation because the alleged land claimants had padlocked the gates to the substation.
The power provider warned that their actions might put most parts of Miri City at risk of intermittent power interruptions.
SEB’s corporate arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco), has lodged three police reports against the obstruction to the substation.
On the same matter, Ng said the site was also the place where the villagers were mounting blockades and taking a logging company and a developer company to court over land disputes.
“They have already sued Samling’s Sykt Pantai Bayu and Ting Pek King’s Global Upline (M) SB,” claimed Ng.
Ng added that this was also the same NCR suit which, as the lawyer of the villagers, he had been cited for and convicted of contempt of court.
“The case is under appeal at the moment,” said Ng. — DayakDaily