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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, March 17: A group of native landowners in Sungai Bangkit and Middle Katibas in Song today explicitly rejected the use of their land for planted forests.
They made known their stand through a committee that was formed today. It is called Sungai Bangkit and Middle Katibas Native Customary Rights (NCR) Pemakai Menoa Pulau Galau (PMPG) Land Committee.
Its chairman, Anthony Ero Anyau, said, “Our purpose is to protect our land from being entered by (companies holding) Licence of Planted Forest (LPF), as we know there are one million hectares of land in Kapit division (that) have been given to 11 private companies for LPF.”
He told DayakDaily that these companies were now operating in Song.
“This committee objects the development of NCR PMPG land at Sungai Bangkit and Middle Katibas area in Song as it gives no benefit to the people.
“We have no objection to LPF to be established on state land but not in our NCR PMPG,” emphasised Anthony.
He suggested that the private companies holding LPF do boundary survey between state land and NCR PMPG in the area concerned to avoid disputes between the NCR landowners.
“The operation of Syarikat LPF at Sungai Bangkit and Middle Katibas that has no approval/permission from the landowners must stop immediately.
“Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project must be made known to the people concerned.
“The ‘adat’ of the Ibans at Sungai Bangkit and Middle Katibas, who have been living on the land for hundreds of years, should be respected at all times,” Anthony stressed.
Anthony, however, said he was unsure whether there was any encroachment by private companies with LPF into his land as yet.
“Our land is very far in the interior. Even from Song, it will take two to three hours for us to get there.
“However, my relatives in the area said their areas had been encroached. That is why we are taking the preventive measures now to set up the committee and to voice out our stand,” he explained. — DayakDaily