Police advise Kg Tambirat villagers, company to let court decide on land dispute

Lee (left) and head of criminal investigation ASP Abdul Rahim Abdullah at the press conference.

By Nancy Nais

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Aug 20: Police have advised villagers from Kampung Tambirat in Asajaya and a private company to bring their land dispute issue to court.

Kota Samarahan district police chief DSP Lee Chong Chern said the police do not have the jurisdiction to investigate land dispute cases, but they can investigate alleged crimes committed at the scene as per report lodged.

“To date, we have received 19 police reports (since July 8) from the villagers and four from [company]. Let me assure you that every report made will be investigated,” he told reporters after a dialogue session with representatives from Kampung Tambirat, the company, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Kota Samarahan district office.

The main issue discussed during the dialogue was public order and security required by both parties in the dispute.

“You must comply with the law. Do not take actions with your own hands which may cause provocation and result in loss of life or destruction of property. The police will not tolerate this,” Lee warned.

With regards to the land ownership dispute, he strongly advised both parties and their lawyers to take legal action and bring the matter to court.

“We have advised both parties to temporarily stop any work on the disputed land and they have agreed to it,” he said.

DSP Lee Chong Chern

Lee also revealed that police conducted a road block and check on Aug 18 when 50 villagers entered the disputed land area.

“We went in to check and true enough there was a group of them there. Police advised them to disperse, which they abided by,” he said, adding that this was to prevent any criminal activity.

The villagers are alleging that the private company had encroached onto their land and they are demanding the police and MACC to investigate the matter.

According to Lee, the piece of land identified as Lot 4282, Lot 4284 and Lot 2186 at Muara Tuang land district is about 172.73 hectares in total.

However, the disputed section only involves 57.4 hectares.

On Aug 14, Kuching-Samarahan Native Rights (NCR) Defendants chairman Ahmad Awang Ali, who claimed to represents the Kampung Tambirat community of about 1,500 villagers said despite the land being caveated since 2010, the said company trespassed onto the land two weeks prior.

Together with a group of villagers, they lodged a report at MACC offices in Kuching, urging the latter to investigate if there is an element of corruption involved.

This is because, Ahmad said, they have gone through court proceedings and won their cause four times.

“But the company representatives started entering our land, destroying our crops and threatened us not to stop them because they have approval from ‘higher authorities’. They have shown us the titles to the land and we found out that about 20 prominent individuals had a share in the titles to the land. We don’t know how they were able to acquire titles to the land especially when it has always been populated [by the villagers] since the 1940s,” Ahmad told reporters, while showing the court documents.

He also claimed that despite so many police reports lodged by the villagers, nothing appeared to have happened and no action seemed to have been taken by the authorities. — DayakDaily