State govt urged to resolve native land dispute in Mulu National Park amicably

Photograph of the disputed land within the vicinity of the Mulu National Park.

KUCHING, Feb 21: Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok is urging the state government to take appropriate measures to deal with the dispute between the natives and an oil palm plantation company within the vicinity of Mulu National Park.

In a statement today, she said since this concerned land in the state, this is a state matter, but she hoped the state government could resolve the matter in the interest of the state, the indigenous people and the national sustainability agenda.

“I am very concerned with reports on the development of an oil palm plantation in the vicinity of the Mulu National Park. This is a World Heritage site and the development is being disputed by the indigenous people.

“I have contacted Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, to express my concern, and I am monitoring this issue very closely in my capacity as the Minister of Primary Industries,” said Kok.

She said she would be presenting a paper on ‘Sustainability of Oil Palm Cultivation in Malaysia’ at the 133rd Meeting of Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers on Feb 26, which, among others, would address the country’s current policy relating to the expansion of oil palm plantations with a view that recommendations could be adopted nationwide by the state authorities.

She said the Ministry of Primary Industries would continue to engage with all state governments and agencies to collectively formulate, through a consultative process, national policies that promote the sustainability of our oil palm cultivation, the preservation of our natural forests and wildlife conservation.

“These measures are also extremely important to help the nation and the palm oil industry address and overcome the intense anti-palm oil campaign that currently threatens our key Western hemisphere markets and the livelihood of our smallholders,” said Kok. — DayakDaily