Village chief denies his people made ‘land grab’ allegations

Aju (centre) accompanied by two other villagers after lodging a police report at Simunjan District Police Station.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 13: Aju Pet, the ‘ketua kaum’ (village chief)-cum-village development and security committee (JKKK) chairman of Kampung Lubok Buntin in Simunjan, today said the villagers were neither involved in the protest not hurled allegations of a ‘land grab’ of the village’s expansion scheme.

He lodged a police report at the Simunjan District Police Station today to deny accusations that were reported in the news recently.

“I want to emphasise that the matter was never discussed among the villagers and the JKKK because it was still in trial in the court. As such, it is not suitable to be publicised,” he said in a statement.

“Also, the villagers of Kampung Lubok Bunting have never appointed anyone in protesting or to represent in any matter related to the development of our village,” he added.

A copy of the police report.

On Dec 7, 45 residents of the village led by its Customary Land Rights-cum-Kampung Lubok Bunting Expansion Scheme Site Working Committee chairman Hapeni Fadil lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Kuching alleging land grab by a company with the assistance of an elected representative.

They were represented by lawyer Dominique Ng.

According to Ng, the villagers were promised a joint venture plantation scheme in 2001, where they would get a certain emolument from the joint venture.

Seeing that as an income opportunity, the villagers signed up for it. But now they believed it was an elaborate scheme to acquire some 1,000 ha of their village extension land, Ng alleged.

Due to the predicament, the land now belonged to a plantation company and the villagers were not allowed to enter the acquired land, which used to be part of their village, Ng claimed.

Meanwhile, Gedong assemblyman Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais had also refuted the allegations and expressed his willingness to cooperate with MACC and the police to get to the bottom of the case.

Naroden welcomed the MACC and the police to investigate to shed light on the whole issue.

He had also agreed to provide all important documents, including those by the Land and Survey Department that were made sometime in 2000 or 2001, to the relevant agencies.

Naroden, who is also Assistant E-Commerce Minister, had also expressed doubts that those who lodged the case with MACC were genuine landowners. — DayakDaily