Tuesday, September 30

Victims of Politics of Development

It is now the turn of Kedayans and Malays numbering about 10,000 from 13 villages in the Sibuti Land district not far from Miri who are facing the prospect of being evicted from their century-old settlement.

All this while, we have heard laterally hundreds of cases involving the Ibans, Penans, Kayans, Kenyahs and Bidayuhs who have been evicted out of their NCR land and prosecuted in court of law. All of them are victims of politics of development aggressively carried out by the State government in order to create Sarawak as one of the leading producers of palm oil. By 2020 some one million hectares of land should have been converted for the planting of oil palm.

For the Kedayans and Malays, some 5,500 hectares of their land have been given to a company under the guise of provisional lease for the planting of oil palm. . The affected villages are Kpg. Batu Satu, Butir, Kejapil, Keluru Tengah, Keluru Jaya, Subak, Sepurau, Selanyau, Opak, Tusan, Uban, Terhad and Beraya.

The company’s lawyers have given the villagers 14 days to vacate their villages starting from 15 September 2008, according to reports appearing in the Borneo Post today (30 Sept '08; page 5).

The plight of the villagers was brought to the attention of Sarawak’s second most powerful minister, Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who is aptly named the Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management.

Even though Awang Tengah, who claimed innocent of any development in the area, has promised to find out what actually happened there. He had expressed interest in the case.

Now my main question is: When Dayaks are faced with this type of problems, none of our Dayak ministers or YBs dares to speak for their rights. More often than not, they (Dayak leaders) would condemn and accuse the Dayaks of being “anti-development and are being influenced by NGOs and foreigners”.

This is a major difference between the roles played by Dayak YBs and YBs from other communities, who really use their political power to help their own kind.

Of course we cannot blame our YBs, but ourselves for being stupid, because we continue to vote for them in every election knowing full well many of them are “semina numpang perhau orang”, “nyarok rumah orang” and “masing-masing ngiga dagang kena ngidup ka sida iya empu aja.”

In order words, they are mere passengers in other people’s boats, visitors in other people’s houses, or bystanders hoping to get some business for themselves only.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NCR/weaknesses of The Sarawak Land Code is effecting all natives of Sarawak,not only the Dayaks/Ibans. There must be ways out of all these very flawed Law. Flawed Laws such as this Sarawak Land code MUST be corrected. The best way to achieve this is elect new set of legislators in the Sarawak State Assembly.