Tuesday, January 4

Masing suggests setting up of Resettlement ministry

KUCHING: Sarawak’s Land Development Minister James Masing has called for the setting-up of a new ministry to deal with the resettlement of the natives affected by the displacement of the construction of dams.

“This ministry must have the authority to apply for allocations for engaging experts in looking into issues related to resettlement as well as the power to negotiate for terms for those affected,” he said to newsmen.

“Currently there is no ministry which has ‘resettlement’ in its job description despite the fact that resettlement in itself is a highly complicated matter that needed much attention. This is especially so in terms of financial and social aspects where there must be proper dealing with the villagers who are involved in the resettlement process.

“Now we are only asked to act on an ad hoc basis. I have been asked to help up in the Bakun dam resettlement because my wife is an Orang Ulu who comes from there.

“As an anthropologist, I don’t mind undertaking the resettlement projects. However, without the proper setting up of a ministry, I was neither the authority to apply for allocations for engaging experts to look into the resettlement issues nor the power to negotiate better terms of the affected people.

“These people were asked to move not that they chose to it. To me, they should be provided with basic facilities including housing, water and electricity free in the resettlement area rather than asking for it,”
he said.

The needs for the setting up of the ministry are now greater in view of the fact that the state government is going ahead with the construction of more dams in the state, he said, pointing out that the state government should follow what was being done in China.

Masing, who recently visited China’s Three Gorges Dam, said that the project involved the resettlement of one million inhabitants and it has been done well because the resettlement budget took up as high as 45 percent of the construction cost.

“The dam costs US26 billion and 45 percent of it has been allocated for resettlement purposes. As for the Bakun dam, the cost of the dam is RM7.2 billion but only RM500 million has been used for the resettlement programme,” he said.

On top of that, he said, the people have to pay half of the amount back to the government for the housing and other facilities built for them.

“To me the cost of resettlement should be added to the cost of the construction of the dam,” he added.

Masing said that the government should have learnt lessons from its first Batang Ai dam built in 1982 that has flooded an area of 21,000 acres, involving in the resettlement of 3,000 Ibans in an area of 8,000 acres.

Presently, there are two on-going resettlement projects namely the Bakun and Bengoh dams. The Bakun dam was constructed for renewal energy which resettlement programme involved 10,000 natives from the Orang Ulu communities.

The Bengoh dam involved the resettlement of 1,600 Bidayuhs from four villages of Kampung Taba Sait, Kampung Rejoi, Kampung Bojong and Kampung Semban.

Masing admitted that the problems of relocation and resettlement programmes of the natives living within the affected areas have not been fully resolved due to the dissatisfaction among those affected.


retired cop said...

Unggal Masing,

How about 10,000 people from 15 longhouses from Balui river that were resettled in 1996 at Sungai Asap? Have their problems been settled?

You said the Federal Government was negotiating with the state government to work out a financial package in which they would absorb the cost of the settlement scheme`s housing units. You further said besides the compensation, each family would also be paid an allowance of RM7,175 for removal, transport and performance of cultural or religious rituals, and a subsidiary allowance of RM5,000 for building materials at their new longhouse site. Have all these promises to the affected families been honoured?

apai irau said...

sigh,This is Masing.He only realized that common law supersede our land code yesterday and he only realized the predicaments of the rakyats displaced by the dam yesterday too. When was Masing first elected as a Yb and when was the year PBDS made him a minister?yesterday?No,he has been in the cabinet long enough,why only talk now!,an anthropologist has to go to China to study the impact of a dam on the rakyat? Its an open secret that this mister obtained his "permanent head damage"/phd by doing thesis on iban folklore by copying the story books of the late Datuk Benedict Sandin and Datuk Michael Buma.Masing,you need not be an anthropologist to foresee and understand the damage done by the dam construction right at the outset.It dosen't need a PHD to understand that the displaced people need houses,and all the basic amenities.ONLY a CLOWN DOCTOR would not realized this at the beginning.

Unknown said...

good move...............

Anonymous said...

There's no honest resettlement ? nothing is free right...! even there's an allocation or so call subsidize.. people have to suffer to pay a lot..believe it or not..thing look nice in word & image...yet the shit still smell bad..right! they still can play around to fool the people..we have an option to change by voting out these....pirate

Tedwin's relative said...

YB Dato' Seri James,

You are smart, cunning and brilliant individual. Salute to you.

Happy new year

Christain BN said...

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

Selangor opposition leader Dauk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo has said that he is now in mourning as a Muslim following the decision by the High Court to allow the Catholic church to use the term "Allah" in its weekly publication Herald.

"I am very saddened as a Muslim over the judgment in allowing the Catholic church to use the word Allah in their weekly publication. Allah is only for Muslims. In other languages God is referred to as Tuhan whereas in Islam it is Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (The one and only God). Therefore you must understand the distinction between the two," said Khir.

Khir, who is also the Sungai Besar Umno division head, stressed why other religions should not be allowed to even mention the name "Allah" as he claims it would cause “damage, chaos and confusion” among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"We don't want other religions to use it as it (the word Allah) refers to the one and only God. Now that the High Court has allowed the usage of the term Allah, soon any religion can apply their own reasoning to use the word Allah. Imagine if a deity were to be referred to as Allah. Surely it would create a lot of tension," explained the Umno man.

Khir criticised and questioned the judge who had made the ruling.

"I am not happy with the High Court's decision. Human beings are, at the end of the day, just human beings, no matter how fair you try to be, there is no way you can be 100 per cent impartial. And the judge who made the decision was not a Muslim, so I question the fairness in the decision," said the former Selangor Mentri Besar.

This is what you get from BN ?????
Good Luck stupid christians in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...


macam mau pancing undi saja...

tau la kamu tu, menantu temenggong nyipa bato dari belaga...

oooo.. nak jadi hero orang belaga la..

nak bagi orang belaga tengah marah sejuk sikit menjelang pilihan raya..

pening palak YB Liwan..nak bersuara untuk rakyat.. bos kata jangan....

ken ba tih

Anonymous said...

Talk by BN ministers are really cheap as cheap as a kati of salt at 15 cents in 1960s.and 25 cents a kati for sugar.
Talks is the property of all,but deeds are only confined to the few,and these are utterly lacking among these ministers.

Anonymous said...

Masing pleads ‘not guilty’ over indigenous displacement
Malaysia Kini, Mar 21, 2009 2:32pm

Sarawak Land Development Minister James Masing told a tv news channel that he has absolutely no guilt over the displacement of indigenous people caused by the construction of hydro-electric dams in the state.

“I don’t feel guilty. I feel that is the correct way of doing it. I don’t have any guilt feeling for trying to help my people,” said Masing on the Al-Jazeera’s 101 East programme Thursday night.

Host Fauziah Ibrahim had asked Masing if he felt guilty, as a person of indigenous descent, over indigenous people being displaced to make way for economic development.

During the programme, Masing defended the construction of dams, such as the massive Bakun hydroelectric dam and the proposal to build 12 new ones, because the state government was preparing for the future.

“Sarawak has enough energy as it is today. But we must look 20 years down the road. By that time we may not have enough energy. You know very well the cost of fuel (is escalating),” he said.

Masing defends CM

Masing also defended the involvement of Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS), a company owned by family members of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud in the construction of the dams.

“The dam constructions are done to legal tenders. The lowest tender gets it. It doesn’t matter if CMS or somebody else. It must be done on tender basis.

“That is very transparent. The international community can take a look at it… it is an open book for everyone to look,” he said.

When Fuziah pointed out that there are numerous cases in which projects were given to companies linked to Taib without open tenders, Masing said: “I was not aware of it”.

Fuziah replied by that the Similajau aluminum smelting plant was given to CMS while the construction of several bridges were awarded to Titanium Management Sdn Bhd, which Taib’s eldest son Mahmud Abu Bekir holds substantial interest in.

‘Everything was transparent’

Even with evidence presented before him, Masing maintained that these awards were given fairly and in accordance with the law.

“We have rules and laws… If there is a decision made by people who have vested interest, there are laws which does not allow it. It is illegal for people in authority to give authority with vested interest.

“All these things have been done through open tenders. They are transparent,” he said.

“In the case of the aluminum smelter, there were a few companies that were asked to bid for it. I know. And the best company gets it.

“Unfortunately, it was given to a company where the authority has some interest. But it is done legally,” he added.

‘I’m a friend of the chief minister’

Meanwhile, Fuziah also scrutinised Masing over his links to Taib. Masing admitted that he was an “ally” to Taib, but gave a less outright answer when asked if he was Taib’s “crony”.

“I don’t think (so). Crony means friends. I am a friend of the chief minister,” he said.

On whether there was “crony capitalism” going on in Sarawak, Masing replied in the negative because no one has been brought to book over such matters.

“I don’t think so. If there is, those who deal in it would be dealt by the law. Until today, there is nothing. One must assume there is no cronyism as such,” he said.

On who would keep the chief minister and his family accountable, Masing said the electorate would.

“I believe the voters in Sarawak are a very intelligent group of people,” he added.

Anonymous said...

what resettlement ministry??? it is the uprooting of people's life you talking about...another attempt of "manufacturing consent" so as sarawakians will not questioned these plundering of the natives land...no shame.