Friday, September 2

Oil palm dividends only 0.17 sen per acre per year?

KUCHING: For the past 13 years, the native landowners have been taken for a ride by the oil palm companies through the joint venture concept as the amount of dividends given to them per acre per year is about 0.17 sen, asserted a Sarawak DAP leader.

Based on figures given by Land Development Minister James Masing two years ago, Chong Chieng Jen, Sarawak DAP Secretary said that landowners who received RM2.3 million as dividends from one million acres of their NCR Land planted with oil palm through JV with companies were actually about 0.17 sens per acre per year.

“After 13 years, the landowners received that much and it sounded big. But if you do a simple calculation by dividing RM2.3 million by one million acres and by 13 years, the amount of dividend per acre per year is about 0.17 sens.” Said Chong at a Dayak Reawakening Seminar organised by Dayak Consultative Council over the week-end in Kuching.

He said that Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Minister, who is also Rural Development Minister tried to argue that some of the oil palm were not matured yet, resulting in low productivity.

“Assuming that it takes six years for the oil palm to mature, the amount of dividends would come to only 0.34 sens per acre per year,” Chong said.

Compared with Sarawak Oil Palm (SOP), he said that SOP had planted 70,000 acres of oil palm, and after three years it had a clean profit of RM230 million last year even though some of the oil palm were still not matured.

“So per year earning for an acre is between RM1,500 and RM2,000 given the current price of RM300 per acre per month,” he said, pointing out that that is the general profit of oil palm plantation.

“Yet the joint venture plantations that the BN government has been encouraging native landowners to do for all these years have paid out as dividends 0.17 sens per acre per year.

“The government has been saying that the oil palm plantations through the JV concept have been very successful.

“Judging by these dividends, are the Dayak landowners not taken for a ride?
” he asked.

Chong, who is also the state assemblyman for Kota Sentosa said that the government has not done much in elevating the economy status of the Dayaks through the oil palm plantations.

“For the Chinese community, you cannot say this is a Dayak problem nor can you laugh at it.

“I can tell you that if the Dayaks have no spending power and no income the Chinese shopkeepers and businessmen will also suffer.

‘Likewise, if the Dayaks are rich, the Chinese also will be well off,”
he said, pointing out that the country cannot progress when a single community is left behind.

“I give you the figures and statistics to show you thus far the BN government has failed to improve the economy and the education of Dayak communities,” he said.

Chong said that when the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comes to power, it will start with a pilot project of 100,000 acres of NCR land.

“We will survey it and issue title to the respective community and the target community will decide what crops they want to plant on their land.

“And the government will give all assistance including seeds, fertiliser, technical know-how and financial support.

“For this project, NCR landowners develop their land and the government will not collect even a sen of the proceeds of the crop.

“All the proceeds from the land will go to the landowners on one condition, that is, the landowners must cultivate the land themselves.

“Ask you sons and daughters to return home from Semenanjong Malaysia to help in the cultivation of your land. There are more than 120,000 Dayaks.

“It is when young people start to come back to help in the plantation only then we can ensure our economy vibrant. For instance, one acre can yield RM300 for oil palm and if you have 300 acres, you will earn some RM90, 000. Even 50 acres will bring about an income of RM15, 000 per
month,” he said.

Chong estimated that to develop 100,000 acres, it may cost the government about RM100 million.

“That is not much for the state government to throw the money at the project, because we strongly believe that this is the creation of a large group of middle income stake holders who will form the backbone of the state economy.

“This is one how we can sustain our economy and keep it rolling and vibrant,”
he said.

Speaking of revenue, Chong who is also the MP for Bandar Kuching said that Sarawak’s annual revenue is about RM4.9 billion.

And the state collection from the oil royalty will also increase from 5% to 20% when Pakatan Rakyat forms the next government.

“This is extra money with which we can subsidise the Ibans, the Bidayuhs and the Dayak communities to develop their own land.

“So far the BN government does not have such a policy to help the natives. What you see now is that your lands, and most of them, are given to their cronies. And if you join venture with them, then you are subject to account manipulation.

“They say that they don’t make profits. No dividends. That is how you get only 0.17 sens per acre per year,”
he said, pointing out that the Dayaks particularly the Ibans remain one of the poorest in the state.

According to facts and figures given by Alfred Jabu, there are 13,349 Iban families categorised as hardcore poor representing 47.8%, as compared with 2,925 Orang Ulu families representing 10.5% and 2,757 Bidayuh families constituting 9.8% out of 27,902 hardcore poor families among the Bumiputera.

These are the families who receive less than RM520 per family per month, he said.

1 comment:

Mr. 17sen per acre said...

Let's replace Jabu's Tan Sri's title with just Mr. 17 sen per year.

He deserves to be placed at the lowest of places in the planet in line with his betrayal deed to his own race.

It's too late to send him to hell this year as the gate is sealed until next schedule.

Meantime prepare him for the coming farewell trip.