Friday, September 16

Taib’s pilot project a failure, says Bian

KUCHING: Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s pilot project of 10,000 hectares planted with oil palm in the Kelibut and Maong plantations in the Kanowit District is a total failure, says Sarawak PKR Chief Baru Bian.

“This plantation is a very interesting one, because it is the brain child of the chief minister on how idle native customary right (NCR) land should be developed according to ‘konsep baru’ (new concept),” he said.

Launched in 1996 by the chief minister himself, the Kelibut and Maong plantation involved some 600 native landowners.

The interesting case is that the project was harped upon by the government all these years as the best concept through which NCR land could be developed, he said.

Bian was asked to comment on the on-going court case in Sibu where 163 native landowners are suing Boustead, Pelita and the state government for the non-payment of dividends and at the same time to nullify their agreement with the company which planted the oil palm in their land at Kelibut and Maong in the Kanowit district.

He said: “This is the first pilot project. I think there is another one in Pantu.

“The sad thing is that it is not a successful enterprise. According to the claim of the landowners, they were promised to be given dividends after four years of planting, that is, in 2000 and 2001.

“But they have never received any dividends, so they came to see us in 2009 before Gawai about eight or nine years later to nullify the agreement,” said Bian, who is a lawyer and the elected representative for Ba’Kelalan.

However, when the company heard about the landowners seeing their lawyers, the company immediately released an interim dividend of RM29 per hectare to the landowners.

“Some really received only RM29 after waiting for nine years,” he said.

Bian said that he went to check with the company on the claims made by the landowners regarding the non-payment of the dividends.

He was shocked to know from the company, Boustead, Pelita and the government that the joint enterprise had a debt of over RM130 million.

“And there is no way they can pay dividends to the landowners,” he said.


fairview said...

I beg to differ with Mr. Bian on the Kanowit issue.

Although i am not from the area but i am quite familiar with the place and its people.

Being a pioneer project, one must understand that the kanowit project is bound to encounter some unavoidable "teething problems". It is part and parcel of DEVELOPMENT process. The same also happened in my area Betong.

The tiny glitch or minor setback with regard to the non or deferred or delayed payout of dividen is a non-issue compared to the impending BENEFITS that the landowners shall get in the future.

It is my hope that the people in Kanowit in general and the landowners specifically shall be able to see the sincerity of the government in wanting to help the dayaks move out from their present nutshell.

It is not a gimmick when the government assign senior dayaks civil servants and ministers to help overseas the success of the projects in sarawak.

It is a great waste of efforts, money and time if the words and wise vision of the chief minister through the able and honest office of Tan Sri Jabu, James and Mawan goes to clash with some crybabies landowners.

The shopkeepers in Kanowit and Machan town would testify to the ever increasing demand for goods including luxurious items since the last years or so. Is it not a sign that kanowities prosper?

In term of employment, i met a number of longhouse folks who PROUDLY claimed that they are gainfully employed near to home. Happy with their income, one lady even offered me a 3 / 10. found out later that it was a 3 can of beer for RM10.

Jokes aside, i hope that the people affected by the NCR development shall cooperate with the government and developers for their own good. Please understand that the Sarawak government is sincere in wanting to assist the dayaks with land development.

shall continue if necessary

Aki Josh said...

Fairview underestimates the scale of the financial disaster at Kanowit. It is not a tiny glitch or a minor setback. The company's own assessment indicates the project will never be out of debt and therefore actual dividends (as opposed to a phony 'advance') will never be paid, unless the debt is written off by the Government - and the entire 'New Concept' with it. A pilot is one thing - but 14,000 ha for 14 years with no profit? It's time the pilot was given a new navigator!

Anonymous said...

I don't who fairview is or what is his interest regarding the failed pilot project in kanowit. I can say for sure and with evidence that the project is a total failure. No matter how he wants to describe it.. its a total failure. Please after all these years can fairview honestly say and prove that the peopla of kanowit, machan in aprticular really benefit from the pilot project. Tell me and the people of kanowit. A group of us NGO just completed our VDO Commentary regarding the failed project. It will be out soon. perhaps fairview can come out with facts to rebutt the VDO...

FairviewBetong said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Please forward your video to Mr. Majang Renggie of Petronas LNG Office Bintulu.

Thank you