KUCHING: Sixteen excavators/tractors worth several million ringgits belonging to Tabong Haji (TH) were alleged to have been torched by Iban landowners early this morning.
The incident happened between Kpg. Temiang and Kpg. Keniong, Simunjan/Punda road, Simunjan.
More than 300 landowners from about 20 longhouses were alleged to have been present in the area. So far five persons have been arrested.
The majority of 300 landowners insisted of being arrested in order to show their solidarity and at the same time they wanted to be fed by the Police.
A spokesman for the landowners said that Tabong Haji and its workers have been warned not to encroach into their land and to destroy their farms and fruit trees.
Several Police reports have been lodged against Tabong Haji, but the Police have not responded to their complaints.
Two weeks ago, the landowners brought their case to the Human Rights Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) in a public hearing in Serian.
Contacted by FMT, Dominique Ng, a legal counsel for the landowners said that he was informed that 16 excavators or tractors were burnt, pointing out that it could be the work of the workers themselves in order to put the blame on the landowners.
He said that the landowner had accused the TH of relentless and illegal encroachments into their NCR land despite many protests by the natives and continued to destroy their farms and fruit trees.
Ng, the former Padungan assemblyman said that it was also the same area where Rimunan Hijau had amicably settled the dispute with the landowners in court.
Ng was their lawyer.
Several NCR land cases in Sarawak are involved TH and Pelita, many of which are pending hearing in the High Court.
Meanwhile, the Officer in Charge of Simunjan Police station was not available for comment.