I have returned from Gawai Dayak celebrations during which I met a lot of relatives and friends. Besides enjoying ourselves during the Gawai, our focus of discussion was on native customary rights (NCR) land, the majority of which has now been ‘sold’ by the government through their agents like Temenggong, Penghulu and Tuai Rumah to big oil palm companies like Tabung Haji.
According to them, the affected landowners have filed their legal action against Tabung Haji, Temenggong and Tuai Rumah as well as against the Land and survey Department and the government.
All the NCR land even up to their ‘kaki tangga’ (door step) have been taken away leaving nothing for the Ibans to plant paddy, vegetables, pepper, cocoa and rubber.
Some of the Ibans have now been given rubber clones, pepper and oil palm to plant together with subsidies. This scheme is under the Ministry of Agriculture.
What is strange is that the majority of the Ibans, if not all, have no land left to plant all these crops as their land have been taken by Pelita-Tabung Haji Company.
What shall they do with the rubber clones and young oil palm trees and fertiliser?
Sell them for a short term benefit?
But that is not the point: The point is why giving them when you know they have no land to plant those crops.
Are these parts of the ‘election goodies’? Or are those from the Ministry of Agriculture plain stupid?