SIMUNJAN: More than 120 native landowners from Kpg. Keniong, Kpg. Tebun, Kpg. Temiang and Kpg Sungai Raya in Simunjan District have every reason to celebrate Gawai Dayak. Just before Gawai a cheque for RM11,000 was paid to each family.
A few weeks earlier, each family had been paid RM16,000. The money was part of the RM12 million paid by a company as compensation for their fruit trees, cash crops, farm land, pulau galau and pemakai menua destroyed by the company.
Each family is expected to receive between RM50,000 and RM100,000 depending on the size of their NCR land.
When the company was given licence to extract timber form their "pulau galau" and "pemakai menua" which are part of their NCR land more than six years ago, the natives initiated a legal suit against the company. Recently they won the case.
On the other hand, more than 200 other landowners from the four kampungs willingly surrendered their land to the same company and each family was paid RM150.
In the morning they received the amount and later in the evening most of the landowners spent all the RM150. Not only that, they lost their land also.
For these landowners who prefer quick money will not only regret for the rest of their life, but will be condemned by their children’s children.
This should serve as a lesson to all landowners.