KUCHING: Angry Ibans of Kampung Lebor about 20 minutes drive from Serian have another round of victory when they are allowed to collect oil palm fruits from their 3,000 acres of the native customary rights land which have been planted with oil palm.
In February this year, the 70 families of the village have won their civil suit against Tabung Haji when a High Court judge ordered that the 3,000 acres of the land be returned to the land owners as they have proved that the lands were their native customary rights land.
In spite of their victory, the Ibans are, however, not only disallowed to enter their own land, but were also prevented from harvesting the oil palm fruits.
They gave Tabung Haji until June 25, 2012 to hand over the land to them, failing which they would mount a blockade.
Starting on June 24, 2012 the natives mounted the blockade and would continue to do so until a decision was made.
On Tuesday afternoon, both parties were summoned to the Serian Police station accompanied by their respective lawyers.
During the discussions, both parties agreed that each party should be allowed to collect oil palm fruits from their own respective areas.
The Ibans can collect the fruits from the 3,000 acres which the Court had ordered to be returned to them.
According to lawyer See Chee How, who represented the natives, the two parties agreed to allow each other enter their own respective areas.
The Ibans are allowed to enter their own 3,000 acres and harvest the oil palm fruits, while Tabung Haji is allowed to harvest the oil palm fruits from their own areas.
As a result of this agreement, the Ibans agreed to dismantle the blockade.
See said that this is another victory for the Ibans.
Tracing the history of the case, Sigan anak Degon said that when their land was taken by Nirwana Muhibbah, a company owned by Assistant Minister Naroden Majais, the natives filed a civil suit against the company in 1998.
The case was heard in 2003, and the decision of the High Court was made on 23 Feb 2012. According to See, Tabung Haji is rather an innocent party as the original suit was against Nirwana Muhibbah, a company owned by Assistant Minister of Bumiputera Entrepreneur Naroden Majais.
When the suit was filed in 1997 against his company, Naroden was alleged to have sold the area to DD plantation. The DD plantation on realizing the problem with the natives sold the area to Tabung Haji.
According to the 2005 reports of the Land and Survey Department, Naroden has some 16,488 hectares of land, the bulk of these lands are native customary rights land.
These lands have been given to his companies namely Pelita Nirwana Muhibbah, Gedong Plantation, Hydroflow and Indranika Jaya.
Like in Gedong, Naroden’s companies in Simunjan are being sued by the Ibans for ‘stealing’ their NCR land.