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Houses burnt August 2, 2007

Posted by wong jimmy in Land.

The Andrassy farmers plea for government kindness. Note behind them one of the 50 houses that they claimed was burnt to the ground by the Forestry Department in September 2006. 


What? Only Kurup stood up for the people
It was on November 2006, and still a voice in  Natural Justice Group (NJG). Was surprise to read in the newspapers that only Tan Sri Joseph Kurup voiced out against the burning of settlers house.
Sadly, other assemblyman did not voice out the atrocities that happened in their area.
Such settlers are not only in Paitan, they are all over the State, some don’t even know that the land they had occupied had been re-gazetted and falls under the Forest Reserve, meaning they had settled there when it was still a state land and had applied for the land.
It is sad to hear their houses were burnt and they were finally chased out and later bitterly learnt that the land they had toiled for 20 to 30-years were leased to a company, who in turn re-leased it to another company to maintain and harvest oil palms.
It seems the real reason here is not about Forestry Department forest reserve and reforestation, but oil palms, because most of the victim’s so called ‘illegally’ settled lands were fully planted with oil palm and are producing.
Rather than chasing these people out, the forestry should thank them for developing the area till it produce, and they should be rightfully be given the lease to harvest the fruits of their labour.
But instead of doing reforestation, the forestry seized it from the planters and gave to undeserving people who are reaping profits from people’s hard work. These undeserving people need not have to fork out a single cent, they just take over. This is pure injustice.
I agree with Kurup that the method could backfire, as it will only be fair to the eyes of the settler if the forestry really take back the land and chop down all the trees planted and do real reforestation work.
But this is not the case, even in Nagos, the settler were chased out and the land now is leased to a company who maintained and is harvesting the oil palm.
Now the people have no shelter, still landless, and might be forced to crime in order o survive. I call on the government to settle them as soon as possible before it becomes chronic.
The settlers and farmers such as in Paitan, Andrassy, Mt Cook, Ulu Kalumpang and Nagos had shown their sincerity by developing the area, but why was it given to others who do not deserve to harvest the fruits of these people years of labours.
In Nagos, a company who was given the lease had re-leased it to another company for RM524,000 per annum to maintain and harvest the oil palm. These company doesn’t have to spend time and money, they just take over from the hapless and poor people and by doing so, the forestry is creating more poor people in the state.
Why did the forestry waited until the oil palms are producing, why 20 or 30-years ago, the forestry did not stop them and seize back the land. Maybe its because at that time the cash crops were not lucrative as the oil palm which the settlers later planted.
It is obvious that the forestry has no real intention to do reforestation, but quickly leased it to companies to maintain and carry out harvesting.
If the forestry has no intention to reforest, then the department should lease the land to the settlers to continue harvesting.
The Members of Parliament and assemblymen should come out to help the settlers in their areas before the poverty level of the state climbs higher.


1. Thadeus Sibir - August 7, 2007

If Forestry Depratment is really serious in reaforestation, why dont they rehabilitate the 350,000 hectares of land which was cleared by
Benta Wawasan Sdn. Bhd. (Subsidiary co, of Yayasan Sabah)? Why was it given to Yayasan Malacca for Oil Palm plantation? As far as I know, the status of these land is Forest Reserve, as Yayasan Sabah is only given the Logging Rights. By right, this should be stopped by Forestry Department. But instead, they (FD) choose to victimise the poor kampung people by chasing them out from the land that they have applied and developed 20-30 years ago. Where is justice?
If this continues, BN will surely loose the next general election.

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