Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Natives launch 'Occupy' movement against land grab



Some 40 Sarawak natives started camping outside Wisma Pelita in the state capital of Kuching yesterday, protesting the continued inaction of the state authority on their complaints of encroachment into their native customary rights (NCR) land.

They started their protest at 12.30pm yesterday against temporary leases to their land that the state issued to a local company.

Wisma Pelita houses the Sarawak Land and Survey Office.

Sri Aman DAP chief Leon Jimat Donald, when contacted, said the natives at the ‘Occupy Wisma Pelita’ were from Malikin, Balai Ringin and Serian.

NONE"The tractors of the company have moved into their land and bulldozed their rubber trees and paddy fields, without even consulting them.

"But the Land Office keeps saying that it is investigating their complaint," he said.

This protest, Donald said, is the fourth since the matter was raised in October last year.

Which was why, he added, the natives have, for the first time, decided to camp outside the Land Office since all their previous appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

"Our lie-in here will continue for as long as it takes, until the Land Office addresses this problem," he said.

A first for Orang Asal

The land, Donald said, were given to a company owned by a politician linked to the ruling PBB for relinquishing his position as a state assemblyperson during the last Sarawak election.

NONEThe ‘lie-in’ is being held in conjunction with the state assembly sitting which began yesterday, in order to apply pressure on the Sarawak government.

According to Donald, Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, who is also Kota Sentosa  assemblyperson, will table an emergency motion in the House today on the plight of the natives.

“We're using this opportunity, since the state assembly is sitting, to pressure Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to take action,” he said.

The encampment, a first for natives of East Malaysia, coincides with the one-month anniversary of Occupy Dataran Merdeka by democracy activists in Kuala Lumpur.

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