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February 7, 2011

The Kayan community of Long Bemang submit memorandum to PM



 7 February 2011  

 The Kayan community of Long Bemang submit memorandum to PM  

MIRI – The Kayan community of Long Bemang together with their Chief yesterday submitted a memorandum to YAB Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia demanding that the government look into their issues and problems, especially regarding their native customary rights (NCR) to land.  Security was tight, when Najib visited Miri in conjunction with the National Level Chinese New year Open House held at the Miri City Fan last night therefore the community only managed to pass their memorandum to Najib’s personal aides.

In the memorandum, the community of Long Bemang said that they have settled in the Sungai Apoh area in the Baram District since the forties and with the encouragement of the then colonial government established their communal boundary with the other Kayan and Penan communities in the area.

The government has also supported them throughout the years until today by providing them with a primary school, rural health clinic, gravity pipe water supply, electric generators, the village road and agricultural subsidies for paddy, rubber, pepper and fruit trees. The government also provided the village with grants to maintain their longhouse.

Not only that, the government has also appointed the Chief for the Apoh region from the village as well as the headman and supporting the village development and security committee (JKKK). In the memorandum the community mentioned that their customary land is their blood and life which they had inherited according to their customary practices from their ancestors.

However, in the memorandum it states that the community have found out that their customary land has been licensed out to Pusaka KTS Forest Plantations Sdn. Bhd. (PKTS) in 1989 by the Sarawak Minister of Resource Planning and Management and the Director of the Sarawak Forestry Department for the establishment of an industrial tree plantation.A large part of their customary land which consists of mostly farmland is affected by the licence and the community are concern that this will affect their livelihood. After listing down their concerns, the community in their memorandum demanded that all their NCR land be excluded from PKTS licensed areas.

They demanded that the government should survey and gazette their communal boundary and any survey and demarcation works has to be done with full participation from the communities.  The government and its agencies and the private companies should, in their process of consultation uphold the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) before implementing any development projects within the community’s NCR territory also in accordance with the principles in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

In the memorandum, the community also stated that Petronas’ Sarawak-Sabah Gas Pipeline Project (SSGP) has cut across their NCR territory. However, the community does not object to this project but they demanded that Petronas will be responsible for the welfare of the communities affected by the project according to company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles.

The memorandum is signed by Penghulu Ajang Jok as the Chief of Apoh area, a representative of TK Deng Anyie, the headman for Long Bemang and Ngau Jok as the chairman of the village committee.

Press release issued by:

Mark Bujang Executive Director, BRIMAS 

Lot 1046, 2nd Flr. Shang Garden Com. Centre
Jalan Bulan Sabit ,98000 Miri, Sarawak
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1065 ,98008 Miri,Sarawak.
Tel: 085 423044
Fax: 085 438580
Email: markbujang@gmail.com 

See the copy of memorandum below

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