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February 22, 2011

Rumah Ranggong residents disappointed with news report from Borneo Post portraying them as the aggressors

21 February 2011

PRESS RELEASE

Rumah Ranggong residents disappointed with news report from Borneo Post portraying them as the aggressors

MIRI – Residents of Rumah Ranggong are disappointed with the news report from a local daily the Borneo Post which portrayed them as the aggressors and are out to threaten the company, BLD Resources with the use of force.

On 20 February, the Sunday Post under the headline “Police finally move to diffuse standoff” was reported as saying that the longhouse residents were taking over the estate, illegally harvesting of (oil palm) fruits along the roadside and eventually seizing three tractors in order to harvest more fruits.

The report also stated that the longhouse residents allegedly threatened the workers of the company with bodily harm if the company continue to lodge police reports and because of that the report further state that the estate’s security personnel was inadequate and therefore are sending more men to beef up the security in the area.

Changgai anak Dali, the Chairman of the village security and development committee (JKKK) said that this report is a blatant lie.“We never seized any tractors nor threatened the company,” said Changgai.“It is the company that brought along gangsters fully armed with machetes and explosives (see picture) to intimidate and threatened our longhouse people,” he said.

“Why should security personnel bring along with them home made explosives? Who is threatening whom here with force?” asked Changgai.

The report also lied when it said that the longhouse residents, through their trustees had signed an agreement of indemnity with the company for the equity of 30 percent in July 2009 when in actual fact the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between BLD, Sarawak Land Development Board (SLDB) and the native landowners of Rumah Ranggong and Rumah Belilie was signed in February 2001.

On 21 February, the Borneo Post under the headline “Police to take action over alleged threat” again spun the story to paint the picture that the residents of Rumah Ranggong are the aggressors by saying that several longhouse folk had allegedly threatened to use force against the company.

“We want to put the story right here,” said Changgai. “In October 2008, a Deed of Rescission (see attached) was signed between SLDB and BLD without our knowledge to rescind the JVA because the State Government made a mistake in declaring our land as under native customary right (NCR) and now it is State Land,” said Changgai.

“Because of this I was sued by BLD for trespassing in my own land and that triggered our land dispute where we filed a counter suit which is now undergoing trial at the Kuching High Court.

“Last year we wrote a letter to BLD to demand our land back and also to settle our long overdue dividends from the project, but we received no response and that is when we decided to erect our blockade in January this year,” explained Changgai.

The neighbouring residents of Rumah Belilie also erected a blockade to protest against BLD.
Last Friday, about 100 armed gangsters went to the outskirts of Rumah Ranggong native customary land boundary and made camp there in an attempt to intimidate and threaten the longhouse residents. A gang leader was arrested by police while the rest were told to leave by the police.

Released by:
Mark Bujang
Executive Director,BRIMAS

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

Read the Spin stories by Borneo Post below

Police finally move to diffuse stand-off

Posted on February 20, 2011, Sunday

BINTULU: A team of police personnel rushed to Rumah Ranggong in Ulu Niah on Friday upon receiving a report from a few longhouse residents on the presence of many outsiders in an oil palm estate near their longhouse.

The quick action of the police diffused a tense standoff between the longhouse residents and security personnel of the neighbouring oil palm estate over a dispute on dividend payment.

The longhouse residents, through their trustees, had signed an agreement of indemnity with the company for the equity of 30 per cent in July 2009.

Recently, they demanded immediate payment of dividends. However, the  company explained that the decision on dividend would be made after the accounts had been finalised and audited.

This led to the longhouse residents taking over the estate, illegally harvesting fruits along the roadside and eventually seizing three tractors in order to harvest more fruits.

The company, on the other hand, had made 13 police reports against the locals for such illegal acts.

Workers of the oil palm plantation eventually left the estate for safety reasons as the longhouse residents allegedly threatened that they would cause bodily harm to them if they made further police reports.

A spokesman for the company said despite the numerous police reports on thefts of their fruits and seizure of the tractors the police had not done anything and security personnel at the estate had also been threatened by the longhouse residents.

He added that as the estate’s security personnel was inadequate to cope with the threats and thefts by the longhouse people the company was forced to beef up its security by sending in the extra men which led to the longhouse residents lodging the police report yesterday.

Meanwhile State CID chief SAC Huzir Mohamed confirmed that the police had received a report from the longhouse residents and detained one man at the estate for possession of explosive material.

Police to take action over alleged threat

by Peter Boon and Wilson Kong. Posted on February 21, 2011, Monday

SIBU: The police will take action against several folk at Rh Ranggong in Ulu Niah for an alleged threat which happened last Friday.

Inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said he had instructed the State Commissioner of Police Datuk Mohamad Saleh to take actions against those involved.

“I heard about the news just now (yesterday) and I have instructed the state police to take appropriate actions against those who engaged tactics to exert fear in people.

“This is because the action of exerting fear and threatening someone tantamounts to a criminal offence,” he told reporters.

He said this when asked on the incident at a longhouse in Ulu Niah, reported by a local media.

It was reported that several longhouse folk had allegedly threatened to use force against an oil palm estate over a dispute regarding dividend payment.

The company concerned had lodged a police report pertaining to the incident.

Earlier, Ismail attended the ‘Meet-the-people’ session at MUC hall here.

Among those present were state Deputy Commissioner of Police

Datuk Law Hong Soon, Nangka assemblyman Datuk Awang Bemee Awang Ali Basah, Temenggong Datuk Wan Hamid Edruce and Sibu police chief ACP Shafie Ismail.

Elaborating on the case, Ismail said: “We will need to thoroughly investigate the matter before taking actions.”

He reminded members of the public not to take the law into their own hands when settling any disputes.

“Settle your problems amicably and never take the law into your own hands,” he advised, adding that they had not made any arrest in connection with the case.

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