About 30 residents of Lawas started a blockade from 8.00am this morning and stopped about 50 workers of the Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline project from passing through to work. Their banners say they want their NCR land recognised and demand that section 5 of the Land Code be amended to remove the burden of prove on ownership from the owners as provided currently. The over 500km gas pipeline has caused a number of blockades so far from traditonal land owners whose land lands have been encroached by the pipeline without any consultation. Previously blockades had been set up at Long Rusina, along the same road out of Lawas town, and also in Ulu Baram and Ulu Limbang.
The blockade is gaining more support as time pass-and the workers in blue uniform are happy to take a rest and take photos at in front of the hand-drawn banners put up by the residents. While the news of such blockades in the Sarawak interior tend to be not publicised by any main or side stream media the news is getting out now through NGO media that goes further. The blockade is located at a junction of the main road, which is a Samling logging road, and the path of the gas pipeline. Huge gas pipes can be seen lying on the ground -yet to be assembled. All along the road huge stockpile of gas pipes are also visible at a few collection point. Trucks carrying workers to the gas pipeline project have been passing through-till this morning when they were stopped. It is not known when the project owner Petronas will start negotiation with the residents. Residents spokeperson John Labo is contactible at 017-8539430, when there is a mobile network around.
9.30AM-Police arrive on the scene now
10.00am-Inspector Juman and an assistant came to monitor the situation and left in a few minutes.
10.15am-10 trucks carrying mainly foreign labor to work on the Sabah Sarawak Gas Pipeline Project which were stopped at the blockade, turned back. There is another blockade at the other end of the road-so they can’t come from the other way either.
10.20am-more residents are pouring in and bring chairs, umbrella and other supplies to support those in the blockade. Some use their parang to cut down some small branches to hang more banners around and to build a small hut-preparing for a long haul. Currently there are 3 banners being hung up-all calling for the Land Code to be amended to remove oppressive provision which put burden of prove on ownership on the traditional owners.
10.30am-interview John Labo-spokeperson for the blockade.