A logging company worker flashed a home made rifle to intimidate rural NCR land owners against protesting the encroachment of their land at Kg Gran, near Sri Aman, Sarawak. This happened on Dec 4th, at about 9.30am, and the company is Syarikat Sentiasa Maju owned chiefly by West Malaysians. The long house folks made a police report against the flashing of the weapon immediately after the incidence-but so far there has not been any action by the police. The logging company started logging 1 year back despite more than 5 police reports made by rural NCR owners about land encroachment by the logger.The flashing of weapon at logging site reflect a worsening tension between the logging companies and the interior communities who have been complaining against their NCR lands being encroached. A video of the flashing of the rifle can be seen here-a longer video will be ready soonest.
Another view of the position of the rifle carried by the worker from Kapit who refused to provide his name when asked by the rural folks who turn out in force to protest the logging.
Land conflict arise because the Chief Minister has been using the amended land code to issue Provisional Leases to the logging companies, dam builders, gas pipes builders, oil palm plantation operators etc, ignoring the existence of NCR /ancestral lands found in the areas concerned. The Land Code was amended early in 2000 to put the burden of prove of NCR land ownership on the long house folks-thus requiring these largely illiterate and impoverished rural folks to initiate costly and time consuming law suit against the state government, to defend their ancestral lands. Currently, despite various hurdles close to 300 law suit have been initiated through the assistance of helpful pro-human rights lawyers.
Increasingly there are also more and more land owners who stage protest and blockade to put more pressures on the government -also to highlight their impatience on the court actions which normally takes over a decade-till some land owners pass away! These pressures probably also force the land grabbers to show how far they are willing to go to stake their claim on the ancestral lands lived in by the interior folks. Many instances of gangster being employed by the logging companies have been raised by the rural communities before-but this is the first time the flashing of a weapon is caught on video!
This evidence of intimidation using weapon is bound to enrage the unhappy land owners even more-something which will count against the chances of the longest ruling Chief Minister holding on to the state government at the coming state elections due by July 2010.