Residents of Long Atip put up ‘blockade’ against Petronas for not fulfilling promises – BRIMAS Press Release
10 March 2011
BARAM – The Kayan community of Long Atip, Apoh last Tuesday erected a blockade not far from the junction to their longhouse, about 200 km from Miri, against Petronas’ Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP) project where Petronas have not fulfilled their promises to the community.
According to the longhouse headmen, TK Wilson Anyie, this is the second blockade which the community have erected, the first one was on 20th December 2010.
The blockade was erected again because the community are not happy with Petronas for not fulfilling their part of the bargain and extracting timbers illegally within the native customary land boundary of Long Atip and well outside the buffer of 40 metres set by Petronas’ SGGP project.
According to Gilbert Laing Jok, representatives of Petronas led by Ms. Monaliza Wati first visited their community sometime in 2007 to seek support from the villagers for the project.
“The residents were promised various types of development projects and at that time Monaliza said that Petronas will give anything that the villagers requested for, if we give full support to this project,” said Gilbert.
At that time, the villagers requested for a bridge to be build across the Apoh river and Petronas agreed to the proposal.
According to TK Wilson, “Petronas representatives led by Monaliza boasted that Petronas has lot of money, and the request for the bridge is just a small request.”
In 2009, the State Government paid compensation to the longhouse residents for the lands acquired for the project, however the promised bridge did not materialised.
On 20th December 2010 the residents erected the first blockade to demand from Petronas regarding the longhouse residents’ request.
On 23rd December a meeting was held at Long Atip between the residents and Petronas. The police and officers from the Land and Survey Department were also present.
During that meeting, the longhouse residents decided that instead of building a bridge they requested that Petronas supply them with a 40 horsepower electric generator, 40 galvanised lamp post, upgrading of the village road and RM200,000 as the village welfare fund, which cost well below the cost of building the bridge estimated at about RM3 million.
However, the meeting came to no agreement and the longhouse residents decided to continue with the blockade.
On 10th January 2011, Petronas called for another meeting with the Long Atip residents at Long Lama. During this meeting, Petronas disagreed to all request in the proposal except one citing reasons that they do not have the budget. Petronas only agreed to upgrade the village road and repair the village’s existing electric generator. The longhouse residents also agreed to lift the blockade.
“It has been two months now, and Petronas has yet to start with the promised works,” said TK Wilson.
“Instead on fulfilling their promises, Petronas contractors are now encroaching into our native customary land territory and extracting timbers well outside their 40 metre buffer zone without or knowledge or consent,” said TK Wilson.
TK Wilson said their land has been damaged and he found out that about 87 trees consisting of meranti, kapur and various other species has been logged.
According to Gilbert, he is clearly disappointed with Petronas Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy statement where it is quoted that “We believe very strongly that the position of a company, like Petronas in any local community must be one of long term mutual advantage. Any investment, such as this SSGP project, must be for the good of the company and good for the community and country. Only under those conditions can we expect to continue as welcome guests and valued partners.”
“How can this project be of mutual advantage when Petronas has not fulfilled any of their promises to us yet?
“We welcome Petronas as our guests but now we are telling Petronas if you do not heed our demands, you are not welcome here,” said Gilbert.
Press Statement issued by:
Executive Director, BRIMAS