Most stupid people’ upset over Manyin
A re-elected Sarawak BN representative has backed a logging firm and accuses natives of ‘causing a ruckus’ over compensation issue.
KUCHING: A re-elected Barisan Nasional (BN) representative has not only “insulted” his constituents in Tebedu but also “embarrassed” them by defending the allegedly illegal activities of a logging firm.
Residents from 10 Bidayuh longhouses in Tebedu are paying the price for returning then incumbent Michael Manyin into power in the recent April 16 Sarawak election.
According to community spokesman Bisa Duda, Manyin’s recent press statements alleging that they were angry with a logging firm over compensation issues is untrue, “insulting and embarrassing to the people”.
“We are not after the money. We do not want the company to encroach into our land and the jungle in our area as these our ancestral properties,” he said.
Manyin had reportedly said that the villagers, whose native customary rights (NCR) lands were affected by the construction of logging roads, were angry and “causing a ruckus” as the timber company had failed to pay them compensation.
Manyin said the villagers, who demonstrated by blocking the access road to the logging area last Sunday, were unhappy that they were not part of the group that received RM40 per square metre compensation for the affected land to build the road.
He said that when the problem was first reported to him, he was told that the villagers initially objected to their land being used.
“But later on when the company offered them lucrative compensation, the villagers agreed.
“Only those people whose land was not affected are the ones angry and causing a ruckus,” Manyin said.
But Bisa has a different story.
“Manyin is telling lies. We never agreed or allowed the company to use our land to build logging roads,” he said.
He said no such decision was made even after a dialogue session with the company.
He said the villagers wanted Manyin to retract his statement, explain the situation to them and resolve the problem.
“We are ready to confront him and as the people’s representative, he ought to think of the people’s welfare,” Bisa said.
According to Bisa, the villagers also wanted to know who gave the timber company permission to encroach into their land.
“They also want to know why the agreement dated Sept 30, 2010, was signed behind their back,” he said.
In the agreement, it was stated that the company would pay RM1.50 per tonne of logs from the area and the amount was to be divided equally among the five village chiefs.
Bisa now wants the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the matter as it involved village chiefs.
Polluted drinking water
Meanwhile, a native, Mani anak Merin, in an interview with Radio Free Sarawak, said that the logging activities had polluted their drinking water.
“Those who drink the water are suffering from itchiness and coughs,” he said.
He said the villagers had also complained to the police that they were threatened by the timber workers.
He said they had lodged two reports – one at the Tebedu police station and the other at the Serian police station.
“So far the police have not responded to their reports. But when the company made a report, the police immediately acted,” Mani alleged.
He said that when the police failed to respond to their reports, the villagers took the law into their own hands by mounting a blockade last Sunday to stop the timber workers from entering their land or going out.
They also destroyed a timber bridge, he said.
Mani also expressed his anger at his fellow villagers who voted for Manyin during the recently concluded election.
“They know that their NCR land and forest have been taken away by the company approved by the state BN government, and yet they voted for the BN candidate.
“They are the most stupid people,” he said, adding that some 80% of the villagers voted for Manyin.
Manyin was elected with a 4,066-vote majority when he secured 6,196 votes to defeat Dr Christopher Kiyui of PKR.
Christopher managed to obtain 2,130 votes.