BINTULU– Two Kenyah longhouses of Uma Sambob and Rumah Nyalang Tahe, Long Koyan have erected a blockade against an oil palm company, Ekran Plantations Sdn. Bhd., seven kilometers from the junction to the Sungai Asap Resettlement Scheme.
The Kenyahs are claiming that their native customary rights (NCR) lands located at Sungai Selakau and Sungai Unan, Belaga have been encroached upon by Ekran since 1998 for the purpose of setting up an oil palm estate. Since then, the 2 communities have incurred damages to their crops and properties because of Ekran activities and no compensation for damages have ever been paid to them.
According to their spokeperson, Andrew Lasah of Uma Sambob said, “One of the company’s representative did at one point in their briefing in front of the community of Uma Sambob and Rumah Nyalang to officiate the opening of the estate, told us that if the company failed to pay compensation or lie to the landowners, the landowners can claim back their land as well as the oil palms that have already been cultivated.”
“We have waited for 14 years, and yet not a single sen has been paid to us”, said the visibly upset Andrew Lasah. “We are now exercising our rights to claim back our NCR lands from Ekran.” Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS) will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates from time to time.
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