SOLYMONE BLOG

SOME BIDAYUH VILLAGERS REJECT PAYMENT


This was the scene at the community hall in Bengoh, a largely Bidayuh settlement an hour’s drive from Kuching, which greeted the entourage of VIPs at the cheque presentation ceremony

KUCHING - Some Bidayuh Vilagers turned up to receive their compensation happily; many others were there to protest, carrying placards to express their dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the government.

State Public Utilities Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan was there to officiate at the ceremony, accompanied by several Bidayuh state representatives including minister Michael Manyin, Dr Jerip Susil, James Dawos and Peter Nansian. The compensation was for three Bidayuh villages - Rejoi, Pain Bojong and Taba Sait - which were directly affected by the construction of the RM320 million Bengoh dam meant to be the main source for Greater Kuching’s water needs up to 2030.

The protesters, from two of the three affected villages, are prepared to forego the handsome payments, in some cases as much as RM200,000 or more for each recipient, and prefer to keep the ancestral land where they have lived and farmed on for decades, planting pepper, cocoa and padi.

They protested peacefully outside the community hall carrying placards - some of which read ‘Kerjaan Penipu’ (Government is cheating) and ‘Kami tak mau pindah’ (We don’t want to move). Scores of policemen were present.

The cheques totaling about RM15 million also included compensation for a fourth nearby Bidayuh village, Semban. Although Kampung Semban is not going to be submerged, it forms part of the resettlement plan.

The Bengoh dam project has been awarded to Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd and sub-contracted to a mainland Chinese company, Sino Hydro.

The main grouses of the protesters, comprising more than 50 heads of families from the three villages, were unsuitable relocation sites, inadequate compensation and non-recognition of their NCR land.

Group spokesperson Simo ak Sekam, 48, said they were not interested to move to a new 332-acre site, about 10km away and presently inaccessible, at Jalan Bau/Semadang.

Apart from the financial compensation for their lands and other properties, they have also been offered a 0.15 acre plot each family for housing and another three acres for cultivation, together with other facilities and services.

Awang Tengah described it as a development-oriented resettlement site, urging all villagers from the four kampungs to accept the plan and not oppose the project as it would be beneficial in the long run for the people in Greater Kuching.

All in, 199 families with a total population of about 1,300 will be displaced by the dam project from the four villages.

According to a brief from Naim Cendera distributed to reporters covering the cheque-presentation ceremony, three villages - Taba Sait, Pain Bojong and Rejoi - will be submerged when the dam is fully completed in July 2010.

The villagers will start moving out in May 2009 and to be resettled by June 2010 before the diversion tunnel is plugged and impoundment begins.

The government’s financial compensation is for all land within the designated reservoir area, including all crops, buildings, fish ponds, etc in the three villages. Compensation is also to be paid for Kampung Semban and all cultivated areas outside the designated reservoir area.

All graves are to be exhumed and reburied at the designated new burial ground in the resettlement area, but the protesting villagers say the 20.5 acres reserved for this purpose at the new resettlement site will not be big enough.

About 100 students from the two primary schools within the dam catchment area - SK Taba Sait and SK Semban - will be transferred to SRK Bengoh.

At the ceremony, the headmen from the four affected villages as well as nearby two villages - Bengoh and Danu - also received from Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd RM2,000 in cash.

This was believed to be for the villages to celebrate Christmas next week.

Source: MALAYSIA KINI

1 comments:

GREAT BROTHER...WILL GOD SAVE YOUR.
SUHAKAM SHOULD WAKEN TO BUILD THE TRUST FROM OUR COMMUNITY. WE CANNOT CRY THOUGHT UTUSAN MALAYSIA, BERITA HARIAN OR THE SAME AS BORNEO POST..I THINK THEY ARE PISSING US, JUST LIKE THEY DYING MONEY BY BIAS IN GIVING INFORMATION TO THE NATION..MORE AND MORE SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT IN THE MEANS OF 'POLITICS'.


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