Search This Blog

Sunday, March 26, 2017

STAR: Leave Natives Alone, Go After the Foreigners and Timber Thieves

KOTA KINABALU - "The Sabah government and its Forestry Department should allow the indigenous people to enjoy their daily lives in their homeland which has been independent. The indigenous natives do not deserve and should not be treated so cruelly and inhumanely as had tragically happened in Kg. Bobotong on 15th March,” said James Aik, Star Division Chief for Kuamut, in a press statement released today in support of his President’s statement on re-building and compensation for the uncalled-for destruction of village houses in Kg. Bobotong, Tongod, which is under the Kuamut State Constituency.

Prior to this, the same atrocities and destruction of village homes of Natives were committed in Kg.  Tampasak, Saguon and Alitang in the same District.

When informed of the incident, James together with his deputy Mandek Yadam rushed to Kg. Bobotong and found more than 15 houses were destroyed. 

The villagers in Kg. Bobotong are Natives of Sabah and have been occupying their houses since the 1970s.   It is not true as alleged by the Director of Forestry that the 16 houses that were destroyed were unoccupied or squatter houses.   Either the Director is not telling the truth or his officers are not telling him the truth and causing him to state that the houses were unoccupied.

According to the victims, 42 Forest Department vehicles with not less than 200 personnel, some with guns and enforcement units with several dogs, swamped their village.

"They see us as more dangerous than the Tanduo terrorist intruders several years ago." said a spokesman for the villagers.   There were several women who kneeled at the feet of the Forestry Department Enforcement Officer pleading for his team not to destroy their houses.  The Officer could only offer his sympathies that they were only obeying orders and carried on with the destruction.

“The destruction of the houses of the Natives who were merely occupying and working on their lands in accordance with their customs as promised and carved in the Batu Sumpah is cruel, inhumane and unacceptable” stressed James.

“Instead of targeting the Sabah Natives, the Forestry Department should go after foreigners occupying State lands and forest reserves as well as timber thieves as it is well known that timber theft is rampant in Sabah” added James.

As for the Sabah government, they should be protecting and safeguarding the rights and interests of the indigenous Natives and not victimizing them.  They should rebuild the houses and compensate the villagers concerned and even pay compensation to the other villagers for their trauma and anguish.

In addition, the Sabah government should focus on and carry out enforcement on critical issues such as squatters of illegal immigrants, rampant illegal loggers and corruption involving millions of ringgit as in the Water Department scandal.   If not the Government and their leaders ought to resign for failing to deal with the critical issues".

"I hope the people in Kuamut will realize the failure of the current government and support the Gabungan Sabah coalition and change the present government at the forthcoming election" concluded James Aik.

No comments:

Post a Comment