Mystery of the disappearing forest fund

Saturday 9 April, 2016

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On today’s show, we speak to Roland Engan, potential PKR candidate for Baram, who is asking about the fund collected from logging royalties by the government. This fund was supposed to help the most disadvantaged communities in Baram to raise the standard of living and provide basic amenities, regardless of party, but it seems that none of the money has materialized. In spite of the success in their struggle against the dam, there is still a lot of work to do in Baram.

Then, Jermat Panjang, another potential candidate though this time in Kelaka, tells us something that should already be clear to everyone, even though PBB continue to maintain the opposite, against all logical thought. UMNO is already in Sarawak, he says. With Najib’s regular visits to campaign on behalf of PBB, how can anyone be convinced otherwise? The name may be different but the effect is just the same.

We return to Sabah to get some feedback from the ground from Jeffrey Kiding as four Sarawakians remain in the clutches of kidnappers. He tells us that the people of Tawau live in constant fear from the succession of recent incursions. ESSCOM may have all the modern equipment in the world, he says, and they may be able to trace every stick, as claimed by Wan Junaidi. But sadly, that doesn’t make much difference when they can’t trace the pirates or their victims.

For our Jako Kenang with Ayak Bujang Tuai, we return to the sad case in Kuala Tatau which is becoming all to commonplace across Sarawak. This community has been robbed of their land by a stroke of Lands and Survey’s pen as they resurvey areas that were already designated native title half a century ago. Out of sight, out of mind, seems to be the department’s policy. For this community, who are in possession of official survey maps dating back to 1950, you would think that their ownership would be clear. But the response is: Prove it in court! No so easy though, when you don’t have enough money for a lawyer because the palm oil company in question have taken away your land and your livelihood.

Then we speak to Clement Bayang, the Dayak candidate being put forward for nomination by PAS in Kakus. He shares how he wanted to stand for either DAP or PKR but with both parties less active in his area, he has opted for PAS as his best chance. In spite of everything, Clement says that PAS are stil Pakatan Harapan friendly rather than Barisan Nasional friendly. Sometimes it seems hard to know these days who is helping who.

Rural development, rural development, rural development. This is the clarion call that the BN government keep blasting. Too late, too late, too late, replies Akik Igat. With 50 years behind them of huge profits from forest resources and zero investment in the rural people who have lost those resources, it really is a question of too little, too late.

Tune in for all this and more, plus our Borneo Bulletin.

Semoa kitai tau bejako!

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