This is how the Politics of Development championed by Taib Mahmud and Sarawak Barisan Nasional Government works.
As reported in The Star Online:
Friday October 3, 2008
Eviction of 10,000 residents ‘put on hold’
MIRI: The 10,000 residents who have been evicted from their centruty-old villages in northern Sarawak have been given a reprieve for Hari Raya.
The Sept 29 deadline for the residents of the 13 Kedayan-Malay villages in Bekenu district came but there were no bulldozers in sight to demolish their homes.
They had been asked to move out of the land that had been leased out to a Miri property developer for an oil-palm plantation and had sought the help of Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang.
Ahmad told The Star yesterday that the villagers had been living on the edge, worrying when their homes would be bulldozed.
“Luckily, the Hari Raya proved to be a reprieve. I did not see any Land and Survey Department enforcement teams or workers from the private company attempting to demolish any houses.
“The eviction has been put on hold, it seems. However, I worry what will happen after the Hari Raya.
“The issue has generated a lot of publicity. The dispute is over a big area.
“The villagers have been living there for many generations and yet the company has staked a claim as the rightful owner.
“This is turning into a big dilemma because the developer’s lawyer has issued a letter saying that the villagers are illegal squatters,” he said.
The villages are located some 40km south of here, along the Sarawak Second Coastal Highway near the Miri-Bintulu divisional boundary.
On Sept 27, the desperate villagers staged a public demonstration along the highway to garner attention to their plight.
Asked whether the villagers would get an injunction against the eviction order, Ahmad said they were looking at all avenues.
“They are appealing to the Government first before resorting to any court action,” he said.
Ahmad said that the villagers have a strong claim to the land, as they had been living there continously since 1910 and have native land rights by virtue of their ancestral background.
The Kedayan-Malays are direct descendents of the Brunei Malay and migrated to Sarawak during the British colonial era.