SIBU: A total of 404 residents of the Sekuau Resettlement Scheme are calling for the FELCRA (Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) to stop their operation and move out within seven days.
This was demanded by them due to FELCRA’s failure in paying the dividend from their participation in an oil palm plantation scheme run by the organisation.
According to chairman of Sekuau Security and Development Council, Councillor Henry Kanyan during a press conference, the 404 residents from the 24 longhouses concerned only received the dividends from FELCRA four times in 25 years.
“We are giving FELCRA seven days as from today (June 17) to cease operation and move out. If they defy our order and continue operation after seven days, we will start a demonstration,” he warned.
Kanyan pointed out that since last year few meetings had been held between them but thus far no solution had been made.
“The 404 participants have ample meetings with FELCRA on the payment of dividends. Last year six meetings took place between them.
“We will not meet and discuss with FELCRA anymore as previous meetings had not brought any positive development.
“Our last meeting with the plantation manager was before the Gawai Dayak where we were promised dividends but until now, we have not received anything,” he said.
Kanyan also said that each time FELCRA would give the excuse that they were not obliged to pay them as they said there was no contractual agreement made between them.
However, Kanyan also emphasised that FELCRA had benefited from using the participants’ land covering a total size of 900 hectares for oil palm plantation.
Thus, Kanyan stressed that the FELCRA is compelled to pay the dividend.
“Each month, FELCRA harvested up to 2,000 tonnes of FFB (fresh fruit bunch).
“They never told us how much dividend we are entitled to as their excuse is that there was no formal agreement made for the use of our land for the plantation.
“The four times they paid us were according to their whims and fancies,” he said.
Kanyan also shared that the 404 participants, on June 16 had lodged a police report at Stapang Police Station on the matter.
Meanwhile, one of the longhouse chiefs, Tuai Rumah Labang Ayom who was met by reporters during the press conference, said that if FELCRA wants to continue their operation they would have to pay them the dividend first.
“We will send a memorandum to the government and related agencies on the matter. If FELCRA insists on not paying us, let us choose our developer,” he said.
For the record, the land was given to the 404 residents by the state government in 1972 for farming purposes.
However, in 1993 FELCRA came in planting pepper, cocoa, and later oil palm as they were appointed by the federal government to uplift their (landowners’) living standard through agriculture.
Also present at the press conference were Penghulu Andrewson Ngalai Asom and 16 of the 24 longhouse chiefs.