A landowner has accused the deputy chief minister of twisting the truth over a joint-venture project.
KUCHING: A native customary right (NCR) landowner gave Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang a verbal slap yesterday for twisting the truth and claiming that the government was supportive of native rights.
Declining to be named, the landowner said he and many others were present during the “Kanowit incident” in 1996 which Jabu had referred to at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.
“We were there in 1996. We know about the joint-venture (JV) concept. We were cheated of our rightful dividends,” he said in reference to Jabu’s accusation that DAP was the stumbling block to poverty eradication programmes among the rural community.
Jabu, during his debate on the state’s 2012 budget yesterday, revisited the 1996 Kanowit incident and recalled that some 20 to 30 DAP members had objected to the government’s NCR joint-venture poverty eradication programmes to assist rural Sarawakians.
“In 1966, about 1,500 landowners turned up for the launching of the NCR joint-venture concept at the Dewan Suarah Kanowit. We then saw some 20 to 30 DAP members climbed on stage to protest against the programme,” said Jabu.
He also pointed out that Machang assemblyman Gramong Juna and Land Development Minister James Masing were also witnesses to the incident.
“NCR landowners and the people of Sarawak can never and will never forgive DAP for its selfish attitude,” he added.
“DAP is the stumbling block to poverty eradication programmes in the rural communities.
“The rough and dirty political tactics by the opposition are very dangerous because they can incite racial feelings… they can also deprive the rural people of the opportunities to benefit from the programmes of the Barisan Nasional to eradicate poverty,” Jabu said.
‘We’re suing the government’
Jabu’s verbosity in the state assembly, however, could not match the anger spewed by the landowner who said 100 of the JV project participants were now suing the government for failing to pay them dividends.
“More than 100 of us are suing the government and the company for not paying us dividends since the launching of the JV project (15 years ago).
“We have engaged Baru Bian (Ba’Kelalan assemblyman) to sue the government and the company. We want to withdraw from the JV.
“Now who is suppressing the NCR landowners – DAP or the state BN government?” asked the frustrated landowner.