Sarawak asst minister: Oil palm project no threat to Mulu National Park

Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Len Talif Salleh (centre) says Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund is spreading lies and spinning the issue to get more funding.

KUCHING: An assistant minister in the Sarawak government has taken Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) to task, stating the group was spreading lies by claiming a nearby oil palm plantation is a threat to the Mulu National Park.

According to Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Len Talif Salleh, the oil palm plantation had been there for years.

“It (oil palm plantation) is outside the park.

“I’m the assistant minister in charge of the environment and I would not allow the plantation if it was in the park.

“I’m not going to help them (BMF) popularise their agenda by spreading lies to the world and get more funding,” he said.

“You must understand the background of BMF.

“The more they ‘spin’ the issue, the better it is for them,” he said at a press conference on the upcoming Sarawak Career and Training (ScaT) Fair 2019 here today.

The event, which will be held from March 15-17 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), is expected to be officiated by Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

Len also said indigenous leaders can always refer to the Forestry Department, the state’s Natural Resources and Environment Board as well as the Land and Survey Department to resolve any problems.

In a statement dated Feb 18, BMF had urged the authorities to stop intimidating indigenous leaders, following reports of an Orang Asli leader being threatened with arrest after he protested against the oil palm plantation.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, in an earlier statement, had also expressed concern over the issue and had contacted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas for a clarification.

“As land is a state matter, I am counting upon the state government to take the appropriate measures to resolve the matter in the interest of the state, the indigenous people and our national sustainability agenda,” she said.