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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Don't Interfere, Masing Tells NCR Landowners

11/12/05 KANOWIT (Bernama) -- Sarawak Land Development Minister Datuk Dr James Jemut Masing is concerned over the tendency among some landowners and politicians to interfere in the running of oil palm plantations on native customary right (NCR) lands in the state.

He said the interference had resulted in low production and thus low income.

"When the company cannot make much profit, it is of course not in a position to pay out the annual dividends," he told reporters after a pre-Christmas gathering organised by the Machan and Ngemah Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) division here Saturday night.

When they could not receive any dividend, the landowners began to angrily question the viability of the plantation and blame the government as well, he said, adding that they should leave the management to the managers and other executives who had been trained for the job.

The interference included lobbying for contracts for local contractors who could not perform, he said.

Dr Masing cited the example of Kanowit Oil Palm Plantation, the first such plantation on NCR land, whose production was between seven to 10 tonnes per hectare per year when the production for a commercial plantation should be between 18 and 24 tonnes.

Some areas developed by the Sarawak Land Custody and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) also faced similar problems, he added.

On another matter, he said that all the four Barisan Nasional component parties in the state already knew which seats they would be contesting in the coming state election and as such, there should not be any lobbying.

"Let us all concentrate among our respective supporters on the ground to deliver all the seats to Barisan Nasional for another landslide victory.

"The arrangements have been made, the 71 seats duly allocated. The decision is final," he added.

Ngemah state assemblyman Gabriel AdiT Demong, from the deregistered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), had said recently that he was confident of contesting the seat for his new party, the Sarawak Progressive and Democratic Party (SPDP), a state BN component.

However, PRS insisted that the seat belonged to it as the successor of PBDS. The seat as well as the Belaga seat, also held by a another PBDS incumbent Stanley Ajang who had joined SPDP, had been allocated to PRS.