Saturday, November 14, 2009

Longhouse bust-up over logging compensation

Extract from The Star Online - Nation
Friday November 13, 2009

MIRI: A 66-year-old farmer from a remote longhouse in Ulu Baram has lodged a police report against the chief of his longhouse for allegedly assaulting him during a quarrel over logging activities in the jungles surrounding their settlement.
Ipoi Jau from Long Terawan, a settlement some eight hours by timber road from here, claimed that his longhouse chief had punched him on the face when he asked how much “commission” he received from a timber company for allowing the harvesting of timber on their land on Sunday.

Ipoi and two of his nephews, Willie Kajan and Marcus Lasat, sought legal advice on the matter on Wednesday.Ipoi said he had to seek medical treatment for a cut he sustained on the face during the incident.“The penghulu punched me in front of a crowd during a funeral after I asked him what he had done with the money collected from the timber company.“He assaulted me when I asked him why he had not been distributing the money to the rest of the longhouse residents,’’ Ipoi said in an interview at the lawyer’s office.

Kajan said his uncle and many in the community were angry that although the timber firm had been harvesting logs on their land, they had not received any money.
He claimed that since the penghulu took over the post of community chief in Tutoh-Apoh five years ago, the longhouse residents had not been getting any compensation for logging activities on their land.

“We have received information that the timber company paid up to RM100,000 to a longhouse per year as ‘commission.’ “This money is supposed to be shared among all the families living in the longhouse, and is not just for the penghulu,’’ he said.
Miri police chief Asst Comm Jamaluddin Ibrahim said the police would investigate Ipoi’s report and to date, nobody has been arrested over the case.

This incident shows the head man is totally not qualified for his post. It not just bad for himself but its tarnished the image of the community which known as a loving community. What a shame for head man to behave in such a way? As a head man that appointed by Government he should able to control his anger and he should tackle whatever issues with professional manner. It is so sad to see such incident happen in this well known caring and loving community.

Government have to be more serious in appointing community head man in future. Also it is will be fair if Government can do a thoroughly investigation on the victim accused to find out the truth in order to avoid such incident repeated in future.

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