I disagree with NCA if it denies rights of Anak Negeri community - Ewon
6 Dec 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Kadamaian State Assemblyman (ADUN) Datuk Ewon Benedick has expressed his objection towards the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) if it denies the rights of the Anak Negeri (native) community on the access and possession of their Customary Rights.
“I urge that the NCA and details related to the carbon trading be made transparent and proper discussion should involve all stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Anak Negeri community.
“If this agreement denies the rights of the Anak Negeri community on their Customary Rights, on access to their village and economic areas, then I would like to state my objection.
“If this agreement is more beneficial to outsiders than it is to the people and the Government, then I would like to express my initial objection today,” he said.
Ewon stated this during the Debate of 2022 Sabah Budget at the DUN sitting, today.
According to Ewon, carbon trading through forest conservation can be one of the new methods to create revenue for the State Government but there have been many concerns voiced by the people, especially after the letter from the State Attorney Chamber went viral.
"The NCA agreement seems to be made hastily without proper due diligence. Moreover, there is no engagement with all stakeholders such as NGOs and the Anak Negeri community.
“For me, one of the Government's objectives is to reduce or eliminate conflicts with the community. We all know that many Anak Negeri communities are still claiming their customary land, villages and economic areas that are trapped in Forest Reserves, Sabah Parks, timber concession areas and Government-linked agencies.
“The previous government with its policy at that time has managed to take out 104 villages from the Forest Reserve. There are many more that have been referred to the Cabinet but did not manage to be brought into the DUN after its dissolution last year,” he stated.
He added that the Government can also gazette Forest Community or Tagal Hutan to the native community bordering Sabah Forest Reserves and Sabah Parks, such as in Kg Kiau and Kg Bundu Tuhan similar to the gazettement of Tagal Sungai (River Tagal) throughout Sabah.
Ewon also suggested to the Government to take back the land areas leased to the logging concessions after the expiry of the current lease period and give the lands to the Anak Negeri community as they will definitely need new villages and economic activity areas.