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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

NCA: No problem if transparency, accountability in place – NGO



23 February 2022

By Wartawan Nabalu News


PENAMPANG: There is no problem with the carbon trading contract in Sabah if transparency and accountability are in place, said Sabah Action Body Advocating Rights (Sabar).


"We heard the arguments (from both the government and the community), but the only problem is that we haven't read the actual documents," said its Chairman Dr Henry K.F.Chok.


Henry was among those who recently attended the Pacos Training Centre’s Special Briefing Programme on the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA).


"For the time being, this (NCA) is just hearsay; you say this, I say this. We need to dig further into the documents, which is why we're talking about transparency and accountability in the first place.


"If it's transparent, everyone knows, then it (NCA) shouldn't be an issue,” he said in a statement today.


According to former senator and Orang Asal Rights campaigner Adrian Lasimbang, there is no mention of native rights or Sabahan rights in the agreement.


"We have to figure out a way to incorporate that (native and Sabahan rights) into that deal. We must be attentive to the indigenous' requirements and needs. That is actually the point. Then we can talk about how to include this into the deal that has already been signed.


"Our participation in this Special Briefing is intended to bring people together and help them realise the true problem and how to solve it as a Sabahan community. There are a lot of questions in the press, and we haven't read the agreement since we don't have it,” he said.


"What we're trying to do is bring people together to understand the true problem and how Sabahans can work together to solve it. We don't know who is right and who is wrong because there is one group saying this and another group saying that.


"It's best if we get together, look at the problem, figure out what we need, and figure out how to make things better for the people of Sabah. To be transparent, the technology is there," he added, referring to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan's assurance of transparency in the Sabah carbon trading deal.


"The thing now impeding the agreement is letting the public know, letting the stakeholders know. I don't think it should be a problem once people see it's transparent and they're happy with it.”


According to Henry, Sabar was formed at a time when many people were concerned about Sabah's rights being undermined, notably in relation to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.


"Our organisation is attempting to bring everyone in Sabah together in order to work for Sabah's rights. People should be aware of their rights to education, water, health care, and technology.


"We want them to know that they have the right to internet connection and that they don't have to put up their bamboo to acquire it. We want to let people know that they have rights and that they can demand those rights at any time.


"We can support them, we can teach them, we can go to the urban and rural areas and look at their difficulties and problems, and we can work together for Sabah. These are Sabar's fundamental beliefs," he said.


Sabar, he added, will gather information on the ground and make suggestions to the government that are good for Sabah, and good for the people, ensuring that the needs of people in rural and urban areas are satisfied.

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