Villagers from the Bakun Resettlement Scheme in Sungai Asap and Sungai Koyan in Belaga, Kapit have filed a suit against the Sarawak government for failing to pay interest on the compensation for the loss of their original longhouses. They have named the Kapit Land and Survey Department superintendent and the Sarawak government as the first and second defendants.
Indigenous communities from the 15 longhouses are claiming that “they are legally entitled to be paid an annual interest at the rate of eight percent in respect to the total compensation paid by the defendants for the their longhouses from September 1998 until April 14, 2011 and/or Sept 6, 2012″.
‘The summon in 1998 “directed and required” the natives to vacate or abandon their respective houses in consideration of full payment of compensation to be paid for their loss. The payment was supposed to be paid as soon as they vacated their houses and settled in Sungai Asap and Sungai Koyan, Belaga. Despite this, they said the state government and Land and Survey Department had failed to pay the compensation to them until April 14th 2011. At that point the natives were paid only half the compensation and only received the balance compensation on Sept 6th 2012.’
In a press release today, NCR lawyer for the case Abun Sui Anyit said that in August, the natives from Sungai Asap had objected to the government’s intention to acquire 18 islands at the Bakun reservoir to be gazette as a national park.
“We objected to the acquisition because we still have rights and privilege over the islands and we don’t want our rights and privileges extinguished and/or affected at our former longhouses NCR lands in upper Bakun,”.
For more information see: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/11/13/bakuns-sg-asap-re-settlers-sue-govt/