There will be nowhere to live, nowhere to farm and the area will be polluted with pesticides and fertilisers, which will disturb the waters of their rivers and remove all wildlife.
To tell people they must give up their ancestral homes: to bulldoze whole longhouse communities and insist these families move elsewhere without fair cause or compensation, seems an inconceivable thing to allow.
Yet in Sarawak it is happening everywhere and often, just in the same way that native lands are being taken and sold from under the feet of the rightful owners.
Many, many communities have already lost their lands in this way, with their beautiful longhouses destroyed to make way for plantations.
There is usually no legal basis for the evictions, yet under Taib these impoverished communities have had no protection or support, whilst the rich and powerful plantation companies have benefitted from the secret backing of their BN political cronies.
Fighting back in Ulu Niah
The scenes of protest today in Ulu Niah, not far from Miri represent just one typical example of the sort of outrage that is perpetrated by plantation companies, who seem to think they can get away with anything they like in Sarawak.
People who have lived in the same longhouses at Rumah Umpol for over 40 years were defying a sudden eviction order to move within 14 days, expiring 26th July, today’s date.
Such people appear powerless in the face of the march of Taib’s ‘progress and development’ and police officers were on hand with guns to prevent violence.
However, at Rumah Umpol today there emerged something new and threatening in the attitude of these once downtrodden and exploited communities. Press onlookers expressed a wave of fear as this community of people, who have been passive for generations, dressed for war at the longhouse village and vowed that it will be destroyed only over their dead bodies.
Farmers had returned to their warrior roots and donned the chilling apparel that reminded all around of the ferocious capability of these people in their not so distant past, as fighters and headhunters.
Deadly sharp parings, with which any Iban can still in a second strike down a sapling tree (or remove a limb or head), hung threateningly around many waists.
Villagers had strung up traditional amulets and talismen that cursed anyone who dared to enter with instant death. Laid out on the ground were sinister skulls and symbols, ancient signs of spiritual evocations.
Dangerous, ancient ghosts have now been summoned from their graves to launch against the enemy, in this case the drivers of the modern bulldozers expected at any minute.
No surprise, that these have not yet turned up!
Looking at such naked and desperate anger one wonders, have the depredations of the Chief Minister at last gone too far for the Iban population? Could he and his land grabbers have finally sparked a real fight back?
Shockingly, the plantation company WTK is seeking to turf the 300 people out of their 60 door longhouse and to snatch their farmlands without offering a single ringgit of compensation.
Neither are they attempting to seek permission or even to include the villagers in their plans to turn the pretty area into another vast oil palm plantation.
The people of Rumah Umpol know well enough what is in store for them and their lands if WTK have their way.