Taib’s sister ordered to pay natives

Fresh from one win over a logging firm, native landowners are now suing the state government and its agents for allowing the encroachment by private entities.

(Free Malaysia Today) – The Kuching High Court today ordered Quality Concrete Holdings, a company owned by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s sister Raziah, to pay RM160,000 in damages to Numpang Anak Suntai and Iban landowners in Sebangan and Sebuyau areas.

The other defendants were Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd, the Director of Forests, Director of Lands and Surveys and the state government.

Numpang and 14 other landowners had, on behalf of 276 Ibans, sued the companies and the government for encroaching into 3,305 hectares of forests which they claimed were their native customary rights (NCR) land.

Quality Concrete, which is owned by Raziah Mahmud, is the main licence holder while Loyal Billion is the contractor.

When the case came before Judicial Commissioner Ravinthran N Paramaguru today, lawyers for the defendants told the court that the Director of Forest had agreed to exclude three areas on the western side of the timber licencee (T/8473), which is within the area marked as NCR.

The defence counsel said that there was no more timber licence granted on any part of the area claimed by the natives as NCR land in a marked map which was attached to the statement of claim.

Both lawyers for the natives and defendants agreed to an amicable settlement on damages.

Case against government to proceed

In their suit, the natives had claimed that their land was damaged as a result of the construction of roads and extraction of timber from the land, which is not a licensed area.

They also alleged that the rivers, which are important for their daily needs, have been polluted by the logging activities.