BN man pockets RM1m in Salcra dividends

While hundreds of Salcra landowners have seen pittance in dividends, a local politician has laughed all the way to the bank.

(Free Malaysia Today) – A prominent Barisan Nasional (BN) politician in Bau, some 150km from here, has allegedly received at least RM1 million in dividends from Sarawak Land Custody and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra).

Disclosing this today, a PKR Mas Gading division leader, Boniface Willy Tumek, said: “He is the single biggest recipient of dividends from Salcra’s Bratak and Undan estates in Bau.

“It means that the BN politician has a big acreage of land in these two estates to be able to receive RM1 million.

“It means he has been buying up land at low cost from poor people when they are at their weakest point.”

Tumek said a seldom mentioned tragic fact about Salcra’s plantation is that substantial land parcels in these estates have passed hands, from the original landowners (who were supposed to benefit from these schemes) to financially comfortable people.

He pointed out that one hectare of oil palm would earn RM2,466 per year but it was a meaningless amount.

Tumek said that nobody talked about this aspect in Salcra oil palm estates.

Salcra was conceived with the aim of helping to develop the native customary rights (NCR)land of the natives to help eradicate poverty among the rural people.

Selling to support children

But this has not been the case.

“The rich and the people of means are taking advantage of the poor people whose lands in the estates are bought at low prices when the people are most vulnerable.

“This usually happens in the beginning of the year when students are about to go to university, especially during those times when Unimas (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) was not in existence yet.

“When you talk about going to universities, they are all in Peninsular Malaysia; so you talk about airfares and all kinds of expenses and the kampung people do not have this type of money.

“I have personal experience. I was approached by someone from Kampung Stungkor in 1988.

“He had a piece of land in the Salcra estates which he wanted to sell to me because he needed the money to send his daughter to a university.

“I thought long and hard about it. In the end, I decided not to take it, because I know it was morally wrong for me to take advantage of his predicament or misfortune at the time when they were most vulnerable.

“I told him that I would like very much to help him but I could not do it and advised him that if he was really in need of the money then he should go somewhere else, which, of course, he did.

“This is what is happening. This has happened and will continue to happen to the poor who are being taken advantage of,” he said.