Sarawak State Land Development Minister James Masing says Native Customary Rights land development has raised the socio-economic status of rural farmers – but the figures show a different picture.
Check out the figures from the Malaysian Mirror:
He said that as at March 31 this year, joint-venture agreements for 30 NCR land development projects covering a total gross area of 275,926 hectares were executed in various phases of development.
At present 6,428 landowners had received a total of RM5.1mil from actual dividend and cash incentives disbursed by nine projects for 37,574 hectares of NCR land. This was in addition to cash incentives of RM1.7mil paid to NCR land development project participants in Kanowit, he said.
Let’s do the maths: RM5.1 million dividends divided by 6,428 participants gives them a mere RM793 dividends per participant for the use of 37,574 hectares of land. At RM793 per year, this means the Iban participants only got RM66 per month for use of their land by the big plantation companies.
The dividend of RM5.1 million also works out to RM136 per hectare.
Assuming the raw figures in the Malaysian Mirror were accurately reported – now you tell me, is this a fair partnership with the Ibans or outright criminal exploitation?
Masing should know better than to spew out drivel about how profitable NCR land development is for natives. (If it is so profitable for them, why are so many protesting?) After all, he did his Phd in the anthropology of the Iban, “The coming of the gods: a study of an invocatory chant (Timang Gawai Amat) of the Iban of the Baleh River region of Sarawak.“