Leave Natives Alone, Go After Illegal Foreigners, Timber Thieves – STAR

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government and the Forestry Department should allow the indigenous people to enjoy their daily lives in their homeland and not bully them.

The indigenous natives do not deserve and should not be treated so cruelly and inhumanely as had tragically happened at Kg Bobotong recently, said James Aik, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) division chief for Kuamut.

Aik claimed that prior to Bobotong, the same atrocities and destruction of village homes of natives were committed in Kg Tampasak, Saguon and Alitang, all in the same district.

According to Aik, he and his deputy Mandek Yadam rushed to Bobotong on hearing the demolition exercise by the forestry and found several houses destroyed.

“It is not true as alleged by the Director of Forestry that the 16 houses that were destroyed were unoccupied or squatter houses,” he said Sunday.

“Either the Director is not telling the truth or his officers are not telling him the truth and causing him to state that the houses were unoccupied.”

Aik described the destruction of the houses of the Natives who were merely occupying and working on their lands in accordance with their customs as promised and carved in the Batu Sumpah as cruel, inhumane and unacceptable.

“Instead of targeting the Sabah Natives, the Forestry Department should go after foreigners occupying State lands and forest reserves as well as timber thieves as it is well known that timber theft is rampant in Sabah” said James.

As for the Sabah government, they should be protecting and safeguarding the rights and interests of the indigenous Natives and not victimizing them, he added.