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Demolishing of Kg. Kapulu homes 'inhumane'

TENOM : “No consideration for humanity” – that was the ironic expression of Village Head of Kg. Kapulu, Mohd Sabli B. Shaffie,58, on the action taken by the staff of the Tenom Forestry Department to demolish their homes on the grounds of encroachment into the forest reserve. The incident occurred on Januarry 13, when most of the residents were resting, while others were tending to their garden.

The village head, who was accompanied by the village JKKK Chairman, Ansarap bin Korong,46, to report the incident to The New Sabah Times said, “The action by the Forestry Department staff is an affront to the the people of the village.”

“We were treated as if we are animals,” said Sabli,who appealed to Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Hj. Aman to take a serious view of the actions of the Forestry Department staff.

According to Sabli, a majority of the villagers are Muruts. who have lived in the area since 1915. He said their ancestors like the late KK Landau and KK Lawis were among those engaged in the struggle of the warrior Antanom, in opposing British colonialism.

“This village has existed for a long time,” said Sabli who questioned why only now the Department of Forestry classify their native land as forest reserve, when issue was never raised in the beginning.

He said most of the people did not know that the land on which they cultivated to obtain revenue sources is part of the forest reserves. In addition, he said the department had never met with them to explain the real situation.

“What we are defending now,is that this is the village we were born,” said Sabli.

On January 13 this year, a number of homes built along the fringes of Kg.Kapulu, were demolished by the District Forestry Department personnel on account that the homes were built in forest reserve. The Forestry Department staff used chainsaw to demolish our homes.

“Our belongings such as rice and cooking equipment were destroyed just like that,” added Sabli.

Kg. Kapulu is located just a few miles from Rundum, which during the British era was the fortress of Warrior Antanom – a number of those living in villages are blood related of the renowned warrior.

To a question, Sabli said he is saddened and disappointed while making this report to this newspaper as the villagers were not informed or been given notice by the department to prohibit them from any activity in the area.”Yet, they carried out their task out with impunity, by putting people in an undignified position,” he said.

He claimed that he had reported this incident to MP for Kemabong, who asked that their stories be published in the media. ” We want everyone to know about what the Forestry Department did to us,” he said and described the actions of the department showed as if there are no laws in this country. He is further disappointed because those who carried out the demolishing exercise were the local residents working in the department.

“They completely did not show any regards for our feelings, and this is very sad,” he said. – MOHD KHAIRY ABDULLAH (

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