Top posts

Featured Posts

BN MPs trying to bulldoze damned project

Queville To

Kampung Tambatuon villagers remind the MPs pushing for the dam that they were elected to serve the people and not threaten their livelihood.

KOTA KINABALU: The villagers of Kampung Tambatuon in Kota Belud unanimously rejected the state government’s offer of an “annual gratuity” of RM500,000 as well as a study tour to Kedah as an inducement to make way for the construction of a dam in their village.

The mostly farming community, who have been battling the government relocation, plan pointed out that they are already earning far more from their agriculture activities which include padi and rubber plantations as well as orchards.

The amount offered by the state government works out to about RM500 for each of them annually. The village currently consists of 898 villagers.

According to Singkui B Tinggi, the former village chief of the picturesque and fertile village located at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, most villagers are currently earning between RM5,000 and RM10,000 per month.

He noted that a majority of the villagers there owned rubber plantations ranging from 10 acres to more than 20 acres, besides farms for other agriculture produce.

Two Barisan Nasional elected representatives have been pushing for the construction of a dam at the site which they said could generate RM500,000 for the villagers.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Singkui disclosed that the decision to reject the offer made by Kedamaian state assemblyman Herbert Timbun Lagadan in July this year was reached at an emergency meeting held by the Tambatuon Dam Action Committee (TDAC) at the village’s mini hall on Sept 11.

“We hereby reject all the offers made to us by Herbert and Abdul Rahman Dahlan (MP for Kota Belud). We do not wish to sell our village,” he said.

He reminded the two that the villagers voted for them in the last general election so that they could further improve the economy of the place, rather than threaten their livelihood and destroy their village.

Poor irrigation, not water shortage to blame

The Village Action Committee recently also submitted a memorandum on the matter to Chief Minister Musa Aman and his deputy Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Kampung Tambatuon is nestled on the banks of Sungai Kadamaian and Sungai Kilombon which are fed by waters running off Mt Kinabalu.

The place is popular with tourists who flock to the village to see the unique “tagal” practice in Sabah, a sustainable freshwater fishing practice that allows harvesting only once a year.

Since news of the proposed construction of the RM450 million dam first surfaced early last year, it has drawn strong protests and criticism from hundreds of villagers, environmentalists and academics.

Villagers said they would lose their homes, land and source of income if the project is to proceed while conservationists noted that it would affect the environment in the area, which is located near Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site.

The proposed dam would force the resettlement of around 600 villagers who have lived a relatively prosperous life without much government assistance.

However, Rahman is adamant that the village must make way for the dam to boost rice production in the Kota Belud plains, the rice bowl of Sabah, and avert a recurrence of the 2008 rice shortage.

He said that the construction of the Tambatuon dam would help to irrigate 25,000 hectares of unproductive paddy fields in Kota Belud.

Agriculture experts also questioned the cost of the project which is estimated to reach RM1 billion. They pointed out that poor irrigation rather than shortage of water is the main cause for the low yields from the area.

Suhakam’s 2010 report also criticised the government for failing to consult the villagers prior to proposing the dam.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog