Opposition questions meager returns to landowners from Sarawak JV scheme
Sarawak DAP chief Chond Chieng Jen says NCR landowners in the state could have generate a profit per acre of between RM150 and RM600 per month, if they had planted vegetables and fruits to sell in the market. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 29, 2015.
Landowners who participated in the Sarawak government's joint venture scheme had made less than RM8 per month for every acre of land in the past 19 years.
Shocked by such miserable returns, Kota Sentosa state assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, who derived the figures from a reply given in the state legislative assembly yesterday, said Sarawak Native Customary Right (NCR) landowners had clearly been exploited by state government agencies.
“They can definitely do better by just planting potatoes and plucking wild vegetables from their land to sell in the market, rather than participating in the JV schemes with state government agencies,” the Kuching MP and state DAP chairman said.
The written reply was pertaining to Chong’s question on the detailed breakdown of returns from the NCR land joint venture projects, in which landowners had partnered with the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra), and the Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), since 1994.
It states that, as at November 30, 2015, the total area utilised for plantation was 79,565 hectares (196,602 acres), involving 13,952 landowners, with total returns amounting to RM178.5 million disbursed to the participating landowners.
Based on the average of 10 years for all the planted areas, Chong surmised that landowners would have received a mere RM907.92 per acre.
"That means, on average, these NCR landowners are receiving only RM90.79 per year per acre, or RM7.56 per month per acre, from the NCR land given to government agencies for planting oil palm," Chong said.
Quoting fresh fruit branch (FFB) price during the good years and worst time which was RM800 per tonne and RM400 per tonne respectively, Chong said the profit per acre is approximately RM150 to RM600 per month.
“Who actually benefited from these JV schemes? The contractors, the transporters or the suppliers who have siphoned out the profits of the JV schemes?
"Who are these contractors, transporters and suppliers? Are they related to the ministers in charge?” Chong asked. Chong demanded deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, who is also state rural development minister and Salcra chairman,as well as state land development minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, to answer to these NCR landowners, as the two are the relevant ministers in charge of the scheme.