STOP LYNAS

STOP LYNAS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RUMAH NOR ACTION ALERT



Urgent Appeal for Borneo Forest 

Defenders at Rumah Nor


Village head in front of his demolished house

Background: (From The Borneo Project)

On January 19, 2010 bulldozers backed by Sarawak 

state government agents demolished 39 houses in 

the Iban village of Rumah Nor in SarawakMalaysia.  

The demolition crew smashed the houses and all 

belongings in them, including stored food, leaving 

families without shelter in Malaysia’s rainy season. 

As dismayed residents confronted the demolition 

crew, state Land and Survey Department enforcement 

agents threatened to return and destroy remaining

homes. 

 

The Borneo Project condemns this unwarranted 

and ruthless destruction by state authorities. 

Villagers had no warning of the demolition, which

state agents ordered despite Rumah Nor’s pending 

legal appeal of a local judge’s ruling in favor of a 

company that wants the village’s land for 

development.

 

Residents of nearby communities and NGO supporters

joined the people of Rumah Nor to form a 

“human wall” blockade to confront state demolition 

crews.  Malaysian civil society organizations 

decried the unannounced destruction of village homes 

as heartless, barbaric and illegal.

 

On January 25, the community obtained a temporary 

injunction until February 9, 2010,  blocking resumed 

demolition.  On February 9 the village and its lawyers 

will present arguments in court to compel the 

state government to recognize their customary land rights, 

nullify the company’s provisional lease, and compensate 

villagers for destruction of their homes and property.

 

The company, Tatau Land Sendirian Berhad, is a subsidiary

of the ASSAR Group, a state-controlled investment holding 

corporation. Tatau Land holds a “provisional lease” for the 

village’s customary rights land at Sungai Sekabai. It intends 

to bulldoze existing homes, farms, forests 

and orchards to build a “new township”. 

 

Over the past decade, Rumah Nor has stood at the 

forefront of Borneo communities’ struggle to protect 

native forests and communal lands against reckless logging 

and plantation expansion, and the collusive politicians 

and companies who profit from it.  The village’s lawyers 

intend to sue the state agencies that issued the provisional 

lease, as well as Tatau Land itself, to gain definitive legal 

recognition of their customary land rights.  

 


In 2001, a landmark judgment by Sarawak’s High 

Court affirmed Rumah Nor’s Native Customary Rights 

over their inherited territory. In 2005, an appellate 

court overturned part of the 2001 state court ruling, 

but did not affect the basic principle of native 

communities’ customary land and forest rights. 

Village head Nor anak Nyawai, who initiated the 

village’s lawsuit, is among those whose homes were 

razed on January 19.  Many believe the demolitions and 

state officials’ extreme action are a reprisal for the village’s 

persistent legal challenges to state  efforts to evict them from 

their lands and forests.            

 

Fast-track development plans for the region around 

Rumah Nor’s land are linked to recently-unveiled schemes 

associated with the “Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy” 

(SCORE).  

SCORE is characterized by secretly developed plans for 

12 major new hydro-electric dams financed by a state corporation 

of China, in addition to the Bakun and Murum megadams 

already under construction. Accelerated road building would 

“open” a 70,000 square kilometer swathe of Borneo to more 

logging and oil palm plantations, and heavy industries including 

aluminum smelting and palm oil refining.  Some 600,000 people 

live in the SCORE region.  Dams, plantations and industrial

development associated with SCORE is likely to displace many 

thousands including indigenous Dayak communities

(Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, and Penan) that occupy much of the

rural area, which includes some of the world’s most 

biodiverse rainforests.

 


YOU CAN HELP CLICK HERE TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!


This documentary was made in 2007 and 

gives a good background to the issue  




 

 

 

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