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SLDB is not helping settlers in Sinua Estate, Keningau

By Chris Maskilone

KOTA KINABALU: Problems continue to crop up at the Sinua Plantation in Mukim Lanas, Keningau that may affect the whole joint-venture project between Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) and some 689 families if it is not resolved soon.

Plantation coordinating heads, Jining Lakang and Frankie Towok said they were worried that the people who were the very one against the project, which started four years ago but now has attempted to take over as chief coordinator from them.

Jining (right) discussing something with Frankie. SNT Pix/Chris Maskilone

“We were the one who first mooted this project to the previous government and we eventually got it started. We have been officially appointed as the coordinator of the project and now these people who are actually not a registered participant of the project are trying to take over from us,” they said.

Jining said the settlers were being bugged by unnecessary problems and it may end up jeorpardising the whole project.

“We agree with the statement by our colleague Robert James in the newspapers on Aug 14 who had requested the Chief Minister to step in so that development of the 10,000 acres oil palm plantation could continue,” they said.

They also call upon the SLDB to resolve the problem they have with the developer of the project by adhering with the joint-venture agreement signed between SLDB, the settlers and the developer.

Ever since the appointment of the new SLDB management about a year ago not only they have failed to resolve issues but made it worst when stop work order was issued on the remaining 10 per cent of the plantation, they said.

“The settlers are worried the whole plantation might become jungle again if not maintain properly and millions of ringgit in investment will be wasted, just like SLDB estates at Binakaan Sook and Tinagalan Nabawan,” said Jining.

Meanwhile, Frankie was puzzled with the actions of the people who had opposed to the project previously but now suddenly becomes interested in spearheading it.

According to them, the State Government had appointed SLDB as the implementing agency to develop the 10,000 acre of land in Kampong Sinua Mukim Lanas as part of the plan to uplift the socio-economy of the villagers there.

Under the agreement, after the first cycle of 25 years the land and plantation would be hand over to the registered participants.

“Now, we are seeing a bleak future ahead of us if all these problems persist,” they said.-SabahNewsToday