Some have skeletons in the closet that would only haunt them decades later.
Ghosts of the past coming back to haunt those who betrayed the poor kampong folks or was it a ploy by the oppositions. Read the story below.
Angry Murut converts cry foul over land promiseTENOM: Murut natives who had converted to Islam in 1979, under the then Berjaya government-linked mass Islamisation programme which promised new ‘recruits’ individual land titles, are now claiming that the government had cheated them.
The converts were given land plots in Kpg Masanopi, Kembong and have been occupying this area since then. However they have now discovered that the land is not theirs and instead belongs to someone else.
A villager, Ariffin Abdullah, 70, whose original name is Arot Bin Ukab, said that the ‘planned’ village was created in 1979 during the rule of the Berjaya government as a new settlement for a group of Muruts who were willing to convert to Islam.
The converts then went on to develop and till the land providing for themselves by planting rubber trees, orchards and padi. Ariffin was their village head or Ketua Kampung.
But now, so many years later, the villagers who were promised their individual land titles had found out that their settlement area belonged to someone else.
“What is most disappointing is that the land owner turns out to be the person who was entrusted by Harris Salleh (to manage the distribution of the land to us as the new converts,” Ariffin said.
“And our worst nightmare happened when we found out that the person had sold the land to a businessman.
“Imagine, now this businessman has just sued us for illegal occupation of our land!”
“The suit was lodged in Nov 29, 2011. So how can anyone blame us for feeling so humiliated and very angry,” added Ariffin.
Conned all the way
Arffin said that their hard work to develop and till the land had been going on for more than 30 years and during the three decades they were repeatedly assured their land titles would be issued to them in due course.
According to the official records, the first single land title was issued on Oct 30, 1980 under the name of Mohamad Abdul Rahman (then the District Officer of Tenom).
Another was issued to one Anthony Lamb and yet another to Theodore Douglas Lind (the former official of the then Chief Minister).
Ariffin claimed that these three persons were entrusted by Harris to manage and administer the land for the benefit of the converts, but they never got to have the individual land titles issued to the different families as they had promised.
“Instead, they spent the whole 30 over years asking us to be patient.
“But now it is proven (that) their plan (all along) was to own the land, and now thyey have sold it behind our backs,” added Ariffin.Read more.