G6 Committee Press Statement - Pitas Villagers Against Prawn Project Expansion
We the indigenous community from these six Kampungs are around 2,500 in numbers. Due to the pressing nature of the situation, We the G6 indigenous communities have set up a Jawatankuasa Bertindak G6. Majority of us in this region are in the hard core poverty brackets and rely heavily on the surrounding mangroves for our food supplies and livelihood.
2,300 ac Mangroves were cleared in a controversial development process in 2014. We the indigenous communities of the G6 villagers have less than a 1,000 acres left to feed us.
14/04/16 we were approached by a group of people claiming to be officials from EPD (Environment Protection Department), and or a private NGO and or consultants depending on whom they were interviewing. (We were mislead)
They informed us that there was to be an expansion of the existing prawn farm (of 2,300 ac) to a further 1,000 acres (remaining mangrove area).
- 13 ponds are in operation according to inside sources. (each pond is about one acre)
- Less than 30 staff from the local communities work in this 2,300 ac, with a very high turnover. We were promised 3,000 jobs in 2014.
- Foreign labour have been spotted on the farm.
- Promises of electricity and water have not been achieved. (in fact electricity has been provided to those living near the roads since 1998)
- We are poorer now (3 years later) due to depletion of resources from the mangrove areas.
Remaining communal grounds for the G6 community in green
- We the indigenous community are not against development, but we need a balanced system that takes our native needs into consideration.
- Our only source of protein has depleted drastically due to the major clearance of the mangrove habitat.
- The development of the ponds has affected our rights as indigenous communities.
- These mangroves are our life-source and we have always depended on it.
- The remaining 1000 acres is a sensitive area that houses our traditional foraging grounds and sacred sites that should be preserved.
- We will protect the last remaining mangrove areas and if this area is destroyed, it would also mean the death of our traditions and depletion of our source of income.
- The indigenous women of the G6 rely on the mangrove areas for many things, we have been harassed and we have been denied access to these mangroves by various groups. Our way of life has been seriously impacted by the clearance of mangroves. We have seen a decrease in fish, shell fish, crabs and other protein sources for our families.
- Many promises were made to us since 2013, after 3 years of experiencing unsustainable practices of the developer and other agencies we do not agree to the expansion of this project. It has not benefitted us as a community. The company has repeatedly conducted their business without following the law and encroached into our NCR and state lands. We have made many complaints against them but they merely received a slap on their wrist.
- We the G6 community would like to communally manage this remaining tract of mangrove to ensure sustainability is at its core. This is to ensure that we the G6 indigenous community remain connected to our lands and ensure the wider Sabah society continues to benefit from these breeding grounds.
Communal NCR areas belonging to the G6 that were encroached in 2015