Longstanding dispute over 6,000 acres of land in Sungai Koyah, Sukau could spell trouble for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the coming general elections, according to BN backbencher Datuk Saadi Abdul Rahman.
He said the villagers affected were beyond frustration after the authority concerned left them in the lurch for years, and may resort to giving their votes to the opposition if the government failed to intervene urgently to return their land.
“It is like a love triangle now, with three parties competing for the same land. On one side are 400 smallholders who were given the rights to develop the land by the then Berjaya government, claiming they have been cheated and robbed of their rights by an oil palm company.
“On the other side is the oil palm company, which claimed to have been given approval by the authority as well as the villagers to jointly develop the land into a smallholder scheme. And then there are the illegal settlers who have encroached on some areas of the land since 10 to 15 years ago.
“In this tug of war situation, the local villagers who are the ones who do not get anything. So, it is understandable they are very upset and if this continues, they may punish the government.