My first impression of Sungai Batik was that it was perfect for a weekend
getaway from the dust and noise of the city. There were magnificent trees
towering into the sky. There was a burst of brilliant red blooms in the midst of
luscious greenery. A stream nearby gave the whole scene a touch of romance;
and the Dayak children in their rustic attire blended perfectly into the scene.
This forested area was once large – the home of the Dayak for generations.
The Dayak are gentle, jungle people who are shy of strangers. Their affinity for
the forest comes naturally since it has been their home, work place, playground,
and ‘shopping and trading’ place. At one time, all their daily needs – clothing,
ornaments, food, medicine and shelter – came from the richness of the forest.
These people could roam, hunt and gather for their daily needs from the
abundant flora and fauna, taking only what they needed, without depleting the
resources that nature provided.
Now all that has changed. The Dayak communities and the rainforest
environment on which they depend are continuously threatened by several
issues and problems. Underlying all the main problems facing the Dayaks today
is the lack of recognition of their land rights. Under the Sarawakian land code,
the Dayaks do have certain rights to land but these rights are not clear and have
never been adequately defined.
Logging is being carried out indiscriminately on the customary land of the
Dayaks. In addition, without the knowledge of the Dayak communities, some of
their land has been given to private companies to be developed into plantations.
This is part of the state government’s plan to convert 1.5 million hectares of
native customary land into oil palm plantations. Some of the native longhouse
communities are staging peaceful protests to stop the operation of such
companies. Besides that, the government, after targetting one million hectares
of land for industrial tree plantations, has acquired some.
Cite this Fire
Fire. (2018, Aug 31). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/fire/