KOTA KINABALU, July 27 — The proponents of the controversial Nature Conservation Agreement have secured the support of 16 native non-governmental organisations and associations following a briefing on the project and its benefits.
According to a press release sent by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan’s political secretary Mohd Anuar Abdul Ghani, representatives from the 16 associations were briefed today at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association building.
“They said that after listening to the briefing, they have full understanding of the NCA and give their Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) and support to the NCA,” he said in a statement released today.
“It is their fervent hope that the people in particular the natives of Sabah who will be affected and involved will get the benefit of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. They urge the state government to immediately implement the NCA and abide by the 17 SDGs,” he said.
The 16 represented organisations are Persatuan Tobilung Bersatu Sabah (Tobisa), Persatuan Bisaya Bersatu Sabah (PBBS), Persatuan Sino Kadazandusun Murut Sabah, Persatuan Suang Lotud Sabah, Persatuan Suku Kaum Tinagas Zon Utara Sabah, Persatuan Bangsa Tombonuo Sabah, Persatuan Rungus Bersatu Sabah, Persatuan Kebudayaan & Kebajikan Etnik Kujau, Gana, Nabai Sabah (KGNS), Persatuan Kebudayaan Kaum Tagahas Kampung Goshen, Kota Marudu (Tagahas), Persatuan Etnik Dusun Gobukon Sabah (PEDGS), Pertubuhan Kebudayaan Etnik Sandayo Sabah (PRESS), Persatuan Suku Lobu Sabah, Pertubuhan Kimaragang Malaysia, Persatuan Dusun Luba Sabah (PLDS), Talantang and Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) represented by Joanna Kitingan.
Along with the statement, Abdul Ghani included the signatures of the representatives as well as a statement in Bahasa Malaysia stating that they understood the terms and the implementation of the NCA and were eager for the natives to reap the rewards of such a deal.
Kitingan has been the main proponent of the carbon trading deal, dubbed the NCA or Nature Conservation Agreement, which signed a deal with a little-known Singaporean firm Hoch Standard to manage two million hectares worth of forests for the project.
International and local conservationists as well as the Opposition parties have fiercely objected to the deal, mainly for the lack of transparency and the appointment of the firm, but also the lack of community knowledge and involvement.
Earlier today, Kitingan, who also heads the steering, management and implementation committee (SMIC) for the NCA, said that the deal was still on the cards but delayed by interference against the project.