Contrary to what Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) might think, Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) is involved in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Salcra said in a statement yesterday that it was a member of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) and it sat on the latter’s main committee as well as its various subcommittees.

MPOA, it pointed out, was one of the founding members of RSPO and by virtue of Salcra’s membership in MPOA; Salcra management had been involved right from the beginning on the formation of RSPO and the drafting of the RSPO principles, criteria and national interpretations for Malaysia.

In addition, Salcra said, its management had been participating in the briefings to other stakeholders in the palm oil industry both at the national and international levels.

“In this respect, it is our view that Nicholas Mujah Ason (Sadia secretary) is ignorant of Salcra’s role in RSPO,” the statement said.

In The Borneo Post last Friday, Mujah claimed that Salcra might have something to hide from Sadia when it refused to meet the association and representatives of non-governmental organizations from India, Thailand and Europe.

On this, Salcra said in the statement that on April 7, Sadia had written to it to request for a briefing on the statutory body and its operations.

According to the letter, the purpose of the briefing was to enable Sadia to explain to its members the activities carried out by Salcra.

Salcra’s management had agreed to the request and prepared the necessary briefing materials.

“Without the courtesy of informing Salcra on the day of the briefing, Sadia brought in four non-Sadia persons, some of them’ with strong European features whom Sadia refused to identify.

“Due to the presence of these intruders, Salcra’s management decided to cancel the briefing. It is not the practice of any responsible organization to brief intruders who do not even reveal their identities and in this particular instance these intruders are not from Sarawak,” it said.

On Sarawak Dayak National union (SDNU) public relations officer “Dr John’s call for transparency because many Dayaks did not have a’ clear understanding of what Salcra was actually doing to help them, Salcra said that as a state statutory body, its functions, powers, duties and responsibilities were clearly defined in Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority Ordinance, 1976.

It said it had to also comply with other laws and regulations such as Statutory Body (Financial and Accounting Procedure) Ordinance, 1993, Treasury Instructions, and both International and Malaysian Accounting Standards.

“Regular briefings are being conducted to federal and state governments and members of the press to update Oil the progress achieved by Salcra.

The Minister of Land Development (James Masing) also reports on Salcra’s progress at every sitting of the state assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri).

“There are also monthly reports being submitted to the relevant agencies such as the Malaysian Oil Palm Board and Department of Environment,” the statement said.

In addition, the statement said, its website also highlighted the various activities that Salcra carried out.

Mujah and Dr John Bryan had spoken of Salcra when responding to criticisms leveled against their organizations by Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu who is also Salcra chairman.

*Salcra statement as published in Borneo Post Saturday, Dec 13 2008. No editing had been done to the article.