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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Tagal tussle in Paginatan

Siringan (front right) receiving the letter from Saubin
Siringan (front right) receiving the letter from Saubin

KOTA KINABALU: A  letter of objection from four villages to an attempt take over of their Tagal management has been presented to  Paginatan State Assemblyman Datuk Siringan Gubat.

The four villagers from Kampung Taba, Kg Nunuk Ragang, Kg Balisok and Kg Teopos  within the Paginatan State Constituency  opposed the  takeover by a “Yang Berhormat (YB)” titled  “Datuk” who is allegedly to be trying to take over control of the Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan managed by the  four villages.

The residents and tagal participants of the four villages have voiced out strong objection to the act of the Datuk who intended to take over the said tagal, de-register it and then re-register as a tagal for 23 villages.

The said tagal (regulated community-based traditional freshwater fish rearing system) had already been endorsed by the State Fisheries Department for residents of the four villages about one year ago and the tagal committee formed by these villages claim that since then it has been showing positive progress, and therefore there is no valid reason for the Datuk’s action.

The said Datuk, whom the committee claimed to have actually objected the creation of the said tagal previously, however, had suddenly made
an arrangement to dissolve the existing Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan managed by the four village Committee and terminate the posts of all their posts including the Chairman.

This move, taken without first consulting the initial committee  is to enable creation of a whole new Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan by 23 villages.

According to the committee, led by Chairman Juaping Saubin who is the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) Chairman for Kg
Taba the the Datuk had also announced the appointment of a new Chairman for the proposed new tagal committee during a meeting held recently, which disappoint the current members and participants who claimed their rights have been totally ignored by the Datuk concerned.

“The person appointed by the Datuk as the new Chairman is the same person who chaired their previous/first tagal committee but failed to develop it until the tagal was de-registered by the department concerned. The current tagal committee had then re-applied and acquired the approval by the department to re-activate the said tagal, ” Saubin stated.

After having worked on the said tagal for about a year, until it achieved certain level of progress now, the Saubin-led committee feels strongly against what the said Datuk is doing for his total ignorance of their rights.

“To date, the status of the new Chairman has remained unclear because the department concerned told the current tagal committee to continue  working as the said Datuk did not  receive any mandate to make any changes to the Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwajgu Kegibangan by the four villages.”

However, the said Datuk together with a group of individuals are said to be still pursuing the plan to take over and do complete changes to
the said tagal. The Datuk had actually called for another meeting at the District Office recently.

Saubin, together with his tagal committee members and participants, on the other hand, have pledged to stand firm and defend their rights on
the said tagal.

Their objection to the Datuk’s alleged plan has been conveyed in a letter to Resource Development and Information Technology Minister
Datuk Siringan Gubat, who is also Paginatan Assemblyman, who in return held a meeting with Saubin and his committee members and participants,
as well as a few leaders from the other 19 villages said to be included in the said plan, at his Ministry in Wisma Bandaraya here

Saubin and his committee expressed their dissatisfaction to Siringan during the visit, stating that  the plan, if successfully executed, would allow residents of the other 19 villages get involve as committee members and participants in the said tagal, which they believe would remain the same in terms of the area involved which is along that part of Sungai Liwagu in the four villages, which would be very unfair because most of the other 19 villages also have their own respective tagal.

“Some of us in our tagal committee had attended in the meeting held and chaired by the said Datuk. We tried to ask for explanation and
voiced out our objection to the plan but we were totally ignored. The said Datuk and others present also did not give out any reason or
excuse to their intention to do changes to our tagal system and why we are seemed to be sidelined by him,” he said.

Saubin said because of this they, the Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan by Committee members and participants also held
a meeting on June 26 where they unanimously  agreed to strongly object the plan by the  Datuk to de-register their tagal and re-register it as Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan by 23 villages.

“To us, the proposed creation of Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan by the 23 Kampung did not go through the proper process. It is clearly going against the law and so its invalid…we will stick to our decision and continue to work on our tagal as usual,” he said.

“It is very unfair to us as we have work on our tagal for about a year now. When it is beginning to show progress, someone who previously objected to the implementation of our tagal try to take over  for reasons only he and his men would know. And in the process, he also want to relinquish us of our rights and posts. He also  plans to cancel this committee and replace it with a whole new committee,”  Saubin said, adding that he hoped Siringan can help them to resolve the matter.

Siringan, who actually officiated the launching of the Tagal Sungai Liwagu/Liwagu Kegibangan by the four  villages about a year ago, supported
the Saubin-led tagal committee stand in the matter and assured them of his full assistance.-Sayangsabah


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