Suit against controversial carbon credit deal in Sabah postponed

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Former senator and indigenous rights activist Adrian Lasimbang, who filed the suit on November 29, said that their lawyer agreed to an extension. — Picture by Borneo Post Online
Former senator and indigenous rights activist Adrian Lasimbang, who filed the suit on November 29, said that their lawyer agreed to an extension. — Picture by Borneo Post Online

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 3 — The suit against the controversial carbon credit deal in Sabah here is waiting on the submission from the defendant to get heard in the High Court.

The deal, named the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) was due for an e-review today but the defendant had asked for an extension to submit their affidavit.

Former senator and indigenous rights activist Adrian Lasimbang, who filed the suit on November 29, said that their lawyer, Christine Gloria Linus, agreed to an extension.

“Based on an affidavit submitted by the defendant’s lawyer, they have no objection to my submission and would comply with our demand but have stated explicitly the documents should not be made public,” he said.

The suit is seeking the key documents that show what rights over what precise areas have been given to the third party in the deal, Hoch Standard, from the Chief Conservator of Forests.

They are represented by lawyer Peter Lee. The judge on the case is Ismail Brahim.

A date has yet to be set for hearing.

The controversial deal aims to grant a Singapore-based company — Hoch Standard Pte Ltd — the right to market and raise investment for nature capital in the state.

The deal is particularly controversial because it was signed in October before any public notice was given, and its involvement in up to two million hectares of forest estates, mostly Totally Protected Areas.

Questions and criticism have also been raised against the selection of the third party, which was to get a 30 per cent cut of the deal.

Lasimbang said he was asking for the documents so that he could determine whether the agreement would impact native customary rights.

“I am taking legal action because it has become the only way for Sabahans to get clarity about what this deal will commit to our people for the next one hundred years,” he said.

The NCA has been subject of intense social media and political debate since it was first published on a news conservation website.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan is the main proponent on the deal for the government and has given personal assurances and emphasised the financial value of the deal to the sovereignty of Sabah.

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