Thursday, December 23, 2010

Govt accused of cheating NCR landowners with survey exercise

By Joseph Tawie

KUCHING: The state government's ongoing survey of native customary rights (NCR) land is an insincere exercise to hoodwink the native owners, according to newly annointed PKR vice-president Baru Bian.

Describing the Barisan Nasional government's move as 'empty rhetoric', Bian said: “If the government is sincere, they should also survey the ‘pemakai menua' (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest).

“This is where the natives earn their livelihood.

“What I heard is that they only surveyed areas around the ‘payung rumah’ (the surrounding areas around the longhouses). What about their ‘temuda ‘(farming land), their burial grounds, pemakai menua and pulau galau?

“What the government has been doing is an empty rhetoric. It is an insincere exercise in order to hoodwink the people,” he said.

Bian said it was typical of the BN government to make promises especially since it is election time.

“You know this is an election time, and this is just another grandiose promise which may not materialise after the election,” said Bian who is also the Sarawak PKR chief.

The federal government recently donated RM20 million to the state government to enable it to survey NCR land in the state.

Second Minister of Management and Resource Planning, Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, said recently that the state would apply for another RM60 million to continue with the survey exercise.

Drop court appeals

The exercise has now become the talking point of every state minister and BN leader in any function either in town or in the rural areas.

According to Bian, many NCR landowners especially in Serian are not happy with the way the survey was conducted.

Bian also appealed to the BN-led state government not to pursue with its court appeals after it had lost its cases to the NCR land owners.

“My firm has won at least 10 cases for the natives, and other law firms have also won four or five cases. In all these cases the government pursues with its appeals.

“If the government is sincere, it should drop all the appeal cases and at the same time issue them with titles,” he said.

In welcoming the recent announcement by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to alienate 2,000ha of land to independent Chinese schools, Bian questioned the method by which he intends to do it.

“Is it not quite evident that he is taking away NCR lands of the poor natives in the interior of Sarawak to give to the Chinese schools?

“Is it not a clear case of right hand giving while the left is taking away?” he asked, demanding that the Chief Minister clarify the matter as it is a serious issue that could possibly involve native lands being taken and given away.

Taken from Free Malaysia Today

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