Sarawak Chief Minister takes up PKR's invitation to an open debate on allegations of abuse over native customary right (NCR) land.
BINTULU: Faced with wide-ranging allegations of administrative abuse and covert conversions of native customary right (NCR) land into state land, embattled Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has accepted a dare by the opposition to an open debate on the issue.
Taib said he accepted the challenge but Sarawak PKR must show solid proof to back its allegations of land grabs by the state government.
“That allegation is without foundation and intentionally inflicted. He (Baru Bian) just wants to argue and if he wants, he has to prove it (allegation is true),” he said.
State PKR chief Baru Bian had on Saturday invited Taib to an open public debate to clear the ‘confusion’ over the NCR land and claims that the natives were being robbed of their land.
Taib said the state government had ‘never’ seized land titles and dared Bian to provide proof of their claims.
He cited a case in Miri where Rumah Chang longhouse residents were given back their land in the early 1980s after he found a letter containing their claims.
“If I had any bad intention then when I found the letter at the Miri Land and Survey office, I would have hidden it.
“But I found a written evidence showing that the land is owned by Rh Chang. Rh Chang is still there,” he told newsmen yesterday.
Taib was responding to Bian’s challenge to him to debate on NCR land issue. Bian’s was himself responding to Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan’s statement last Friday that “the opposition always harps on NCR land issues” which he said was an “old issue”.
Awang Tengah was also quoted as saying the government had never robbed landowners of land.
Bian had reportedly said that ‘NCR land issue is crucial to them (natives), and they want to know the true stand of the state government.’
Bian had given Taib two weeks to revert to his challenge failing which he said, PKR will write officially to Taib through a legal firm.