It's more than politics for several Parti Rakyat Sarawak leaders who've been found to have a finger in land deals in Sri Aman
KUCHING: Eleven longhouse chiefs representing their own ‘anembiaks’ (followers) have filed a suit against three companies, one owned by members of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
The companies have allegedly encroached into their native customary rights land. The PRS president is James Masing, who is also the Land Development Minister.
The suit was filed last month by Messrs Baru Bian and Advocates at the Kuching High Court.
Named in the suit is Kriscore Sdn Bhd whose directors include Kristopher Nyuak Anak Bajok and Jessie Anak Hillary Chukan, both of them are members of PRS, and Razali Zainuddin.
The area licensed to Kriscore Sdn Bhd is about 3,281 hectares and is situated at Ulu Kesit, Lubok Antu.
Also being sued are YWP Industries Sdn Bhd, Pembinaan Suries Sdn Bhd, the Director of Forests, Superintendent of Lands and Surveys, Sri Aman and the Sarawak government.
Pembinaan Suries Sdn Bhd is licensed to extract timber on 850 hectares adjacent to the area given to Kriscore Sdn Bhd.
In their statements of claim, the natives want the court to declare that they had acquired and or inherited native title and native customary rights (NCR) over the area.
They want a declaration that this native title and rights preclude Pembinaan Suries Sdn Bhd (second defendant) and Kriscore Sdn Bhd (third defendant) from issuing or granting the said timber licences thereby impairing or abridging their native rights.
Govt breached Forests Ordinance
They also want a declaration that the acts of the director of Forest (fourth defendant) and the Superintendent of Lands and surveys, Sri Aman (fifth defendant) in issuing the said timber licences, in so far as they impair the natives’ NCR over their pemakai menua or ancestral or NCR land, is wrong, illegal, unlawful, bad and void.
The landowners also want a declaration order that the issuance of the said timber licences to the Pembinaan Sdn Bhd and Kriscore Sdn Bhd overlaps or covers their pemakai menua, ancestral, or NCR land and as such is unlawful, improper, unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
They are also seeking an alternatively declaration that the issuance of the said timber licences is subject to the native title or native customary rights or usufructuary rights of the natives in or over the pemakai menua, or ancestral or NCR land.
They want the court to declare that in issuing and granting the timber licences, the Director of Forests and the Superintendent of Lands and Surveys, Sri Aman are in breach of their fiduciary duty to the natives and therefore the said timber licences were null and void.
They said the Director of Forests and the Superintendent of Land and Surveys, Sri Aman are in breach of the statutory provisions of the Forests Ordinance (Cap.126).
The natives want their NCR land be excised out of the area under the said timber licences and want a mandatory injunction against YWP industries Sdn Bhd (first defendant), Pembinaan Suries Sdn Bhd (second defendant) and Kriscore Sdn Bhd (third defendant) their contractors, subcontractors, employees, servants and workers from trespassing, clearing, using or occupying the plaintiffs pemakai menua.
They also claimed damages, exemplary damages, alternatively, aggravated damages, interests and costs.
The contested area is under state constituency of Batang Ai which is part of the Lubok Antu parliamentary constituency. The incumbent assemblyman of Batang Ai is Malcolm Mussen and the MP is William Nyalau, both are PRS senior leaders.