11 June 2013
The Prime Minister has promised to allocate RM30mil for NCR surveys in Sarawak in next year’s budget. While we welcome moves to provide security of title over NCR lands to native landowners, the questions we have posed for the past few years remain unanswered and our concerns continue to be without resolution.
The issue of whether the government recognizes NCR as encompassing pulau galau and pemakai menoa has never been given a straight answer by any of the ministers to date.
Tan Sri James Masing in the past DUN sitting said that the objective of the NCR land initiative is to demarcate and determine the boundary between the NCR land and State land, and that once the boundary has been determined and perimeter surveyed, the NCR land is gazetted and with that the extent and ownership of the NCR land are certain (emphasis added).
Our concern has always been that the perimeter surveys only cover the temuda land. Pulau galau and pemakai menoa are not taken into account. In the Nov 2011 sitting of DUN, I asked Tan Sri Adenan Satem whether the perimeter survey is final, and what happens if the landowners claim an area outside the surveyed area. His answer was that they could apply again.
There is clearly a conflict in the statements of these 2 ministers. Adenan Satem in the recent DUN sitting commented that after surveying, the government recognizes NCR titles by ensuring first communal title and at a later stage, issuing individual titles under s 18. What he failed to say, is that if the government decides to degazette the communal reserve land, it becomes State land.
For James Masing to say that with the gazetting of NCR land, the extent and ownership of NCR land are certain is clearly misleading. In the first place, how can the extent be certain if pulau galau and pemakai menoa are excluded and if the landowners can apply again? In the second place, how can ownership be certain if the land becomes state land in the event the communal title is degazetted by the government? This the reality of the situation on the ground.
If the PM is serious about helping the native communities of Sarawak, he should direct that the funding of RM30mil be used for NCR surveys under s 18(1) of the Sarawak Land Code and individual titles issued to the landowners concerned, and that such surveys recognize the Courts’ decision that NCR land includes the pemakai menoa and pulau galau. This way, ownership of the NCR lands will be certain, and compensation payable should the land be acquired for any reason. I feel obliged to reply the BN leaders and repeat our position on this matter lest the people be misled on the real legal understanding of what really comprises NCR land. Unfortunately, we are always accused of being the party that misleads and confuses the people. The accusation is of course baseless and false.
Chairman, PKR Sarawak
ADUN, N70 Ba’ Kelalan