Section 18(1) gives natives ownership, says state PKR chief
Wednesday June 12, 2013
KUCHING: The Land and Survey Department’s move to carry out perimeter survey of native customary rights (NCR) land under Section 6 of the Land Code for communal reserve does not quite make sense to state PKR chairman Baru Bian.
He felt that it was even more difficult for native land owners to be issued individual land titles if their land had been placed under the communal reserve.
“I feel that the additional RM30mil announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently would be put to better use if the Land and Survey Department do perimeter survey under Section 18(1). Why waste time survey under Section 6, then go for individual lots later? This would be double work.
“Alternatively, the fund could be used to issue titles from (perimeter survey done) underneath the longhouse. For this year, allocate the fund for the land survey to survey from underneath the longhouse first for the individual title. Next year survey outside the windows, then third year survey out into the compound,” he told reporters here yesterday.
In response to that, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing pointed out that Baru’s argument was not entirely correct. He said perimeter survey under Section 18(1) would take a lot of time and resources compared to Section 6.
“Section 18(1) takes time and very expensive while Section 6 takes less time and covers bigger areas. The end result would be the same and security on NCR land is assured,” Masing told The Star.
Earlier Baru was responding to the RM30mil fund announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently to continue the NCR land perimeter survey. He said there had been several instances throughout his experience as an NCR lawyer where a landowner’s application for NCR land title was rejected because it had been gazetted as communal land.
“Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code will put the land as a communal land. The problem with that is throughout my experience, when a communal land under Section 6 is de-gazetted, once acquired by the government for public purposes like building of roads, clinics and schools, they will not compensate the landowners because their (government) opinion is that those were not NCR.
“Unlike Section 18, once titled is issued out, it is NCR which amounts to ownership. The landowner can apply from the Land and Survey Department for that land be given title either for residential or agriculture, free of quit-rent and in perpetuity,” said Baru.
He said if Najib was serious in helping the native communities in the state, he should direct the RM30mil funding to be used for NCR survey to be carried out under Section 18(1) of the Sarawak Land Code.
“This way the ownership of the NCR land would be certain and compensation payable should the land be acquired for any reason,” said Baru.