Baru: BN leaders misleading NCR landowners

KUCHING: While state Barisan leaders say that the native customary rights (NCR) land issue is “lapok” (old), Sarawak PKR rural candidates, however, are prioritising it as the number one issue.

Their main concern is that if the Dayaks lose their rights over their ancestral land after such lands have been converted as native communal reserves gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code, then they are going to be “kampar” (landless and squatters).

As landless people, they may be forced to move out to the urban centres to look for “greener pastures”.

Armed with little skill, they will be jumping from the frying pan to the raging fire.

“These are the concerns of our rural candidates,” said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian in an interview with The Ant Daily.

He said that the landowners have been fed with “misinformation” on the purpose of a perimeter survey carried out under Section 6 of the Land Code.

The case of landowners in Betong who suddenly found out that they had lost their land after it was gazetted to become communal reserves is a case in point.

Under these communal reserves, the lands are state lands which are to be shared by other landless natives in the community.

Up to the end of last year about 700,000 hectares of NCR land have been perimeter surveyed under section 6.

Baru urged those who are not happy with the survey to come out with their statements and speak boldly, and at the same time to lodge police reports.

He said the PKR team of lawyers are examining under what laws they can nullify the perimeter survey of NCR land carried out under section 6 of the land code.

“If the landowners who are affected by the perimeter survey are not happy and want to bring the matter further, we can always pick it up and examine under which laws we will be able to nullify it,” he said.

Baru who is a lawyer specialising on NCR land issues was commenting on scores of Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) in Betong lodging police reports against the former Layar assemblyman Alfred Jabu and the Department of Lands and Surveys.

They are not happy that they were not truthfully and fully informed about their land surveyed under perimeter survey and its subsequent impacts.

“They are always kind of mixing truth with falsity of information. They are always feeding them with misleading information.

“State BN representatives including some officers of the land and survey department do not want to be upfront on the matter.

“That is the problem,” he said.

So when PKR lawyers told them of the real legal status of the land surveyed under section 6, they were very unhappy because they found out that what was told to them by the government and BN elected representatives was completely different, the PKR leader said.

“The landowners now know the legal impact.

“That was the reason why they lodged several police reports,” he said, pointing out that the danger of having land surveyed under section 6 is restricting their rights on to that area because the ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ was excluded.

“But the landowners can inform the land and survey officers that they have the right to claim NCR land beyond the surveyed area,” said Baru.

The second reason why they lodged police reports was that the statement made by land survey officers that there are compensations made under section 6 in three areas was not true.

In fact the compensation is for the construction and the building of roads. The compensation is not under section 6. So they ask the police to investigate this, he said.

Baru encouraged those whose NCR land had been surveyed under section 6 to be open and be bold and make statements.

They should emulate longhouse chiefs in Betong.

He said that they should also make police reports to show that they are not happy and to tell the public that the BN government is misleading the people as to the purpose of the survey.

“But if they want the matter to be brought further, we can always examine it to see under what laws we can nullify the perimeter survey,” reiterated Baru, who is defending his seat of Ba’Kelalan.-The Ant Daily

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