NCR land and the natives of Sarawak

Much time has been spent amongst many bloggers on both sides of the political divide in the last few years.

The State Government which has an absolute say on Land matters in Sarawak has been amending the Land Code many times to make it easier for the Minister of Land to approve and allocate any piece of Land to any individual they favour with or without consent from those who may have established their rights to the said land. In Sarawak,  the Minister which have total power on Land Matters is the current Chief Minister. His instruction verbally or otherwise is the “Law”.

Yet so far the Courts can rule otherwise. Using natinal and international conventions on natives rights, the Courts have overturned many decision made by the State Government to allocate land for various plantations. However the onus of proof  for the right to any piece  of land is up to the complainants. The government continues to issue a provisional lease to any capable developer through their proxies as long as the price is right. The latest for example is the Kampong Stenggang land in Bau District. The piece of Land was allocated to a company without consulting the people who have established ownership because according to the Land and Survey, the area appears to be State land from the Settalite map they have in their office. However the said piece has been occupied by the Stenggang people since it was allocated that piece of Land to them by the Rajah.

Now the matter if not resolved soon will be brought to the Courts to decide at a fee of RM75,000.00.

Thus the dilemma of many natives. Their land can be sold to anyone without their knowledge. Any dispute it is up to the Courts to decide if they can afford a lawyer to establish their rights. They may win their case but the Government of the Day will appeal and appeal like in the case Nor anak Nyawai vs Borneo Pulp and the Government.

Yet land is life. Without land on one can live as land is needed for food production or collection, land is needed for shelter, and even for burial land is needed. Yet the priority of Land allocation for the present Government is to sell arable Land to Oil Palm plantations and other plantation in the name of Politics of Development. Fortunately the majority of Sarawakians supported the view that bulk of valuable land must be given to the rich people only.

I have long advocated that the poor natives must benefit from all land development and no land should be developed without their involvement. Yet when I raised this issue in my maiden speech in the State Assembly in 1983, one Assistant Minsiter was asked to shoot me down. Anyway eventually, they appreciate the need to involve the landowners through Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabiliation Authority(SALCRA). Initially SALCRA did very well to improve the buying power of the landowners who were involved as they received very good bonuses and dividends when the Scheme was under the late Denys Lang. Now hardly worth anything under the present management… They have been using my small piece of land, but it appears they need my bonus and dividend to pay for their own comforts….

I believe that unless a proper approach of Land development is taken seriously by all concerned, the current instant benefits to the few will hamper the future of many. It will become the tears of many soon. STAR is very concerned on this issue. We want land development to benefit as many as possible. Further land development must also take into account the sustainability of our Biodiversity and the overall ecological system. Millions are promised for flooding in Sibu. Millions are needed for Kuching for flood mitigation project. Yet these floodings are geeting more severe because of  indiscriminate development projects in the water catchment areas. Whatever happen to our environmental impact studies which are being done by the Department Of Environment?

Back to the natives, your land is your land. It is your right to allow your BN masters to sell your land without your consent. By the way, you have given “your CONSENT for Taib to sell your land WHEN YOU VOTED FOR BN during any election” after 1995. So if you cry when your land is sold without compensation, etc, remember I have reminded you of this possibility in 1995 when I shaved my head…


Filed under Local news- Sarawak., Sarawak Politics

19 responses to “NCR land and the natives of Sarawak

  1. I agreed with you. Nowadays, the NCR land has been taken from the people just like that without any permission or any letters. When people try to take back what belong to them, they will be misjudged in what they do to gain back their belongings. In the end, there will be nothing left for the people.

  2. perampok

    i am very sure, when the issue of NCR is being highlighted, the govt will take appropriate actions.

  3. Patrick Anek Uren

    If it is to cost RM75, 000. 00 for a lawyer to institute a case against government and the compnay concerned for the land at Kampung Stenggang that has been given to a company for its plantation, whoever that lawyer that demands for such a fee for doing such a job that, in any event, cannot be won no matter how much efforts one puts into it, the lawyer concerned must be suspected: he is out to fleece the innocent people of their hard-earned little bucks garnered from their toiling in the padi fields and/or producing other crops. There is yet no expertise in the field of land law available in the State of Sarawak that will cost so much money. Such demand must certainly be coming from a fake lawyer or certainly from one who is abusing the situation of people are so inflamed over “their NCR lands”.
    On the other hand the people of Kampung Stenggang must play it cool, and not be taken in by instigations or momentous bravados that will lead to nowhere. The government has said it very clear that the land issued to that company is State Land. It has also said, if I remember correctly, that if there are any ncr land that can be proved to exist within the P/L (provision lease) land issued to the company they can be excised out. Such ncr land claimants need only to prove them to the Government and/or to the company concerned. The problem here is “proof”. It is difficult to prove ncr land existing in the P/L land especially when there were three (3) successive logging activities, the latest one was just finished for less than 1 year ago on the same plot of land. NCR land is one which had been cultivated and felled or occupied on or before 1st. January 1958, according to the Land Code (Cap. 81). Any cultivation of virgin jungle or even secondary jungle i.e. after logging had been carried out thereat does not entitle the cultivator any ncr rights to it. One thing must also be borne in mind that is in 1953 there were very few people in Kampung Stenggang, indeed in many villagers throughout the State of Sarawak, compared to these days. The other thing to remember is that after logging activities had come in, brought about by rich tycoons from other parts of Sarawak that had became rich from exploiting timber resources that this State has to offer in those times (no more so, finished, now!) after they left some logging roads that were still useable were applied to good use by the locals. These locals, aremed with chainsaws etc, went in and farmed those land after their timbers had been harvested and the loggers had left. However those lands so cultivated are not NCR Land. I opine that if the latter type of lands are found in the P/L land, being not ncr land, they cannot be claimed as such. However the crops, if any, still existing or be it they are generating food sources to the owner, these can be worked out with the P/L developer.
    What I say is don’t be so worked up over the issue to the extent that you would be willing to cough out RM75, 000. 00 to a lawyer to fight your difficult-to-win case in court, please. Keep your money. It is not worth it to pay such good money to a lawyer you will never able to recover it, I know it. Please put emotion aside and think clearly. Probably by clear mind you would discern better the wood from the trees; where it is ncr and where it is not!
    As regard NCR problems all over I share your feeling. However as law abiding citizen we must respect the law as it is. Law on NCR Land has been in the statute book for ages since 1953 as aforesaid. Only Dewan Undangan Negeri can change it if it is so desired by the majority of members. Members to the Dewan are periodically elected. For the moment Barisan Members are controlling the august house. I don’t think they want to change the current law, anyway. Elections will come again, and soon. As voters you should know what to do. But if like in past elections the voters were swayed by petty promises which proved to empty after elections are over, and by 5 or 10 Ringgit given or distributed at night or though the Ketua Kaum before the polling day then blame it on yourselves if the same brand of politics get elected again this time around and whereby no change can be made to the current law. Barisan has a lot of money, and after all what is money compared to power in hand. With power in hand more money can be made compared to the pittance disbursed to the voters during elections. To the poor voters however the pittances from the rich Barisan can and do change how they vote: oftentimes they have voted those that gave the pittances. Probably this is a time to change. This time around if the voters just take the money and don’t feel indebted by it after all (i) it is corrputed money, and (ii) it is yours anyway that you are given it, perhaps come changes can be brought about, and a lot of heartache might be saved in the future.
    Alas all the forgoing is better said than done!; and I know it. However again I say it: Kampung Stenggang people, my friends and country men, save your RM75, 000. 00 from who-ever that lawyer is, please.
    Patrick Anek Uren

    • partistar

      It could be cheaper as you know but they were sucked in by a ceratin group. God willing they may be able to have “proof”, that indeed they were using that piece of land long before Sarawak was even “born”.

      Anyway they are willing to pay that amount to save the said land… We can only wish them all the best.

  4. patrick anek uren

    Dear partistar,
    I agree with the notion that if the people of stenggang want to fight for their land “lost” throught provisional lease given out to a compnay in their neighbourhood, its their money if they want to pay RM75000. 00 to a lawyer to fight it for them. However from my experiences in most of the cases of this nature people agrieved over their lands are taken by government, they are asked to, and pay some small monies as retainer to start the ball rolling to the lawyer. By agreement they would pay a certain percentage of the total sum gained through the case to the lawyer if the case is won for them through his/her effort. That approach would be reasonable because if at the end of the day the case is not won after all then the lawyer also get nothing more other than the retainer. Whereas in the event the case is won his fees by a percentage of the gross amoung would be substantial which is fair. I opine it that if a lawyer takes in a huge amount of money before embarking on the case he/she has got his fees before starting the case which in any event will be without any certainty of a victory. I don’t think it is worth it for these people who feel aggrieved over their land “lost”. That is why I wrote in this your blog site which in any event I want to say thank you for allowing me the space to have done so. Nonetheless I am mindful that howsoever I say it the people have to decide it for themselves, as you have said it, its their money, anyway.

  5. We are open to fair comments and dialogue. Opinions need to be respected. What you say about lawyers taking cases based on commission received after winning the case, there is an area of your expertise. But I always remember in Canada and USA, that lawyers there operate along your line aggressively, even advertising their services on TV.
    As for Stenggang case, our common friend, the Penghulu, can enlighten you further on the case.

    Our concern is only that the Government of the day should not give out provincial lease period without first consulting the villages involved. They can inform the villages concerned of their intention to convert such land use prior to allocating it to any investor or individual through a notification of possible land use different from the current status.

    Next as per our Bidayuh ADAT and existence in Borneo even before Sarawak was born, there should be no State Land per se in First Division for even the mountains belong to a village, like Dorod Singai or Dorod Jagoi. Any activities planned for these areas, the immediate villages should be consulted and involved. Takkan even the graves are “being dug” as in your Selampit case..

  6. patrick anek uren

    It’s begining to be more interesting with “siburp” entering this blog on the tame topic as well. However I do not know of anybody’s grave(s) been dug out by the planters in Selampit. The case that was taken by the people there viz-a-viz the plantation company involved the no-more-use old crematorium. It was recognized as a proof of prior occupation of the land and its vicinity by the people (see s. 5 (2) Sarawak Land Code (Cap 81). And I am sure that if there is such a proof in the land given as pl to a company near Kg. Stenggang it would indeed be significant.
    As regard the allegation that government is taking away peoples’ lands without even writing letters to their owners I think that such a proposition can be looked at in many ways. One is if the owner of the land to be acquired or taken is known or obvious and the government is not consulting him/her before the land is taken or he is divested, then it is of course wrong. However I do not think the case is true in regard to pl land at Kg. Stenggang. Firstly the ncr status there is doubtful, and secondly if the peoples had gone to farm on the vast empty land before, during, and after the logging activities carried out there in the recent past those lands that have been farmed are unsurveyed and unmarked making it and uncertain as to which plot is claimed by whom, and of what size is each holding one is claiming for. Even lands that are obviously ncr in status because of their locality etc the problem over boundaries between the neighbours do cropped up, and oftentimes. These problems are due to that these lands are not unsurveyed and alienated. In any case I do not want to be the government apologist here inasmuchas it is not my place nor my usual forte’. As I said it that my feeling is clear that the problems over ncr lands, most of it anyway, are due to the government has not been kind enough to conduct large scale survey of ncr land. At least to determine the extent of it. Needless to say that in turn it will resolve the problem over boundaries between neighbours of ncr land owners which have cropped out so often and got stuck for years without an early disposal in Native Court that is ill equipped, under funded and under-manned. Beside causing misery to the disputing parties having to wait and spend their hard earned monies in the process, it also unwittingly putting a divide in the people. The State government should be cocerned about this if it is serious about developing the economies of the rural peoples. And the best solution is to set in motion the mechanism to survey ncr lands and issue them with titles.
    Coming to services of solicitors who “siburp” is saying that in Europe or Canada are advertized I say that such a system does not exist in this our beloved country. The existing law does not allow legal services to be advertized apart from the names of law firms as that which could be found in the telephone directory! And moreoever what good does it bring to talk about systems of law in the west, anyway. The West is more advanced than us here. But on the other hand whatever it is we must appreciate what is in this country which we can call our own. We cannot call Europe or Canada as our own, so why take pride in them? And for that matter even for those fortunate few who have gone to study in those countries they must never forget it that they did so because of this country of their birth. And to this country of ours we must say thank you. And I believe we owe it to this nation. Furthermore at least here those who have gone abroad to study are now having their names well known. Such a case is not true if they had remained in those countries where they had gone to study in the first place.

    • bland_dayak

      I do not think that the affected Stenggang people paid RM75,000 up front to the lawyer to post the injunction. If I am not mistaken, it is you suggest, that the money will be paid if the injunction is successful.

      While on the subject, what about the case of the proposed sand extraction along Aang Nolan in Jagoi? The affected villages were not consulted, and I was told were not to be paid for the sand extracted, or for the destruction of land and crops along the river bank. Legally, sand in the river belongs to the government, and the contractor has full legal rights over the sand, having been given the contract (or is it a license?) by the relevant government agencies. But is is all about legal rights? What about simple courtesy and respect for the locals and for their history and heritage, and for river conservation?

      I heard that you are representing the contractor.

      I hope you are not upset by my remarks. These are sincere remarks, maybe naive or not fully-informed. I am not in Bau, and I do not know you personally. I check the Internet to help keep abreast of happenings back home.

      • partistar

        Bland Dayak, I have to delete the question as we may be dragged away from the main topic.

        Let us discuss the issue of whether or not we deserve the rights and if lost how to protect them. In Canada, the Peoples of ther first Nation manage to recover their rights over their reserves which were taken by the Canadians who came and conquered.

        We are natives of Borneo now being harrassed by our own Government which have to amend the Land Code many times to make it easier for the Minister of Land to sell any land with or without the consent of the original users. What are and will be our defence for continued ownership of land being left by our fore-fathers for our uses? How much land as NCR and community land will be left for the future generation after our pursuit for instant wealth should be issues of our real concern?

  7. land dayak

    A correction, my email is, not I understand your deletion of my question – we do not want to start another topic here, do we?

    Back to the land issue, with my limited layman’s understanding, land in many (or all?) countries “belongs” to the State. Therefore the State grants “conditional” “rights” to “landowners”, who “lease” the land? Is that why landowners pay annual rent for the right to have access to and use of the land? You use the term “original users”, not landowners. Does it mean that you think that landowners are lessees, rather than “real” owners?

    On the issue of NCR land, there must be a proper, transparent, verifiable and fair procedure to delineate NCR land, based on the Land Code. Currently, as I understand it, the process is cloaked in secrecy. Only the Land and Survey have access to the aerial photographs, and only they can delineate and define the boundaries. How would the public know if the photographs are genuine and from the period specified in the Land Code? Is there a possibility that the photographs are taken from another place and another period, but used (mistakenly or otherwise) in determining the NCR land boundaries?

    Assuming that the photographs are genuine and of the correct locations and period, is there a possibility that the photo-interpreters may not get it right? I am not sure if it is very easy to discern primary vegetation from secondary vegetation, fallow land and tree crops like durian orchards and rubber gardens from old, and presumably dirty and tattered photographs. Do the photo-interpreters make ground checks to verify their analysis? If not, can the photo-interpretation be trusted? Can the process be made open and transparent, and the results are published and subject to public feedback, comments and objections like many other government processes?

    Another issue is that of separation of powers and responsibilities. The Land and Survey is the judge (photo-interpreter), the executor and implementer (land administrator) and the prosecutor (Land Code enforcer). Is this right? The State relies on the Land and Survey, and nobody else, to define and certify NCR land in cases of disputes. But Land and Survey is also the prosecutor in the dispute. Can another agency be tasked to independently delineate NCR land?

    My last issue concerns the manner and procedures for acquiring NCR land. I wish to make a point here that any government, in any country, must have the supreme right to acquire land for development and for the public good – the State owns the land after all. Without this supreme right, the State cannot function.

    But land acquisition must be fair to the owners. NCR land does not have any title, and it is difficult for the authorities to determine the exact size and to trace the owners. But this does not mean that the government should take the easy way out by publishing notices that many rural landowners have no access to, or have any understanding of. The authorities should take the trouble to visit and explain the acquisition to the affected people. And then, the compensation must be fair. The people should not be poorer as a result. In the case of the Bengoh dam, I understand that the government does not compensate for land or crops that are not submerged (above the waterline) by the resultant lake. But the villagers will not have access to this land after they are evacuated – in other words, they have lost the land. Shouldn’t they be compensated for the loss? After all it is not of their making.

    The second issue pertaining to land “acquisition” is the issuance or provisional lease. In this case, the landowners are not consulted and there is not publication of notices at all. It is a private and opaque transaction between the government and the PL holders. Yes, the PL offer will have the standard condition that the land may be subject to NCR claims. This is passing the buck. No PL holder will take the trouble to excise the NCR land – why should they? Why can’t the government consult the affected people before the PL is issued? The government can make use of the District Offices, the community leaders and village headmen to resolve NCR land issues before the land is excised and the PL is given. The Land and Survey can also use the opportunity to verify their NCR photo-interpretation.

    The bulk of the NCR land issues stems from the lack of documents of title for NCR land. If the government had surveyed all NCR land and issued documents of title for them, both the government and the owners will know who has what land and where. There will be little room for disputes. Shouldn’t the Dayaks be requesting for the issuance of NCR land titles as a major request to the government?

    • partistar

      Thanks. Now we are talking., Land Dayak.

      I cannot speak for the present State Government but I can for STAR. No Government which really CARES for the poor landowners should sell the Land without their consultation. The present State Government has given Land titltes to many Native landowners in their Land Reselltement exercises before. It has been their practices to give out Land Tittles publicly to a few hundreds of Land Owners before every State Election to counter the opposition allegations of land grabbing. I already know of two areas where they will handout Land Titles before this coming State Election.

      Back to the issuance of Land Titles. It is both a solution as well as creating a problem for the future unless certain condition are met. A solution because it is easier to settle a land dispute. It will be a future problem because one day the natives will become LANDLESS and become real SQUATTERS in their fore-fathers land. A case now in point. Many villagers, both Lara and Selakos, along the Biawak road where their land are either “sold” as they accepted compensation or taken as no compensation has been paid are complaining that they no longer build “their jamban” as Oil palm owners “owned” all their land. Where will their grand children build their houses in the future if they are too poor to buy one? This will become our future dilemmas. Natives becoming landless because their fathers and forefathers are too eager to become instant “thousandaires” NOW.

      Also now amongst the three villages, Kpg Sungai Pinang, Skandis Lama and Skandis Baru, where their land were surveyed and titled during my time in the Siniawan area, Bau during my time in power many are now facing the problem of becoming landless. Many sold their land for instant wealth and misused that wealth to face the problem of being landless and with the money obtained wasted. Those who managed to use the money from their land to send their children for higher education can earned money to buy land elsewhere. A few used the new found money to buy land elsewhere are better off. But what happens to those who sold their land and lost all their money on wasteful ventures? Now poorer with no land as an asset to even build a new hut!

      Back to Land and the Government of the Day. Yes all land by Laws made by the ruling Government “BELONGS” to the State and termed “CROWN Land”. It is therefore leaseable by the Government of the Day and can be translacted as commodities for the Generation of WEALTH either for the State and its subjects or for “RULER and family”. The “Ruler” can be the King, Queen, Sultan, or the CM. CM in Sarawak State Constitution owns all the Land in the State of Sarawak. He has the absolute power to determine Land use in Sarawak. It can do both good and evil. He has the absolute power of both GOD or Satan when your leases expire. His policies and actions should be obvious to all by now.

      Remember my “BALD head”. It is a warning to all that if the voters, especially the Bidayuh, cannot protect me politically or join me in my struggle for a “BETTER FUTURE”, the day will come where the poor with land will be “BOTAK” too being landless!

      So what do should we do? Our fore-fathers with their diligence to “scratch” a living out of the land still leave us all the NCR land which are not surveyed or titled. If we know our ADAT and our Traditions of Land use and conservation of Biodiversity, no Bidayuh will ever become landless. The Bidayuh has all the land long before Taib and his Government, long before Malkaysia was even born, long before there was the British, long before the Rajahs or even before the Sultan of Brunei calimed our land to be “HIS LAND” and the Bidayuh as HIS SUBJECTS”. Now with our modern education, we losing our land to new “COMERS” because of their “MONEY’ to which we are being enslaved.

      Do we need Land titles? Our fore-fathers said “NO”! They said why should we pay taxes i.e. land rent when it is our own land – meaning at that time any Kampong land is communal in nature but original owners through their lineage are respected by all at the village. Only with “NEW smart “alecks” mostly selfish pensioners with new aapiration for instant wealth, land grabbing become a problem at the village level.

      Land titled and leased to you or NOT is the issue which need answers now.

  8. land dayak

    I respectfully disagree with you. A lot of the problems with NCR land can be resolved with the issuance of documents of title. It is the best way to avoid or minimize land disputes and land grabbing, and will also facilitate development. It will also enable the monetization and therefore beneficial usage of the land.

    To say that dayaks should not be given titles for their NCR land just because some are incapable of managing them is akin to saying that dayaks should not be paid in money just because some cannot manage them. True, some folks are not truly knowledgeable and ready to wisely use their resources, be it land or money, but we cannot stop progress. Whether we like it or not, we are caught in, and are part of the modern society and economy that is all about documents, records, and above all, money. The great King Canute of the old English myth could not stop the sea tides, and neither can we stop the tide of progress.

    There must be ways and procedures to protect native land. Not giving documents is a very short-sighted answer and one that disadvantage the dayaks. Without documentation, NCR land can easily be taken away and the dayaks have no recourse. Increasing land disputes, largely dues to lack of documentation splits the community and even families, giving opportunities for others to come in and grab the land. I agree that documents of titles may lead to many other problems, but these are smaller compared to the bigger issues that affect the dayak communities as a whole. I believe that the government should institute stricter procedures and checks to control and minimize exploitative transactions and development of titled NCR land. But we need the land to be issued with title documents first.

    I discussed earlier about the modern concept of land management, in which all land is owned by the State. Us citizens only have rights to the land. We need to accept this – it is the reality. To pretend otherwise is quixotic. NCR land is not infinite. It is subject to the Sarawak Land Code. This is not something of our choosing. The British introduced the law, and we are now part of the system. It is not helpful to think what might have been. The traditional dayak concepts and model for land management are not longer options available to us. The old model ended with the adoption of the Sarawak Land Code in 1957. Not that the dayaks were consulted or informed before the Land Code was passed, but what does that matter now?

    There are many things that I disagree and vehemently too, with the way the State administers the land. I strongly oppose the opaque and secretive ways by which NCR land is delineated. WE need an open and consultative process with ground verification. Not one done in the comfort of an air-conditioned office by some “experts” who probably never understood the dayaks’ world-view and concept of land management and farming cycles. The State must also stop the blind and wanton issuance of PLs, especially to the rent seekers seeking to make a quick buck. There are many other “ills” to discuss, but I don’t want to digress.

    In short there is a lot for the government to improve, but opting out is not an option for the dayaks. To benefit the dayaks as they opt in (we don’t have a choice, actually), we can start with the government issuing documents of title for NCR land.

  9. partistar

    So you are happy to all our land documented as it is done now so that when all are sold out, one day a village has nowhere to expand leaving the dayaks no option but to squat in the five foot way as seen in Manila to-day?

    Yes, the oringinal owners will make “peanuts” compared to the buyer who will have the land in perpuity as in Sungai Pinang/ Skandis area which through my efforts as the Assistant Minister got their land surveyed and titled. Some sold their piece even before the papers are out.. Now a few is already “landless”.

    Yes, it is also true that documentation will improve the economic status of the people as in the case in point, because only then their worth is suddenly in the millions – in fact some became instant “millionaires” but some already lost it plus landless… This is the core issue we must consider.

    The solution for the problem is there and simple but the community must agree and accept its benefits. The arguments to convince do not resolve the problem of the Bidayuh becoming landless in 60 years time. Of course we need not care as I will be dead and buried by then… but do you think our actions to-day should create problem for our children and grand children or not?

    • land dayak

      Just like you, I am very sad and angry too that we are losing our land through ill-advised and ignorant sale be they documented or undocumented land. Another source of loss I think is through unannounced and secretive alienation, transfers or occupation by the State or other parties because the land is undocumented.

      If asked, I am sure that many NCR land owners prefer to have documents of title. That is the only legal way to protect and secure the land. There are many attendant problems like what you mentioned that have happened in Kandis and Sungai Pinang. These probably cannot be eradicated totally, but can be minimized and controlled. The community, the community leaders and the State can institute procedures and checks to prevent exploitative sale of NCR land to “outsiders”. This may sound naïve, but the dayaks need to work on finding and implementing a solution to the problem.

      But I must add that the biggest transfer “loss” of land does not happen with those with documents of titles. I think more transfers happen with undocumented land where the land is acquired by another native (dayak or malay), most times at a pittance. Why? It is because the land has not document of title, and therefore is deemed to be less valuable. Also the owners do not know the true size and lay of the land – these are “surveyed” and drawn up by the “generous” buyer. I am told a certain YB and some businessmen have quietly amassed huge tracts of Bidayuh land in Bau and Lundu. This is land without titles, and probably bought at a big disadvantage to the owners.

      Land sales (and loss) happen both with titled and non-titled land. But it is more exploitative with untitled land. How do we manage this? In a way, it is impossible in today’s “willing buyer, willing seller” capitalistic economy. But we can mitigate it by maintaining the native status of the land so that it cannot be transferred to non-natives, and by invoking the participation and consultation and of the community leaders in any land transaction.

      I too fear the day when members of our future generations will not have land to build homes and to farm. Some already are “landless”, as you pointed out in Kandis and Sg. Pinang. But this has happened much earlier with the urban native community, e.g., the urban kampong Malays in Bau and Kuching.

      We need to keep this dialogue going, divergent and sometimes heated as it may be. I am hoping that others will join as NCR land is very important to us now and in the future. I hope somba Patrick Anek can share his thoughts on this too.

  10. partistar

    Land sales will lead to a loss of the land of the original owners especially the villagers. However the sale of a lease will not deprive the natives of the land forever.

    Documentation can be done in two ways. One is to confirm that the land is a Community land belonging to the respective villages. This was the essence of the original Land Code. Amendments made after 1996 make it easy for the Government of the Day to sell land by issuing Provincial Lease to the buyer. Where money talks loud and clear, the buyer can bulldoze his way through leading loss of the said land without any compensation to the natives. Second pieces of the land can be assigned to Individual landowners on a limited lease with the proviviso that he can sell the lease which own expired the land can be deemed the community land which can be reassigned on an agreed procedure. This will guarantee that natives will not become landless one day.

    The management of land use is very important to ensure continued peace and harmony amongst our people. The poorer natives need the land for survival while the rich need them to become richer. I am sure that if one day the natives become landless the problems of the Middle east will become our problem. The continued fighting/war in Middle east is nothing but a struggle for the rights to use the limited land amongst them. Their system of belief and nationalism is thrown in to complicate matters making their land problem a world problem…

    Current land grabbing/selling by the Government to Oil Palm planters is the fastest means to get the poor natives to become landless…

    If I were ever consulted by the owners of Skandis/Sungai Pinang Mixed Zone in perptuity before, I would have recommended that they would lease out the land instead of selling the title outright…. But it is the right to sell. It is between the landowners, the buyers and the Government of the day.

  11. Patrick Anek Uren

    The debate on land usage and ncr land of the Dayaks could go until thy-kindgom-come. To what purpose? It is the government that controls things here. And as any government would, macro policies are the must yardsticks for governing. These policies include, among many others, how to derive maximum benefits from the resources that are always limited for the good of the country. And “good of the country” is a matter also determined by the government of the day. Invariably, leaders of the government would want to protect themselves first, to feed themselves first, and to establish their comfort zone first. At times those policies are mechivillian or “the ends justifies the means”. Here “the ends” targetted are employments, wealth, and more importantly distribution of income between the more bdeveloped and the lesser developed areas. And the “means” could be pick-up-land-for-evelopment in those areas that are found having always been supporting the BN party in power (at present). At areas where not too many feathers get ruffled up. And histories have shown people’s anger are short-lived. Come election times the money, the drink, and the hearty meals provided by the very money earned through those “hated” development, the petty jealousy, the indifference to unity of purpose, the individualism of spirit, the only too-eager-to-be-seen-to-be different from the other, these features so prevalent among Dayaks, the governing party will still win in the midst of all of these. In short the current policies will survive. They will survive because, for example, those presently Ketua kaum(s) who shouted aloud against “land grabbing at Kampung Stenggang” will be so terrified to loose their monthly allowance or worst, to be terminated of their stewardships of the villages, they will be the first to run to the side of BN and say “land problems can be resolved after elections are over”, and get everyone to support “government”. Some will even go to the extent of denying oppositions members for canvassing for support in their villages, like the recent episode involving PR in Sibu’s interior. After elections are over no change will be forthcoming. After all what is there to change the same old government is elected!
    All protests by people will remain in vain especially the Bidayuhs are the easier-to-please people compared to the other natives (sorry for this adverse diagnostic). As can be seen so many Datuks have been made of Bidayuh personalities in the recent past. So many dy. ministers and asst. ministers have been made of them as well. And looking at the celebrations and ceremonies that followed those awards and appointments, if anything, are indicating to the other comunities at large that the Bidayuh people are rejoicing over these “gains”. This must mean they are very happy. These datukships and appointment although are personal to those concerned are “accepted” as if they can bring benefits to the community at large which in fact they are not. However those that rejoice with those dy ministers and asst ministers and their “pangkat” will translate their rejoice into votes-for-BN! in the coming election. They will be the pillars that maintain and defend those policies of the government of the day. In short, there is no need to protest over those policies and those with regard to ncr land and p/l lands given to companies to develop. Just let BN leadership do and think what is best for the country!
    Saying the above I have to add that I personally am not in total agreement with all those things been happening around. However the persistent thought that the pursuit of change one travels it alone and lonely, and at times, can be very dispairing indeed. I know every pursuer of change has that experiences. There is one consolation though: it is in the historical facts, and of which there are many. These historical facts almost always are repeated over and over in the period of times of human civilizations: i.e “empire never last”. Strengthened by that evidences of history I believe BN’s hold on to power will crumble soon. The signs are ironically in the rejoicing of the people over those small “pangkat” and those junior ministerial appointment. Although nothing will come easy for the opposition to gain the people’s support either. However change will come nonetheless. And when it does it can be likened to a childbirth – its initial excruitating pain will be comforted by the joy of a new born. And a lot of blessing of the Almighty God will help in achieving this. Then we could hope in new policies will be at work, hopefully for the better. For that we should, for the moment, pray, and say, Amen.

  12. Pingback: “By way of deception, we shall do war!” « Tiyung Dayak – “The Sour Dayak Apple” in Bidayuh Politics

  13. Ganeng

    Back to the natives, your land is your land. It is your right to allow your BN masters to sell your land without your consent. By the way, you have given “your CONSENT for Taib to sell your land WHEN YOU VOTED FOR BN during any election” after 1995. So if you cry when your land is sold without compensation, etc, remember I have reminded you of this possibility in 1995 when I shaved my head…

    ….While I support your cause; to fight for the NCR landowners I disagree with the above statement. Most of our people especially the natives (Bidayuh) are so naive that they can be tricked, swayed, coaxed, bribed or even threatened to vote for BN. This does not tantamount to CONSENT. I believe our people must be educated about their rights before we even touch on land rights.

    • partistar

      Agree with your point but as far as BN is concerned they have the mandate to “sell” your land for their Politics of Development which is in their manifesto. Voting BN means you give the power to CM to do what he thinks best for you.

      But I was against taking poor farmers or fishermen land without their informed consent way back in 1983 in my maiden speech which was of course NOT highlighted by their media. This is why I am seen a s a threat to the present actions. So out I got booted in 1995 before I could challenged James Wong for the SNAP Presidency so they thought. Poor James too because he saw himself as the “BEST PRESIDENT as he was quoted by one newspaper later on. Little do they know that it was never my ambition to be so, but if unanimously given, I would shoulder the burden as I am doing for STAR now.

      Yes, we must educate our people of their rights and that rights are also enshrined in the UN under FREE, PRIOR and INFORMED CONSENT for the indigenous peoples of the world. But watch out as the government now moves with total control on the appointments of KETUA MASYARAKATS, or village elders! Sacking is almost automatic now if they do not sign consent to their NCR land proposal later….or could change them legally every four years if they do not deliver the votes to mandate Taib’s family cling to power.

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