KUCHING, Jan 28: While many are happy that the Sarawak Land Code will finally be amended to recognise Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau (PMPG) in the state, an Opposition leader cautioned that it could be a trick to hoodwink voters.
“The authorities should amend the Land Code before the 14th General Election (GE14) and recognise the land of Pemakai Menoa, Pulau Galau as well as Sarawak Malay Customary Land.
“We fear that they will only promise to amend before the election but after they win, they will forget their promise,” said state PAS commissioner Jofri Jaraiee with regards to the recent announcement by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas that amendments to the Sarawak Land Code will be tabled in the State Legislative Assembly in July.
Jofri said there are many land disputes between native landowners and development agencies as native customary rights (NCR) land was handed over to developers without the native landowners’ knowledge.
“The question is why is it so easy for the developers to get land ownership of native lands without their knowledge, while those who have their ancestral land inheritance for decades and have applied for their land titles are not entertained and are not recognised by the government,” he said.
He therefore urged the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari to investigate the matter on whether there is any element of abuse of power or corruption involved.
He further proposed that NCR lands, ‘Pemakai Menoa’, ‘Pulau Galau’ and as well as Sarawak Malay customary land should be gazetted as land which cannot be sold or owned by foreign developers or investors as private or company ownership.
“The land can be developed together with native landowners provided they are informed in advance,” he said. — DayakDaily