Community leader says current definition of ‘NCR land’ wrong

Pahang gestures as he explains his definition of “NCR land” to reporters.

KUCHING, June 22: To ex-Temenggong Pahang Deng, the definition of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land as “land which has been cultivated” is erroneous.

“No, it has been twisted. NCR land means the land and everything on it — the land, the dirt, the trees, the birds’ nests, and whatever is within the area — is our rights. That is the meaning of NCR.

“Farmland is only part of it. Where there is land, there is river; under the river, there is land; on the land, there is dirt; on the dirt, there are trees. These are all our rights,” opined Pahang, who was a Temenggong of the Orang Ulu community for more than 20 years.

He said this to reporters today after Society for Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak (SCRIPS) submitted a copy of “Deklarasi Tanah Adat Orang Asli Sarawak 2017” to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at the latter’s office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here.

Pahang, who hails from Daleh in Long Pelutan, Baram, observed that much of their land in Baram was now under provisional lease (PL). Some of them are already planted with crops, while the rest have yet to be cleared for plantation purposes.

For those that have yet to be cleared, he hoped the government would return them to the community. As for those lands that had been opened and cultivated, he hoped new negotiations could be held for the benefit of the villagers.

“The third thing is, don’t continue to give PL anymore.”

Pahang pointed out that the Orang Ulu community was not against land development.

“We are not against the opening of land. Land can be opened, but in return, give us some benefits, such as share certain percentage, commission or royalties.

“Not that we are against development. Development is good. What we don’t like is that outside people come in and just get on with whatever they were doing and don’t give any consideration to the locals,” said Pahang.

Pahang (second from right) submitting the request of his village to an officer from Uggah’s office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia this morning. With him are SCRIPS secretary-general Michael Jok (right) and legal advisor Henry Joseph Usan (left).

Meanwhile, besides submitting the declaration, Pahang also submitted a request for Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) to withdraw its project in Daleh involving 3,000 hectares.

“I am now accused of corruption by my own village people. The land was given during the time of (former Chief Minister Tun Pehin Sri) Abdul Taib Mahmud to Salcra for development,” claimed Pahang. — DayakDaily