Engkudu NCR Landowners Wants End to 23 year-old Claim

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KUCHING: Iban native customary rights (NCR) landowners from Engkudu in Saratok are appealing to the state government to put an end their 23 year fight for a fair compensation on their NCR land at Lemachang, Hilir Sg Sebetan, that had been acquired by the government for a village reserve.

Their elected representative in the Sarawak state assembly, Alli Biju, in speaking for them, said the affected landowners are just hoping the government under new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abg Johari Tun Openg would listen to their plea and come to a win-win situation for both them and the government.

Ali said they are not against the acquisition that would create more land space for the neighbouring village,Kampung Kupang.

“They only want a fair compensation.”

Ali said the 64.2 hectare land, acquired by the government on May 21, 1987, had been planted with sago palm after it was alienated to the native landowners in 1920.

The PKR lawmaker said the landowners are still amicable to a solution despite there being no notification or negotiation with the government on the acquisition.

“They are only aware of the acquisition when they were blocked from clearing the land.

“Realising that their sago farm had been acquired by the government, the people of Engkudu in 1994 took steps to be paid a fair compensation for their losses.

“Unfortunately, their claims have either been brushed aside or totally ignored.”

Ali also said the former Saratok MP Jelaing Mersat had made an appeal to former Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2004 to intervene and settle the dispute but nothing came out of it. – dayakdaily.com