FDS: Land-grabbing allegations in Ulu Trusan completely unfounded

File photo for illustration purposes only.

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KUCHING, Dec 17: The Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) has condemned allegations that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) plans to grab 120,885 hectares of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land in Ulu Trusan if it continues to be the government as rumours that are completely unfounded.

Clarifying the allegations that went viral on social media, it explained that the area in question has been proposed to be gazetted as the Ulu Trusan Protected Forest with the first stage process involving public notification being completed on Jan 22, 2015 in accordance with legal requirements under Section 8 of the Forest Ordinance, 2015.

“Through the first stage gazettement process, a consultation and public feedback has been implemented by the FDS including recording NCR land claims and other commitments on the proposed forest reserve area.

“Valid NCR land areas will be excluded from the proposed forest reserve before the second stage of gazette process is implemented,” it said in a statement yesterday.

However, it added that the government has decided not to proceed with the second stage gazettment process under Section 18 of the Forests Ordinance to declare the boundaries finalised for the Ulu Trusan Protected Forest involving authentic NCR lands claimed by local residents or communities in 2015.

According to the FDS, any area to be declared as a forest reserve must go through two stages of gazettement in line with the provisions of the Forests Ordinance, 2015.

Based on Land and Survey Department’s records, FDS pointed out that several NCR land areas within the Ulu Trusan Protected Forest boundary gazetted in the first stage have been approved for perimetre survey and have been gazetted as Bumiputera Communal Reserves under Section 6 of the State Land Code.

“The gazette process for the first stage has been implemented in accordance with the law, especially the Forests Ordinance, 2015.

“This proves that the government always prioritises and upholds the rights of the people to their NCR land based on the State Land Code,” it added. — DayakDaily