MIRI, Sept 22: Locals staying in Canada Hill and Padang Kerbau areas have so far filed four civil suits against a subsidiary company of a local conglomerate in Sarawak over ownership of what they claimed is their native customary rights (NCR) land.
According to the legal counsel and advisor of the local community, Dominique Ng, more civil suits would be filed soon.
“This is an entire community of Kedayan and Jati Meriek of Kampung Haji Wahid, Pujut Padang Kerbau, Kampung Lereng Bukit, Katong and Lopeng in action and who have stood up to defend their NCR lands from being taken by the big company,” Ng told DayakDaily today.
To claim their land, the locals of Canada Hill and Padang Kerbau decided to build a surau on top of Canada Hill. Earthworks have already commenced on the proposed site.
“This site is near the Grand Old Lady and on disputed land, where the titles have been issued to the subsidiary company of a big timber company,” said Ng.
The former Padungan assemblyman claimed that Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religion) Fuziah Salleh would officiate at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the proposed surau tomorrow (Sept 23).
Ng lamented that when the locals stood up to defend their land by filing legal suits against the private company, the police were busy charging them for criminal offences. So far, the local community has been slapped with four criminal charges.
The locals claim that Canada Hill and Padang Kerbau are their NCR as their ancestors resided in the area since 1910.
“However, about a few years ago, land titles were issued to the big company without the notice and realisation of the local community.
“They started to stand up for their NCR land three years ago and have since filed civil suits against the company to try to get their NCR back,” Ng revealed. — DayakDaily