NCR land matters not under Putrajaya’s purview — Baru

Baru Bian

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KUCHING, Nov 5: Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Baru Bian pointed out today that Native Customary Rights (NCR) land matters are not under the federal government’s purview, and Putrajaya does not have any say on Sarawak land matters; hence, any allocation, if given, is a bonus.
He said this in response to criticisms that the Federal Budget 2019 did not allocate any money to conduct perimeter surveys for NCR land. 
“I am amused at the fact that some people have been so quick to jump on this issue and point fingers at the federal government for the absence of specific allocation in the budget to conduct perimeter surveys for NCR land. By their criticism, they are implying that the Pakatan Harapan government is not concerned about the NCR of the people and not treating it as an important issue,” Baru said in a press statement today.
“The issue of the surveying of NCR land is not as important to the people as the recognition of their native customary rights to their land. This is because NCR exists, whether it is surveyed or not — its existence does not arise from a survey.
“I maintain my stand that the state government has not fully recognised the NCR of the natives of Sarawak, notwithstanding the Land Code (Amendment) Act 2018 that was passed in July this year. The state government has not done its utmost to protect the rights of the people but instead put in a half-hearted attempt, recognising only the usufructuary rights of the people on the land and not in the land.”
Baru, who is also Works Minister, Selangau MP and Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, added that the amendment that was passed restricts the `adat’ of the natives by putting a limit on the area claimable to a maximum of 1,000 hectares.
He opined that the state government gave the rights to determine the issue of native customary rights to non-native ‘experts’.
“The much-publicised survey of NCR land in Sarawak, as I understand it, is carried out under s6 of the Sarawak Land Code and not under s18. 
“Section 18 is the preferred option as it is personal in nature, whereas s6 is still uncertain in terms of its legal position, ie whether the land surveyed is native customary land or an area of land gazetted as communal land and deemed to be state land in the first place. No compensation is payable if the land is acquired.
“Lastly, I am looking forward to the final decision in the review of Tuai Rumah (TR) Sandah in the Federal Court, which I believe will eventually reinstate the position of the court in the Nor Nyawai case.” — DayakDaily