NCR land survey in Bidayuh areas an on going process, says paramount chief

Temenggon Austin Dimin

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KUCHING, Oct 19: Bidayuh Council of Elders chairman Temenggong Austin Dimin has rubbished claims that survey of native customary rights (NCR) land was done in “only one or two villages”.

He said a total of 94 Bidayuh villages have been approved for perimeter survey of NCR land, subsequently gazettal as Native Communal Reserve under Section 6 of the State Land Code.

A total of 34 villages that have gone through the gazettal under Section 6 have been approved for the individual lot survey under Section 18, he added.

“A recent claim that such survey was done in ‘only one or two villages’ is not true at all,” he said in a statement.

Austin added: “Individual titles under Section 18 (of State Land Code) have also been issued to 3,832 landowners affecting 2,958 agriculture lots. The titles have been and will be presented to the landowners at any time of the year, not just during elections like some others are claiming.”

Austin was responding to claims made by Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin, during the current Parliament session on Monday (Oct 14), that only ‘one or two villages’ are being surveyed and the titles are issued only before the election.

Willie had made those claims when seeking clarification from Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who in her Budget 2020 debate, had queried why the present federal government did not allocate funds for NCR land perimeter survey for next year.

According to Austin, Willie had also claimed that the millions of ringgit allocated for the perimeter survey are not properly utilised because the survey was done mainly for land belonging to “ministers and big towkays”.

The council chairman said it was not also not correct and not true to say that the survey was done for “selected few” because in as far as the Bidayuh community is concerned, it is the Bidayuh themselves who are benefiting from the survey.

He also pointed out that land title presentation ceremonies have already taken place at different time every year, with an upcoming one to be held at Bau Civic Centre for folks from three villages on Oct 23.

The Temenggong cited three recent ceremonies at Kampung Tian Sekawan, Serian, on Nov 27 last year, Kampung Pichin, Serian (Dec 14) and Singai, Bau, on Jan 19 this year, as proof that such event does not take place when an election is held.

“A total 13 ‘bung’ (ancestral settlement sites on hills and mountains) have also been identified and proposed to be surveyed as communal reserve. Eight of these ‘bung’ have been successfully been approved and gazetted as communal reserve and heritage centres,” he said.

Austin expressed hope Willie can substantiate his claims by providing data, which he had claimed to have when speaking at the Parliament on Monday. — DayakDaily