Niah villagers want land titles for NCR land

The villagers protesting over Federal Court's decisions which favoured developers instead of native landowners.

MIRI, Nov 27: Hundred of villagers from Bulin Saeh Longhouse, in Niah, about an hour’s drive from here, are requesting the government to recognise their native customary rights (NCR) over their ancestral land with issuance of land title.

Tuai Rumah Panjai Bulin said their families and ancestors have lived there since colonial times but they have not been given ownership or land grant where they live.

Sarawak PAS Commissioner Jofri Jaraiee who visited them recently, said the villagers are angry that their application to have ownership over their NCR lands was ignored by the relevant authorities.

“They are quite angry with the attitude of the authorities who gave Provisional Leases (PL) to a company with ease.

“While they (the villagers) have repeatedly demanded their NCR land rights but no action was taken, until they had to prevent the developer from continuing to encroach on their ancestral land,” Jofri said in a press statement today.

One of the protest banners put up by the villagers.

He said that the villagers from the area are frustrated with the government’s stand on NCR issues that is unable to defend NCR land from falling into the hands of developers.

According to Jofri, the villagers disagreed with the decision of the Federal Court that granted NCR land of Sarawakian indigenous people to developers or companies.

Urging the state government to amend the Sarawak Land Code to protect NCR lands immediately, including the customary suburban land of the Sarawak Malays, Jofri said landowners who are deprived of their own lands would live in misery and hardship without land to farm or a place to live.

“Don’t harm the indigenous people and only benefit the developer or profit-making company.

“The government should give priority to the rights of the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, and not easily give ownership to foreigners and non-Sarawakians,” he stressed.

He also urged the government to develop rural areas that are still far behind in terms of development and economy, and give land to those in need of shelter. — DayakDaily