PBK urges Sarawak govt to repeal Section 28 of Sarawak Land Code

Peli Aron.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 20:  Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) is urging the Sarawak government to repeal Section 28 of the Land Code as it is the root cause of many native land dispute cases.

Its deputy president Peli Aron said Section 28 should be repealed because it is contrary to the concept of Torrens System which is the basis of Sarawak Land Code.

“Section 28 (of the Land Code) should be amended or repealed completely.  From my experience in doing NCR (native customary rights) cases filed by the Iban community, this section is the main reason why there are hundred NCR cases filed in the court,” said Peli who is a lawyer by profession.

He said Section 28 of the Land Code allows provisional lease titles to be given away without survey, against the principle of Torrens System.

“It is a strange provision. It goes contrary to the Torrens System in our Land Code.  Torrens System stated that any titles can only be given away after survey with certainty in size area and ownership.”

“But provisional leases were given away under Section 28 of the Land Code where no survey was done but based on aerial photographs,” said Peli at a press conference held at PBK president Voon Lee Shan’s office here today.

He went on to explain that when big plantation companies were given the provisional leases, they were required to cultivate the land within three years.

“Because of that, the companies will start planting immediately and many times, they encroach into NCR land as there was no survey done before the land was given to the companies under provisional leases,” said Peli.

Citing a former case he handled, he said the company was given 4,000 ha for plantation.

However, after the land was planted and survey was carried out, it was found that the planation took up an area of 4,286 which to Peli, was a clear violation of the special title given to the company which also meant encroachment into the NCR land around the plantation.  

“Section 28 is the root of all problems of native customary rights land,” Peli stressed. — DayakDaily