Sarawak appeals for exemption on NCR land in EU Deforestation Regulation

Dr Rundi (seated centre) speaks during a press conference while other dignitaries look on at the Sarawak DUN Complex on Nov 28, 2023.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 28: Sarawak wants the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) to grant special exemption on Native Customary Right (NCR) land to ensure that the indigenous community can continue planting agricultural products and enhance their livelihoods.

Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Sarawak, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, said his ministry will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Plantation and Commodities Malaysia (MPIC) and Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) to appeal to the EU on the matter.

“If they proceed with not allowing our planting of cocoa, rubber and coffee or reforestation in the sense, there is no way that we can develop our NCR land.

“Therefore, this will deprive those people from the B40 group iving in the rural areas, as they are not able to utilise their land to improve their livelihood and living standards and so on. That’s why it is very concerning.

“We will continue to appeal and work together with MPIC to appeal to the EU so that they will consider the importance of us to protect our indigenous communities in order for them to be able to improve their livelihood,” he told a press conference after presenting his ministerial winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

During his speech in the august House, Dr Rundi said EUDR will not only affect oil palm but also other major commodity crops and livestock such as rubber, cocoa, coffee, soya, cattle and wood, as well as products derived from these commodities.

This regulation, he said, is not only restricting development on NCR land but also contradicts the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDG) Agenda. — DayakDaily