KUCHING, Dec 17: More village communities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should emulate Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA)’s model in setting up a task force or committee to facilitate and speed up perimeter surveys of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code.
Highlighting this, Sarawak Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo welcomed the news by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on adopting DBNA’s model in more areas which he will bring up and discuss with the Land and Survey Department.
“NCR land should be surveyed and issued titles as a matter of process, not on ad hoc basis. More village communities and NGOs should emulate DBNA’s model.
“Apart from community leaders being involved in the survey process, NGOs should also play their role to assist the villagers,” she emphasised in a press release today.
She noted that DBNA has helped many landowners with perimeter surveys of their NCR land, which land size were agreed upon by all affected landowners and witnessed by the ‘Ketua Kaum’ (village chiefs) when the process was conducted.
“That way, it should be easy for the government to formalise it. The license surveyors just need to verify only where the pegs are already there,” she said.
“It is a welcome news but there are lots more needed to be done,” she added, urging the state government to pay the same attention to the survey of NCR land as they did for palm oil plantations and industrial land.
Furthermore, with many surveyors in town and satellite technology making geological mapping easy, she said there was no reason not to be able to expedite the land survey process.
“Also, whatever data the government has should be shared with the public and the information should be available upon request.
“It is a lame excuse that (availability of) such information (for public) may be used by other countries to attack our government, as now with satellite technology, foreign governments have far more advanced intelligence than we have,” she said.
Soo emphasised that no one should be landless in Sarawak as the state has a huge land mass with only 2.8 million population.
“All landless families should be granted a piece of land with perpetuity title for a permanent home and vegetable patch.
“This should be priority government policy as every Sarawakian family should be able to look to the future with the most valuable asset of all – land,” she added.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari had at the townhall session during ‘Berambeh Ngan Abang Jo’ held in Betong on Wednesday (Dec 15), agreed that adopting DBNA’s initiative used in Bau and Serian would help speed up the process of perimeter survey under Section 18 for the issuance of individual titles.
In the initiative, DBNA and community leaders worked with Land and Survey Department to get the perimeter survey done quickly.
He also agreed with the engagement of private surveyor for the process, and assured villagers that this matter will be brought up and discussed with the Land and Survey Department.
Abang Johari noted that it was crucial to have their lands surveyed and titles issued quickly in order for the local people to be able to work on their land such as in modern farming which the state government has put much emphasis on as part of the effort to turn Sarawak into a net exporter of food products by 2030. —DayakDaily