State govt allocates RM40 mln for continuation of New Initiative perimetre survey

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan

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by Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 8: The Sarawak government has approved and allocated RM40 million to continue with the New Initiative for Native Customary Reserve (NCR) Land Perimetre Survey Programme in protecting the rights of Bumiputera landowners.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan pointed out that initially, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government in its 2019 Budget did not provide any specific allocations for perimetre survey for Native Customary Reserve (NCR) Land in Sarawak.

“However, perhaps due to pressure, the federal government has since announced RM21.5 million allocation but up until now, only RM10.75 million has been channeled,” he informed the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) when delivering his winding-up speech for the Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources.

On the development of the first phase of the Programme, he revealed that a total of 880,541 hectares of land had been surveyed until April 30 this year.

“Out of the figure, 723,344 hectares had been gazetted under the Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code as Bumiputera Communal Reserve (Agriculture),” he said.

“This means that in just eight years, we have been able to measure three times the amount of land compared to using previous method (which was found to be less efficient),” he added.

In the second phase of the programme, he informed the august House that the areas under Section 6 will be surveyed based on individual lots for the purpose of issuing land titles under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code.

“To date, 26,036 individual lots have been surveyed involving an area of 32,376 hectares which had been and will be issued land titles under Section 18 of the Land Code,” he said.

Apart from perimetre surveys, Awang Tengah pointed out that efforts will focus on surveys for individual lots for areas which have been gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code based on applications and readiness of landowners this year.

“The previous federal government was concerned about land matters in Sarawak although they also acknowledged that land matters were autonomy of state (sic). Their commitment was demonstrated through allocation of RM161 million,” he added.

The programme, he said, has received good response from the majority of NCR landowners and many have benefitted from the outcome.

“The landowners realised that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government always fulfilled its promises. Those who have been left out have already reapplied for the programme,” he emphasised.

“As such, the Sarawak government has approved the recruitment of 467 officers in various categories to enhance the existing capacity of Land and Survey Department Sarawak,” he said.

The recruitment of new officers, he added, involved an additional expenditure estimated as much as RM30 million annually for the Sarawak government.

“To ensure the continuity of the programme, I urged all YBs (elected representatives) and all NCR land applicants to give full cooperation and collaboration with the Land and Survey Department so that survey works can be carried out smoothly, especially involving individual lots,” he urged. — DayakDaily