‘State govt, Dayak leaders complicit in denying NCR’

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KUCHING: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) said the outcome of the native customary rights (NCR) land case yesterday showed denying land owners from claiming their ancestral NCR land has not only been approved by the Sarawak government but also endorsed by Dayak leaders who has suggested that “all perimeter survey of NCR land should be done under Section 6 of the Land Code”.

“It is no secret that NCR land under Section 6 is communal land owned by the state,” said PBDSB in a press release yesterday.

The party expressed disappointment over yesteryday’s outcome where the Dayak landowners lost their bid to reclaim their land.

PBDSB said every time Dayak landowners lose their legal battles to claim their communal land through the courts, it added much more anxiety to the whole Dayak community.

The party thus called on the Dayak community to “wake up and smell the true smell of the roses” and depend on each other to fight for NCR land including ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal reserves) or PMPG.

PBDSB said based on the land case yesterday, even land under NCR could be taken away by private companies and government-linked companies, what more to be said of land surveyed under Section 6.

“PBDSB has highlighted that it is always a lost cause and (lost) money when the Dayak fight their cases in the Federal Court to defend their PMPG (Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau) involving the state government’s alienation of land to an oil palm plantation company.

“There has been no consideration that the NCR land is an inheritance from ancestors long before any legislation or courts even existed in Sarawak,” said PBDSB.

The NCR landowners involved wanted their land returned instead of the court’s ruling for compensation.

“What is the point of fighting in court if their initial intention was to go for compensation?

“The case also proved that the state BN (Barisan Nasional) has repeatedly failed again and again, to resolve NCR and PMPG issues and had also failed terribly to recognise the Dayak community’s centuries-old Dayak customary practices and concept of shifting agriculture,” said PBDSB.

The Federal Court had yesterday overturned the High Court’s decision ordering rectification of title to exclude NCR land from provisional leases given by the state government to plantation companies.

The five-man bench led by Chief Justice of Malaya Mohd Raus Shariff, unanimously upheld the appeal of Land Consolidation and Development Authority (LCDA), oil palm plantations companies TH Pelita Sadong Sdn Bhd and TH Pelita Gedong Sdn Bhd, the state government and RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, against the 2014 decision of the High Court ordering that NCR land belonging to residents of Kampung Lebor in Gedong to be excised from the provisional leases the state government had given to the plantation companies.

The Federal Court also set aside the High Court order to the Land and Survey Department to rectify the title registry and pay for damages and ordered that the landowners be compensated for the loss of their land and the quantum to be decided by the Court of Inquiry.