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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 21: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas once again refuted claims that the 2018 amendment of the Sarawak Land Code would reduce native customary rights (NCR) land size.
“There are misunderstandings about the amendment to the Land Code or (they) intentionally don’t understand (about it). Worst was saying that the amendment would cut down NCR land size for a community to 1,000 hectares only.
“This is not true. (They are being) deliberately ignorant to confuse the community. Instigator,” he said during the closing ceremony of the Land Code (Amendment) 2018 Forum for Southern Zone which was officiated at by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at a hotel here today.
Uggah emphasised that NCR land is recognised by the State Land Code under Section 5 which includes ‘temuda’, ‘tembawai’, ‘pendam’, ‘tanah buah’ and ‘tanah rumah’.
He revealed that it was estimated that Sarawak has at least 1.5 million hectares of NCR land and as at Oct 15 this year, 910,000 hectares or 2,247,700 acres has been gazetted while more will be gazetted in due time.
Section 6A, he reiterated, gave opportunity to NCR landowners recognised under Section 5 to apply for Native Communal Title for their Native Territorial Domain (NTD) or ‘Pemakai Menoa’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ (PMPG).
“This title is in perpetuity and free of charge. Section 6A will not cut down the size of the NCR land area under Section 5. NTD is over and above NCR created by Section 5.
“This means that our land will increase from the existing NCR land owned,” he said.
He also highlighted another land issue raised by the TR Nyutan case, in which the court ruled that, even though the native landowners could prove that the land occupied by a company was their NCR land, but they were only given compensation and could not get their land returned.
“They cannot get their land back. In this case, the TR Nyutan NCR land was within the title given to the company that was holding provisional lease.
“To avoid this situation, the Land Code (Amendment) 2018 amended Section 28 to provide that titles cannot be issued until all NCR land claims within the Provisional Lease land are settled,” he explained.
Uggah thanked Abang Johari for the land reform as well as for the RM40 million allocation for the surveying of NCR land in 2020.
“There was no allocation from the federal (government). This is good news for NCR landowners as it shows that the state government is commited to protecting our NCR land,” he said.
He thus urged community leaders, village heads, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to give their full support to Abang Johari to lead Sarawak, to take care Sarawak’s interests, to ensure the management of land matters in Sarawak, and to prioritise the rights of the Bumiputera in Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong, Minister of Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi and state secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion were among those present. — DayakDaily