Villagers refuse compensation for NCR land

Nyutan (left) and Jengga

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KUCHING, Oct 28: Kampung Lebur residents refuse to accept compensation for the land as they just want their land back.

One of the land owners Jengga Jeli said Tuai Rumah Nyutan Jami had decided that they would not accept compensation for their ancestral land following the decision of the Federal Court.

“He (Nyutan) is the principal plaintiff of our case and our leader in defending our land. We will fully support the decision of Tuai Rumah Nyutan, who refuses to receive the land compensation after losing the case,” said Jengga who is also one of the land owners.

He said in a press statement today that their ancestors had tried hard to defend their land and heritage. It was now their duty to defend the land handed down in whichever way they could.

“We will not accept compensation and will not give up our land because it is our ancestral land. If the Tabung Haji company is sincere, they should consult directly with us, the villagers and not through some middlemen,” said Jengga.

He was frustrated with the decision of the Federal Court and raised the question why was that, they won at the High Court and Court of Appeals only to be defeated in the apex court.

“The indigenous peoples should rise to defend Dayak rights, and we will hold a protest to petition against the government.”

He said he would take part in the two upcoming peaceful protests on Nov 7 and Nov 13.

On Oct 13, the Federal Court here overturned the High Court decision ordering rectification of title to exclude native customary rights (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.

LCDA and the state government had argued that section 132 of the Sarawak Land Code protected the indefeasibility of the lease title even if it is shown that NCR had been created over the land they had alienated.

The court ordered the state government and the superintendent of the Land and Survey Department, Samarahan division, to pay the compensation.

Tuai Rumah Nyutan Jami and two other landowners, Gangak Guma and Langa Kama, filed the suit in 1997 after the plantation companies entered the three parcels of land and began clearing works for oil palm.

The provisional leases were issued in 1996. — DayakDaily