Hornbill Unleashed

July 9, 2013

Rights of owners of NCR land on islands in Bakun recognised

Peter Sibon and James Ling @theborneopost

TO BE GAZETTED: A view of some of the islands in Bakun HEP Dam.

The government will safeguard the rights of the people in Belaga whose Native Customary Rights (NCR) land are affected by the move to gazette 18 islands in Bakun HEP dam.

The assurance came from Belaga assemblyman Liwan Lagang who said his office will welcome those who need assistance.

“If your NCR land is affected by the gazette, please come and see me,” said Liwan who is also Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage.

He added that it was not as if there was no law when the government intended to gazette the islands.

“The government decided to gazette the islands as we want to preserve them for the benefit of all the people affected by the Bakun Dam. But if the people still need, say for instance rattans for their handicrafts, they will still be allowed to collect them from the islands.

“But definitely these islands will not be allowed to be cultivated even if some people have NCR land there as it will defeat the purpose of having them as nationals parks,” Liwan pointed out.

He added that some of the islands would eventually be developed into eco-tourism areas so that the locals can venture into the tourism sector which they are now doing through the building of ‘jelatong’ (floating houses) near the islands in the dam.

On July 2, the government published ‘The Bakun Islands National Park Notification, 2013’ to gazette 18 islands in Bakun Dam in The Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo.

When contacted, Hulu Rajang MP Wilson Ugak said he agreed with Liwan and added that if necessary a committee should be formed to assist those whose NCR land are affected by the gazette.

Meanwhile, local lawyer cum NCR land activist in Kapit and Belaga Abun Sui Anyit said the government should directly inform NCR land owners its move to gazette the islands reasoning that it was not sufficient to merely publish the gazette notice in newspapers.

Although agreeing that publishing the notice was correct, he said many of the affected people would not know about it because they might have missed reading it.

“I’m worried these people are not aware of this notice,” Abun said in Kapit yesterday.

Abun urged the government to send officers to the longhouses in Bakun to explain to the affected people its plan.

On the notice, Abun noted that it did not state the full address for the people to submit their claims, which he feared would confuse postmen.

“The people can’t deliver the applications by hand because it would be costly.”

Abun also offered to help those who might need his assistance.



  1. Sounds good but not really good. Owning an island in a lake is not good. I don’t think the minister or CM wants to own an island in a lake, not natural but man made lake. Is the island suitable for farming or home? unlikely.

    Comment by robinhood — July 9, 2013 @ 8:46 PM | Reply

    • But still turning those NCR islands into national park is depriving the people of their lands. Is the YB talking about one off compensation here or rental income for those owners of the NCR land?

      And I do not agree with you that CM and his ministers aren’t tempted to own one or two of those islands. And why do you say owning an island in a lake is not good?

      Comment by brian — July 10, 2013 @ 11:04 AM | Reply

  2. NGOs and lawyers should study the implication of the gazette and must institute legal action against the corrupted regime led by the thief minister Taib Mahmud.

    Comment by Bidayuh Headmaster — July 9, 2013 @ 8:14 PM | Reply

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