Hornbill Unleashed

July 31, 2013

More natives protest in Baram area

Filed under: Dams,Native Customary Rights — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Mustapha Ibrahim

Another group of villagers in Baram gathered to protest the Federal Court’s decision to uphold a Court of Appeal ruling to overturn a victory for natives over their right to NCR land.

Yet another group of Baram natives have protested against encroachment on their native customary rights lands (NCR). The latest protest comes days after a similar demonstration by another group of affected villagers in Long Panai, Tutoh.

Hundreds of villagers from native communities in Long Teran Kanan, Tinjar gathered last Saturday at an oil palm plantation operated by IOI Pelita Plantation Sdn Bhd.

The villagers were primarily protesting against the recent Federal Court decision dismissing the application by Lah Anyie and three others to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling which held that the indigenous communities of Long Teran Kanan, Tinjar have no NCR rights over two Provisional Leases (Pls) issued to IOI Pelita to develop an oil palm plantation.

The court had decided that the indigenous community of Long Teran Kanan have no NCR over the disputed area as it is within the Bok Tisam Protected Forest.

IOI Pelita is a joint venture between IOI, a company from Peninsular Malaysia and the Land Custody Development Authority (LCDA), a Sarawak government agency. LCDA issued the two PLs.

Lah Anyie and the three other claimants, who are representing the indigenous community of Long Teran Kanan, had in March 2010 won their case against IOI Pelita.

The Miri High Court ruled that the villagers had NCR rights over the two PL lots. IOI Pelita appealed the decision and the Court of Appeal later nullified the ruling.

The villagers then took the matter to Federal Court which later upheld the Court of Appeal ruling.

In a statement issued by Borneo Resources Institute of Malaysia (BRIMAS), its executive director Mark Bujang said the one day event was organized by the villagers of Long Teran Kanan to register their displeasure over the Federal Court’s decision.

“It was also to look at other possibilities to resolve their longstanding dispute and launch the next phase of their effort to win back their NCR Land.

“Even the land used as venue for the gathering is still under dispute between the villagers of Long Teran Kanan and IOI Pelita,” he said.

Apart from the villagers of Long Teran Kanan there were also others from the Suai/Niah area, Kuching and from at least eight longhouses in the Tinjar/Baram area.

Also present were human right lawyers, Harrison Ngau, Abun Sui Anyit (photo) and Rowland Engan as well as Sarawak Dayak Iban Association secretary general Nicolas Mujah, Romuald Siew president of the Sarawak Native Customary Rights Land Network (TAHABAS), Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) chief Philip Jau and chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) chairman Peter Kallang.

Bujang said the General Operations Force (GOF) were present to monitor the proceedings and the seven hour protest went without any disorderly incident.

Last week, on July 24, a group of natives in Long Panai, Tutoh gathered for a similat protest against Pusaka KTS Forests (PKTS) Plantation Sdn. Bhd.

They claimed the company had trespassed into their NCR land, involving an area of about 11,000 hectares with a population on approximately 1,000. Their case is pending.

1 Comment »

  1. If our brave and gutsy YB Masing wants to be the next CM, now is the right time to him to make his move! He has to side with the people against these land grabbers, be a true champion of the Dayaks and stop hiding the truths from the Natives!

    Comment by brian — July 31, 2013 @ 4:03 PM | Reply

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