Hornbill Unleashed

September 20, 2013

Court rules Penans free to move on their NCR lands

Cheerful landowners from Kampung Jambatan Suai together with their lawyers.

Ng Ai Fern

Cheerful landowners from Kampung Jambatan Suai together with their lawyers.

Some 150 Penan families can breathe a sigh of relief after a plantation company failed in its bid to restrain them from entering the native customary rights (NCR) land in Suai Niah.

High Court judge Stephen Chung Hian Guan, after a full trial, today quashed SPB Pelita Suai Sdn Bhd’s application to order the landowners to deliver and surrender vacant possession of the plantation area.

“This is the greatest news for the native Penans. They are relieved that they are the rightful owners and reassured of what they did in the past to defend their rights,” the community’s lawyer Abun Sui Anyit told fz.com.

The Penan community members had set up blockades to stop the company from entering their land at the start of the dispute but in June 2012, SPB Pelita Suai filed an interim injunction to restrain the natives from remaining on the land or engaging in any activity in the area.


The injunction was dismissed by the same judge with costs.


“Landowners should not be afraid to fight for their lands,” said the land rights lawyer. He further advised landowners entering any agreement or joint venture deal to engage lawyer to vet through every document carefully.


In this case, however, the landowners claimed that they had never seen any documents, and never signed any joint venture agreement with the company.


SPB Pelita Suai filed the application and named the defendants as Jadum Eken, Ugos Sugoon, Sidi Jirap, Jimmy Lematon, Johari Sulaiman, Zaini Jogi who are among 150 landowners from Kampung Jambutan Suai.


The defendants entered into a joint venture agreement with the state government to develop some 2,000 hectares of NCR land into the oil palm plantation in 1999.


In 2010 – 11 years after the inception of the plantation project – 80 of the NCR owners, led by the defendants, decided to pull out from the plantation project.


Dialogue sessions were held but some of the NCR owners decided to claim back their land due to many unfulfilled promises.


Failure to survey their individual parcel of NCR land as promised was only one of the many reasons they decided to take back their land.




  1. Putrajaya should set up a RM5 billion agriculture fund for all land owners in Sarawak to venture into farming under the supervision of foreign experts.

    Comment by Affendi Nawawi — September 20, 2013 @ 6:05 PM | Reply

  2. The fight against thieves must continue at all cost. NCR landowners must never bow to thieves and leaders who betrayed their trust and exploit their ignorance.

    Comment by Bidayuh Headmaster — September 20, 2013 @ 12:31 PM | Reply

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