Sarawak’s Land Development Minister James Masing told a sessions court in Kuala Lumpur today that there was a mistake in a letter dated April 2009 by his ministry in awarding Native Customary Rights land to two local companies instead of to conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd.
The two local companies were Nature Ambience Sdn Bhd and Vertical Drive Sdn Bhd, which are allegedly owned by Sarawak businessman Chew Chiaw Ann. The land in question measured approximately 50,000 hectares.
Masing, the third witness in the trial of former Sime Darby chief executive officer Ahmad Zubair @ Ahmad Zubir Murshid (centre in photo), who is charged with criminal breach of trust, admitted that he only discovered the mistake this year, following the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigations. (more…)
The directive from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to mills in the Sarawak not to accept fresh oil palm bunches (FFB) from smallholders, especially those from estates in dispute, will cause thousands of native landowners to suffer heavy financial losses.
“The losses can run into the millions of ringgit that these helpless farmers have invested in their lands,” Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas) executive director Mark Bujang said today.
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of oil palm estates are now in dispute between native landowners and joint-venture companies that are taking them over. (more…)
Some villagers in Kampong Lebor Serian are crying foul over Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s decision to suspend their smallholder farmers’ licence to sell oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB).
According to one of the land owners, Jengga Jeli, on July 26 this year, he received a showcause letter from MPOB demanding an explanation why his smallerholder farmers’ licence should not be suspended or revoked for allegedly stealing FFB from a joint-venture (JV) company, TH Pelita.
The villagers of Kampung Lebor had won their case at the Kuching High Court and, subsequently, at the Court of Appeal that the disputed NCR land belonged to Kampung Lebor villagers. (more…)
An Orang Asal think tank, the Dayak Informal Group (DIG), has taken the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office to task for dismissing its concern over an alleged marginalisation of the community in certain departments and agencies.
Richard Lias, a DIG spokesperson, said that the denial made by the Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman (pic) was not enough to put the issue to rest.
“Instead, the government must be transparent by providing the facts to counter the allegation and prove its sincerity and honesty. (more…)
The judgment delivered by Justice Stephen Chung in a packed courtroom on Friday Aug 8 at the Bintulu High Court was received with mixed feelings by the people of Long Bangan in the district of Belaga. They consider the judgment as ‘head we get but the body from waist to toes was severed’ and given to aliens.
The judge held that only the cultivated land also known as ‘temuda’ created before Jan 1, 1958, which the plaintiffs had successfully proven, can constitute native customary rights (NCR) land. Although the judge did not specifically mention that pulau galau (reserved forest) and pemakai menoa(longhouse territorial domain) did not form an integral part of NCR land, he omitted discussing the issue. (more…)
Chief Minister Adenan Satem should sack his legal adviser for ill-advising him into making an erroneous statement in the legislature that ‘pemakai menua’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ are not part of the native customary rights (NCR) land, says Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson Baru Bian.
The legal adviser should be changed as he is the problem, Baru added, without naming the person.
During the winding-up speech at the legislature, Adenan had said that the assertion by Ba’Kelalan assemblyman (Baru Bian) that the Federal Court had decided that ‘pemakai menua; and ‘pulau galau’ is NCR land was completely unfounded and baseless. (more…)
NCR lawyer Baru Bian is also seeking to include tribe-specific terminologies on land matters in the proposed Land Code Amendment Bill.
PKR Sarawak will table a bill in next month’s Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting for amendments to the state Land Code to include all native terminologies, and not only those of the Ibans.
“I am proposing these amendments because different ethnic groups use different terminologies, although the concepts are the same.
“In what was confirmed by the code in the highest levels, these terminologies are very familiar. That’s why we suggested these amendments,” Baru said. (more…)
The Dayak Bidayuh National Association has completed land documentation in more than 50 villages and its now left to Chief Minister Adenan Satem to keep to his word.
Sarawak’s Bidayuh community want what is rightfully theirs and are no longer willing to listen to their leaders telling them ‘not to go against the government’.
Bidayuh villagers who were promised native customary rights land titles are anxiously waiting for the day when they will receive it.
The wait, according to Mas Gading PKR chairman Boniface Willy Tumek, has been long. (more…)
The amendment will allow NCR land anywhere in the state to be bought or sold to any native group.
Sarawak government intends to amend the State land code to allow sale and purchase of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land among the natives regardless of where these lands are located.
Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the Land Code Amendment Bill will be tabled for approval in the State Assembly sitting in November this year.
“The amendment to the land code would enable the natives to buy any NCR land in any place in the state because if we limit the sale and purchase of NCR land only to members of natives in particular place or longhouse, the value of the land is almost valueless,” the chief minister told a press conference at his office here today. (more…)
Borneo Resource Institute said although NCR was recognised by the state government under the Sarawak Land Code, there were weaknesses in the definition of terms.
The continuous conflicts over land in the state is because of the vague and weak definition of native customary rights (NCR) and the Sarawak Land Code, said Borneo Resource Institute (Brimas).
According to Brimas executive director Mark Bujang, this is also the reason why more than 300 NCR land related cases are pending in court. (more…)
It has not been easy for the Baram villagers but they are determined to continue the protest to halt the construction of the Baram Dam.
(Jan 30) is the 100th day of their protest and they are staying put at the sites where they had mounted two blockades. The blockades were first erected on Oct 23 last year, just as a key meeting was held in Geneva to discuss Malaysia’s human rights record where UN member states had urged Putrajaya to respect the rights of the natives.
Vowing to protect their ancestral lands from the construction of the proposed RM4bil hydroelectric dam in Ulu Baram, hundreds of villagers have, on rotation basis, manned the two blockade sites – KM15 and Long Lama for the past 99 days with only one common objective in mind – stop Baram Dam. (more…)
A special court has to be set up immediately to solve the dilemma Dayak landowners face over the grabbing of their native customary rights (NCR) land by the Sarawak government, Sarawak PKR said today.
NCR land cases have increased alarmingly every year as a result of disputes between native land owners and the state government, PKR Lubok Antu Division chairperson Nicholas Bawin said.
“Up to now, there are more than 400 NCR land cases pending hearing in the High Court and more are coming as the landowners have no way to settle their disputes with the government, other than through the court. (more…)
The crowd at Padang Merdeka in Kuching today, to protest the Sarawak state government’s acquisition of customary lands.
Hundreds of Sarawak native customary rights (NCR) landowners staged rallies across Sarawak today to protest the state government’s alleged forced acquisition of their land.
They also demanded that the BN-led government respect their rights to determine how their land should be developed.
The demonstrations in conjunction with Human Rights Day today were held in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and also in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. (more…)
Today is Human Rights Day and it is on this date that in 1950 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.
In the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland last October on which Malaysia was under review, the Malaysian Government in its opening speech declared its commitment to the protection and promotion of Human Rights in the country. (more…)
The state government’s perimeter survey exercise of native customary rights (NCR) land will only be carried out on temuda (farmed land).
Confirming this, Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem told the Assembly that he was aware of complaints by some quarters against this.
“That is true and it is consistent with the decision of the Federal Court that only land which has been cultivated and occupied continuously is NCR land. (more…)
PKR’s See Chee How said there is a dispute between landowners and the two companies. 17 of the 18 villages have filed their case at the Kuching High Court.
One of the two logging companies in dispute with native customary rights (NCR) land owners over log extractions has been ordered by the Sarawak government to stop operations.
The company is alleged to have engaged thugs and gangsters to settle the disputes, but the suspension was for flouting the Forest Department’s guidelines and procedures on extracting timber. (more…)
The Borneo Post
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How has called on Serian district police chief DSP Mohd Jamali Umi to enlighten the public on the progress of police investigation into the police report lodged by Rosni Langap on March 15.
Besides that, Mohd Jamali was also asked to update the public on the seizure of a considerable stock of firearm and dangerous weapons at the workers’ quarters of the plantation company in Melikin on Sept 30 and actions taken so far. (more…)
Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat claimed today that state legal consultant JC Fong, who represented the state at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights in general last week, had misled the UN on the status of native customary rights (NCR) land and issues related to it.
“It is embarrassing to Sarawak and the country and as such, Fong should be removed as the state consultant,” Sarawak PKR chairperson Baru Bian said.
“If Fong’s statement is accurate as reported, I am appalled at his blatant attempt to mislead the UN on the situation our indigenous people are facing in Sarawak. (more…)
Ng Ai Fern
One of the iconic bamboo bridges leading to the villages in the Bengoh range. It takes up to four hours on foot and crossing many bamboo bridges to reach Kampung Rejoi, one of the four villages affected by Bengoh dam.
The letter to the villagers informing them that their lands been gazetted as national park.
Villagers affected by the Bengoh reservoir dam some 40km from here are crying foul over the state government’s decision to gazette their ancestral land, which was located within the dam area, as national park. (more…)
Ng Ai Fern
Some 22 Iban landowners emerged victorious after the Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s decision and affirmed their native customary rights over 3,000 acres of land in Niah.
Appeal judges Datuk Abdul Wahad Patail, Datuk Wira Mohtarudin Baki and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai on Tuesday ruled in favour of the plaintiffs from Rumah Meringai, Sungei Lembong Suai in Miri, Sarawak, with costs and damages.
The landowners had filed two cases; the first against Fung Tai Sdn Bhd, Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), Miri Superintendent of Lands & Surveys and the Sarawak state government over the matter. (more…)
“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter,” said Winston Churchill the writer, war-time leader and unreconstructed elitist.
I have subjected many rural voters to my rambling conversations in the past. Most of these discussions would be parochial, involving concerns about local issues. You can imagine it would be difficult to hold a conversation about world current affairs, if you had little access to newspapers, and none to the internet.
One such memorable discussion was with a group of friends, members of a village development and security committee in one of the poorest parts of Sarawak. They had lodged police reports against their ketua kaum or village chief, accusing him of corruption. (more…)
Dayaks should take a page from the works of the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal which deals with native Maori land claims, says a former Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Daniel Tajem has called for an urgent meeting of all Dayak elders, academicians and native organisations to examine the adat or custom on native customary rights (NCR) land which is prohibitive to the community’s socio-economic development.
His call comes in the wake of the recent contentious ruling by the country’s highest court.
“We cannot override or set aside the decision of the highest court in the country, but what we can do is to examine our adat within the context of development and commercialization and to initiate some changes,” he said. (more…)
The notice issued last week on the acquisition of 4,000 hectares. August 6, 2013.Sarawak will acquire some 4,000 hectares for the Baram hydroelectric project today after issuing a notice last week, although the proposed dam has not yet been assessed or approved, say locals.
A legal “direction” published in the Borneo Post last Friday said an area of 4090.8 hectares was “required for public purposes, namely for the development of a hydroelectric dam” and that all native customary rights over the area would be extinguished.
It said compensation would be offered for the native customary land. (more…)
The Dayak community, especially the Ibans, is told to welcome a Federal Court decision which recognises the existence of NCR land.
A former president of the Sarawak Council of Native Customary Laws has taken Dayak leaders with ‘hidden agendas’ to task for the furore over a federal court ruling disallowing the transfer by sales and purchase agreements of native customary land.
Sidi Munan said the Dayak community, especially the Ibans, should instead welcome the court decision which recognises the existence of NCR land
“We should be thankful to the Federal Court for finally recognizing our native customary rights over land. (more…)
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.
The Court of Appeal’s decision has far reaching effects on more than 200 NCR land cases which are now pending hearing before the High Court.
The Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold a ruling that the pemakai menoa (territorial domain) is part of the native customary rights (NCR) land, is not only a victory of NCR land owners in Sarawak but it also strengthens the political belief and reputation of the opposition especially PKR.
The court dismissed an appeal by the Sarawak government against the earlier judgment of Justice Yew Jen Kie. (more…)
Civil servants in Sarawak are being compelled by their political masters to risk contempt of court when summoned as witnesses in native customary rights (NCR) land cases.
PKR electoral candidate for Hulu Rajang Abun Sui Anyit (left), and DAP Piasau state assemblyperson Alan Ling Sie Kiong, told Malaysiakini that Joseph Belayong Punan, the Baram District Officer, failed to attend a court hearing last week, in an NCR case filed by members of the Berawan community of Long Terawan, Mulu.
“Mr Joseph Belayong stated in his letter (to the court) he is still waiting endorsement from the State Secretary to attend the court trial as a witness.” said Abun Sui, lawyer for the Long Terawan plaintiffs. (more…)
A High Court ruling here has ruled that native customary rights (NCR) land includes pulau galau and pemakai menua,but the state government uses Section 6 of the land code to mislead natives.
Land Development Minister James Masing has been accused of “misleading” native customary rights (NCR) land owners.
Instead of ensuring that the perimeter survey, promised by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is carried out in all NCR lands including longhouse forest reserve (pulau galau) and territorial domain (pemakai menua), Masing’s saying that the demarcations will be done on farmland (temuda) and old longhouse sites (tembawai). (more…)
Churchill Edward, @theborneopost.com
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing yesterday hit out at the opposition for harping on issues over perimeter survey on native customary rights (NCR) land.
The Baleh assemblyman said the opposition will be bankrupt of ideas if land issue is taken away from their political means to bring down the government of the day.
Masing said the opposition knew very well that land issue is sensitive and by twisting the fact they were hoping to make the people become emotional and irrational.
“They (opposition) just want to look relevant. They can’t allow NCR land issue to die a natural death because they will too die a natural death,” the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president told The Borneo Post yesterday. (more…)
“The construction work on this new school is still under way, but the project may be abandoned should the people choose not to vote for BN,” Telang Usan assemblyperson Dennis Ngau, of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the dominant party in Sarawak BN, told local daily Borneo Post on April 30.
Dennis Ngau said this when was campaigning for Anyi Ngau, BN’s parliamentary candidate for Baram. These two Ngaus have no blood ties and the state seat of Telang Usan falls under the Baram constituency.According to the Borneo Post, a BN mouthpiece, development in the deprived Baram district may be “abandoned” if PKR wins Sunday’s general election. (more…)
Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Awang Tengah’s recent accusations against Pakatan Rakyat are “shallow” and “irresponsible”.
Sarawak DAP and PKR have lodged police reports against Senior Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, accusing him sedition.
Awang Tengah had reportedly said that if Pakatan Rakyat came into power, they would introduce a “Malaysian Malaysia” concept which “abolishes the right to NCR ownerships”. (more…)
“Our battle is not just for the orang kampung (villagers). We’re doing this for all the people, all anak Sarawak.”
Rosni anak Langap (left), 53, wife of the elderly Native Customary Rights (NCR) activist Surik Anak Muntai, told Malaysiakini this, as she cared for her badly injured husband at Sarawak Hospital.
Surik, 66, was savagely attacked on March 15 by a gang of four men, using machetes and clubs. Surik has identified one of the assailants as an “executive” of an oil palm plantation firm vying with local Iban villagers for 7,300 ha of land – a quarter of the area of Penang Island. (more…)
Iban native customary rights (NCR) defender Surik anak Muntai, 66, has expressed his anger and concern that the oil palm “company executive” he identified to police as one of his assailants has been freed on police bail, after three days in remand.
Surik, a farmer from Melikin in Serian, suffered horrific injuries on his right forearm and both knees as a result of a ruthless assault by four men on March 15.
Serian police have declared that police are unable to identify any of his assailants. District police chief DSP Mohd Jamali Umi told local daily The Borneo Post on March 21 that the four attackers wore masks and Surik could not identify them. (more…)
See Chee How
Video Link I am appalled by the statement made by the Serian police chief DSP Mohd Jamali Umi to the press, appearing in a local English daily yesterday, when he was asked to comment on the brutal assault of 66-years old Iban farmer Surik Anak Muntai.
The Serian police chief was quoted as saying that as the 4 attackers were wearing masks during the assault, neither the victim nor the witness could identify them. He further stated: “The victim does not know the attackers. He could not identify them …”
These statements are a far cry from the recorded statements and testimonies given to the police by Surik Anak Muntai and his wife Rosni Anak Langap. (more…)
Payment thanks to James Masing? This was nothing more than a BN election bribe funded by the taxpayer
The pained expressions of these poor landowners from Beluru say it all.
The Borneo Post described them as an “elated lot” as they were forced yesterday to parade before the cameras holding up monster cheques promoting ‘dividends’ from their oil palm ‘joint venture’.
In fact their shame and humiliation is plain for all to see.
The only person looking ‘elated’ is the grinning Minister for Land Grabbing, James Masing, who was behind this outdated election stunt. (more…)
An native customary rights lawyer in Sarawak has accused the Selangau police and a Sarawak Administrative Officer of abusing their power in remanding two siblings.
Two native customary rights (NCR) land activists, were not only arrested for lodging a report against a company for illegally logging on their NCR land but also denied proper court procedures.
Matek anak Geram, aged 40, and his brother Tambi, 60, who are members of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) were arrested last Sunday, and on Monday they were produced before a Sarawak Administrative Officer (SAO) who sat in as a magistrate. (more…)
The Sarawak government’s joint venture agreements with native customary land rights owners is lopsided and only benefits plantation companies, claims DAP.
Seventy Selakau families in Kampung Kendaie in Lundu, some 150km from here, have claimed that they have been cheated of their lands. The families participated in a joint venture agreement with Rimbunan Hijau oil plantation company and state government agency, Land Custody Development Authority (LCDA).
Revealing this, Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said: “In the course of the joint venture arrangement, the people have suffered triple whammy (exploited three times). (more…)
The construction of the RM40 million road connecting Ba Kelalan to Bario in Sarawak, at the cost of an essential water catchment area has angered local villagers.
KUCHING: Angry villagers in Ba’Kelalan have threatened the Malaysian Royal Army Engineers Regiment with a court injunction if they persist in building the Ba’kelalan-Bario road.
“If need be, we will apply for a court injunction to stop the army contractors from proceeding with the road construction,” said Baru Bian, a lawyer and Ba’Kelalan assemblyman. (more…)
This guidebook is SACCESS’s first attempt to better inform and prepare Native Customary Rights (NCR) landowners in Sarawak who want to use the Malaysian civil courts to seek declaration of their lawful rights over their NCR Lands.
Practical information for communities on resorting to the court process (Civil Litigation) to reclaim Native Customary Rights (NCR) Lands
Baru Bian denounces the government for restricting the definition of native customary rights land.
Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian has denounced the state government for its refusal to recognise “pulau galau” (communal forest) and “pemakai menua” (territorial domain) as native customary rights land (NCR), saying it cheats tens of thousands of landowners of their rights.
“Pulau gawau” translates as “communal forests” and “pemakai menua” as “territorial domains”. (more…)
~ The Borneo Post
Are ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ part of NCR land?
THERE is no clear indication yet whether the ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ are recognised as part of the native customary rights (NCR) land in the parameter survey initiative.
When raising the issue at the assembly sitting yesterday Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian was told by Deputy Chief Minister that the condition in which NCR could be claimed by NCR landowners was clearly contained under the provision of the Land Code. (more…)
Native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer See Chee How is still in shock over a Molotov cocktail that was thrown into his house.
Death threats and gangsterism is an occupational hazard for certain folks in Sarawak and lawyers who put their neck out to help locals with issues over their native customary rights (NCR) land are no exception.
NCR issues are a major problem in Sarawak where indiscriminate issuance of Provisional Leases (PLs) by state authorities to plantation companies, deforestation and displaced indigenous communities are a daily threat. (more…)
5 native Iban farmers were this morning charged in the Magistrates Court in Serian this morning.
Village Headman Nyalu Anak Tampa, together with 2 other farmers Sanjan Anak Ambol and Samad Anak Junna, were jointly charged under section 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt to Andrew Wong King Kiat, an administrative executive of United Teamtrade Sdn Bhd, a company issued with a provisional lease for 73,000 ha oil plam plantation over the land of which the 3 accused claimed are NCR land of Kampung Danau Melikin and 22 other Iban native communities in the area. (more…)
Hilary Chiew – Malaysiakini
Hilary Chiew, the author of the report ‘Against their will’ which was published on Oct 6, 2008, described the out-of-court settlement between The Star and Samling as disconcerting to the profession of journalism.A former journalist with The Star who wrote about incidents of rape of Penan girls and women in Sarawak has expressed disgust with the English daily for apologising to logging giant Samling over the issue without consulting her.
“Notwithstanding the fact that I had left The Star in early 2010, it is regrettable that The Star did not see it fit to keep me informed of its decision.
“I have never, at any point in time, been informed nor consulted about the negotiations for the out-of-court settlement,” Chiew said. (more…)
Survey native customary rights land under Section 18 of Land Code.
Opposition PKR wants the state government to survey native customary rights throughout Sarawak under Section 18 of the Land Code and not under Section 6.
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said the people wanted individual titles issued on the native customary rights lands surveyed.
“In my area of Lawas, the people have been asking the Land and survey Department to survey their native customary right land and then issue titles individually. (more…)
A senior Sarawak native customary rights (NCR) lawyer has hailed a decision by the apex court of Malaysia on an NCR matter as a much needed victory.
The fight for recognition of native customary rights (NCR) on land received a shot in the arm following the federal court’s decision on Balare Jabu and others against timber company Merawa Sdn Bhd .
Hailing the decision, NCR lawyer Baru Bian said it was “another victory” in their legal battle for the claims and defence of NCR cases in Sarawak. (more…)
Hundreds of Penans reportedly staged a blockade against the controversial Murum dam project on Wednesday, said a Sarawak NGO.
“The Penans set up the blockade on the access road to the dam at Seping River Bridge, about 40km from the Murum HEP dam project site.
“At least 200 Penans are at the blockade site carrying placards and banners bearing slogan ‘We Want Justice’, ‘We Demands Our Rights’, ‘Stop Murum Dam’, ‘Sarawak Energy (SEB) No Entry’. (more…)