Hornbill Unleashed

September 8, 2012

Native revolts: Sarawak Land & Survey Dept blamed

Joseph Tawie

The state Land and Survey Department’s poor enforcement of the conditions listed in the PLs is the main reason why natives are suing the government.

Sarawak Land and Survey Department which issues provisional leases (PLs) over hundreds of thousand of hectares of native customary rights (NCR) land to oil palm companies is being blamed for the troubles and hardship suffered by native landowners.

A former district officer Edward Luak, said the department’s failure in enforcing the terms of PLs has made people angry.

Luak said that when the department issued the PLs there are three conditions attached to it. (more…)


September 7, 2012

Jabu, be warned: ‘We’ll get you’

Joseph Tawie

There is no law against telling the truth and questioning the government’s actions, Sarawak PKR reminds Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu.

When Pakatan Rakyat forms the next government it will investigate all disputed alienation of lands and abuses of power in approving provisional leases over native customary rights (NCR) land to the cronies and family members of Barisan Nasional leaders.

“Definitely, the investigation will also cover provisional leases over NCR land given to [Deputy Chief Minister] Alfred Jabu, his family and cronies,” said Baru Bian, state PKR chief.

Bian did not identify the areas given to Jabu’s family members and his cronies. (more…)

Natives sue oil palm companies

Joseph Tawie

Loyal native landowners in Serian who have been voting in their BN representatives polls after polls are revolting against land grabs.

Two oil palm companies – United Teamtrade Sdn Bhd and Memaju Jaya Sdn Bhd – which are allegedly linked to local Barisan Nasional leaders are being sued by more than 300 villagers from 17 longhouses from Melikin in Serian District for allegedly encroaching into their native customary rights (NCR) land.

The suit was filed today by See Chee How, a lawyer of Messrs Baru Bian and Advocates at the Kuching High Court. (more…)

September 6, 2012

Absence Of Leadership – YB Snowdan Lawan Dared Not Face Melikin Protestors!

Sarawak Report

Windows closed shut, air-con on, Lawan ignores his outraged voters as he speeds off from Serian

With his constituents in revolt over the theft of their lands and destruction of their bridge by loggers, State Assemblyman Snowdan Lawan made an obligatory visit to Balai Ringen yesterday.

But, he then hid in the police station and refused to come out and speak to the protestors outside!

“There were at least 200 people waiting to hear what he had to say about this company United Teamtrade, which has been causing all this trouble” said one onlooker, “but he just kept them waiting in the hot sun outside the police station, while he enjoyed coffee in the air-conditioned room inside”. (more…)

August 20, 2012

Policeman warns villagers: “I’ll arrest you all”

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:02 AM
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Pak Bui

A late night police raid on August 12 in Serian, Sarawak, against Iban villagers fighting oil palm companies over Native Customary Rights (NCR) to land, led to no charges being brought, let alone convictions.

But the arrests produced a comical standoff at the Serian police station, when five arrested Iban villagers were released on August 15.

Some 200 Iban men and women had converged peacefully on the Serian police station on Wednesday, when the remand order on the five men was due to expire. (more…)

July 28, 2012

Don’t be misled by Abang Johari’s announcement, warns Baru Bian

Sematong Express

The announcement by Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg on Monday that two longhouses will be issues with strata titles this year has aroused Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian’s curiosity since he has had a long standing interest in matters concerning NCR land and the issuance of titles for such land.

“Much as I welcome any move to secure the interests of the NCR landowners, there are some questions about this latest development that need to be answered so that all parties are clear on the purpose and the actual benefits and practicality of this exercise,” Baru, the State Assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, said in a statement today. (more…)

July 7, 2012

Guns, threats won’t scare us, say natives

Joseph Tawie

If the government continues to remain aloof from clashes between natives and oil palm companies, then it should be prepared for a bloodbath.

Despite two attempts on his life by workers allegedly from Palm Raya Pelita, Semawi Anak Renang will not be intimidated in defending his native customary rights (NCR) land and that of 25 other families.

Instead the threats against him and the other landowners of Rumah Randi, Selangau, have made them more determined than ever to defend their 3,000 hectares of land.

The landowners claimed that the Palm Raya Pelita oil palm plantation is owned by Tiong King Sing, the MP for Bintulu. Tiong is also the deputy president of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and one Peter Hii. (more…)

July 3, 2012

300 natives rally for their land

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Luke Rintod

Angry land-grab victims of the Rungus, Kimaragang, Sonsogon and Sungei tribes in northern Sabah have pledged to defend their NCR lands to the death.

More than 300 angry natives in the northern parts of Sabah staged a peaceful but powerful rally protesting against the prevalent land grabs in Kudat, Pitas, Kota Marudu and parts of Beluran.

They claimed the land grabs, some of which they alleged were backed by politicians from the ruling party, had resulted in bitter experiences for thousands of them.

Many of these natives are displaced and squatting in nearby villages as well as awaiting court orders obtained by big companies with political links. (more…)

June 21, 2012

Bengoh natives, MP furious over logging activities

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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The Sarawak Forestry Department issued logging licences to BN cronies for land earmarked for resettlement of natives affected by the construction of the Bengoh Dam.

KUCHING: Two timber licences issued by the State Forestry Department have put a spoke in the state’s scheduled timeline to complete Bengoh Dam.

The licences were issued to leaders in Taib Mahmud-led Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) and to the cronies of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president William Mawan Ikom.

The land area in question was earmarked for the relocation of native settlers affected by the Bengoh Dam. (more…)

May 11, 2012

Court rulings strengthen native rights on NCR

Joseph Tawie

Recent court rulings favouring natives in NCR land issues should be seen as a warning to potential investors.

The recent court victories of native customary rights (NCR) landowners against oil palm companies should serve as important lessons and precedents to would-be investors.

NCR lawyer See Chee How said oil palm companies can no longer bully landowners simply because the state government refuses to respect the people’s rights. (more…)

March 26, 2012

Villagers shocked at ‘sudden’ loss of NCR rights

Joseph Tawie

Bruno Manser Fund accuses SEB CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit of ‘deliberately misleading’ the public with regards to the construction of the 12 dams in the state.

The natives of Baram, affected by the construction of the Baram dam, are claiming that they were not aware of the extinguishment of their native customary rights (NCR) over their land.

Accusing the government of surreptitiously implementing its contentious plans to build the dam, they said that they were unaware that the government had begun extinguishing such rights since last June. (more…)

February 11, 2012

What’s govt stand on NCR land?

Joseph Tawie

The Sarawak administration which is projecting itself to be a caring government must first state its stand on the definition of NCR.

The opposition here wants Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to openly declare that the state accepts and recognises the court’s definition of native customary rights (NCR) land.

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said that regular coverage in the press of Barisan Nasional politicians rejoicing with landowners at “presentation ceremonies” gave the impression that the state government recognised the “pemakai menua” (communal forests) and “pulau galau” (territorial domain) forests as part and parcel of NCR land as defined by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. (more…)

January 31, 2012

More natives reporting ‘land grabs’

Joseph Tawie

Within the next ’10 years or less’ several thousand natives in Sarawak are likely to end up being landless vagrants if the current government’s policies continue.

Alleged land grabs involving native customary rights (NCR) properties by the Taib Mahmud-led government is reaching such “chronic” proportions that “in 10 years or less” there will be no native-owned areas, claims a prominent Sarawak NCR lawyer.

According to Baru Bian, an increasing number of cases of NCR land grabs are being reported from as far interior as Lawas in the north and Lundu in the south of Sarawak.

“From Lawas to Lundu, the NCR lands have been grabbed by the state Barisan Nasional government. (more…)

January 30, 2012

Fundraisers help villagers install own mini hydro units

Yaltam Phui Yee

Visiting … the housewives pose at a construction site of a wooden home at Kampung Nyukol. Photos courtesy of SB Lim.

A group of concerned individuals are raising RM40,000 to install mini hydroelectric units to power up two new villages deep in the forests of Ulu Bengoh — a 45-minute drive away from Kuching, Sarawak.

The villagers have to move out of their ancestral homes in Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Bujong/Pain to make way for the RM310 million Bengoh Dam project.

Located at higher grounds, Kampung Nyukol and Kampung Sting will be the new homes, respectively, for 27 Bidayuh families of Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Bujong. They turned down the government’s resettlement offer and some filed a lawsuit to claim their native customary rights (NCR) over the land.

The villagers stood their ground despite the expected impoundment this year. Their ancestral graves are still within the area to be filled by water from the dam. (more…)

January 26, 2012

Court victories herald change in Sarawak

Keruah Usit

Sarawak natives have jammed another wrench into the land acquisition machine of plantation companies with close ties to Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib is the state minister responsible for land, and is under investigation by several foreign governments, as well as (ostensibly) by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, for alleged graft.

Tua Kampung Nyipa Anak Tingang, representing his longhouse of 30 doors in Sebauh, 25km from Bintulu, has notched up another significant victory against state-sponsored plantation tycoons, in the campaign for native customary rights (NCR) land.

On Jan 20, Nyipa won a court injunction against Pusaka KTS, a forest plantation giant with vast interests in Bintulu, Belaga and Baram. (more…)

January 25, 2012

Long house residents get injunction to stop timber extraction

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Sulok Tawie

The High Court here has granted an interim injunction to restrain a timber company from encroaching into native customary rights (NCR) land claimed by long house residents in the Bintulu Division.

Judge Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang granted the injunction after an ex-parte hearing in chambers following an application submitted by counsel for the long house residents See Chee How, last Friday afternoon.

The full hearing of the application is scheduled to be held at the Bintulu High Court on Jan 30.

Village headman Nyipa anak Tingang of Kuala Pandan, Sebauh in Bintulu, representing himself and 63 other residents, claimed that they are the proprietors, occupiers, holders and claimants of the land surrounding Ulu Sungai Kakus and Ulu Sungai Merirai.

He named Pustaka KTS Forests Plantation Sdn Bhd, Sarawak Forestry Corporation, director of Forests Sarawak, Superintendent of Lands and Surveys of Bintulu and Sarawak state government as first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively. (more…)

NCR landowners warn govt: Withdraw leases or else…

Joseph Tawie

Angry Iban landowners from Balai Ringin are demanding that Land and Survey Department director Sazali Kipli withdraw the provisional leases (PLs) on native customary rights (NCR) land.

The PLs on these lands have been awarded to a number of private companies.

Some 50 landowners expressed their dissatisfaction to Sazali recently and demanded that the government withdrwa the PLs or face the consequences.

“We are giving the department 30 days starting from Jan 17 to withdraw the PLs, failing which we will come again to express our displeasure.

“The next time we will come in a bigger group,” said Augustine Bagat, the group’s spokesman. (more…)

December 8, 2011

Cheated natives to sue Taib

Joseph Tawie

All four joint-venture projects with Sarawak native landowners have failed .

About 500 native landowners have accused Chief Minister Taib Mahmud of cheating them.

The landowners had taken part in four of Pelita (Land Custody Development Authority) joint-venture companies modelled on a new native customary right (NCR) land development concept which was conceived by Taib.

The landowners claimed that they were cheated by the companies of their dividends.

Revealing this at a Press conference, lawyer Baru Bian, who is also Sarawak PKR chief, said that the native landowners are now seeking legal recourse to reclaim their land and money. (more…)

November 22, 2011

RM3.47mil insufficient to solve Sarawak poverty

Joseph Tawie

An opposition assemblyman has called on the Sarawak government to allow NCR landowners to register a business.

The estimated RM3.47 million allocated by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional government – under the state’s 2012 budget – to resolve the issue of hardcore rural poverty in the state is simply not enough, said Krian assemblyman Ali Biju.

Describing the majority rural Dayaks as living from ‘hand-to-mouth’, Biju said: “The allocation of RM3,466,717 in the state 2012 budget for rural development is grossly insufficient as the majority of the hardcore from the Iban and Bidayuh communities are still living from hand to mouth.

“Dr Jeniri Amir (a senior lecturer with University Malaysia Sabah) observed that if one pays a visit to any rural Iban longhouse, one can see their sad living conditions of dilapidated walls, roof and flooring. (more…)

November 8, 2011

Films and Freedom

Pak Bui

The Freedom Film Fest received an enthusiasic welcome when it came to Kuching and Miri during the last weekend of October.

This is the fourth year this excellent film festival has come to Sarawak, showing challenging films about human rights, politics and democracy, sexuality, religion, indigenous people’s issues and society – far more intriguing films than the standard commercial drivel in our cineplexes.

The five films screened were free, in more sense than one. The festival was open to all Sarawakians, and all were welcome, with only a collection box going around.

The crowd in Kuching were mostly young, bubbly and courteous. There were around 300 people packed into the narrow conference room at the Harbour View Hotel. (more…)

October 13, 2011

Salcra leads natives into bankruptcy

Joseph Tawie

Owners of native customary rights (NCR) land who joined the Sarawak’s Felda-styled schemes are crying foul.

Native landowners in Bau district who joined the government-linked Sarawak Land Custody and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) scheme hoping for financial success may now have to declare themselves bankrupt.

According to Sarawak PKR, the poorly managed Salcra schemes have not only deprived the landowners of an income but has plunged them further into debts.

State PKR official Boniface Willy Anak Tumek said: “Instead of receiving a reasonable amount of dividends, the Salcra scheme participants in the Jagoi estate in Bau collectively owe the authority at least RM5 million. (more…)

October 6, 2011

Press Statement from residents of Kampung Wawasan

Borneo Independent News Service

We, the residents of Kampung Wawasan, Suai, Niah, Miri Division, Sarawak wish to appeal to the Sarawak State Government to urgently take the necessary action to exclude all the land which we have occupied and cultivated from the provisional lease issued to the company, Mega Jutamas Sdn. Bhd., over the area known as Lot 95 Sawai Land District for the establishment of an oil palm plantation thereon.

The said company, Mega Jutamas Sdn. Bhd. is owned by a few shareholders who are already “multi-millionaires” and who also owned other companies which have already been given thousands of hectares of State land by the Sarawak Government for loggings and oil palm plantations in various places in Sarawak including in Niah and Suai areas. For these few individual “multi-millionaires” they only need the land in Lot 95 to make additional business and profits.

But for us, this land is our only land on which we and our family members have built our houses and which we have cultivated productively with food and cash crops. Therefore, this land is our only shelter, source of food and income. (more…)

Changing the world, one film at a time

Keruah Usit

The camerawork was admittedly shaky, but a short documentary called ‘Ulu Bengoh Darom Piin‘ (or ‘Upper Bengoh, underwater’ in one of the Bidayuh languages) that premiered at the Freedom Film Fest on Oct 2, was quite an eye-opener.

Joachim Leong, fresh from law school, recently led a team of young urban film-makers to four rural Bidayuh villages up in the mountains of Bengoh, Sarawak, 45 minutes’ drive from the cineplexes and Starbuckses of Kuching.

They were curious: why did many villagers in the area, forced to resettle by the Bengoh dam built last year, return the incumbent, Dr Jerip Susil, in the state election in April, despite losing their land to companies serving the BN? (more…)

September 29, 2011

Masing is ignorant, slams PKR’s See

Joseph Tawie

Land Development Minister James Masing wants native landowners to continue supporting companies that failed to pay them dividends for the last nine years.

A Sarawak opposition leader has slammed the state Land Development Minister James Masing for his callous call to landowners not to renege on their agreement with Boustead Holding and Land Development Custody Authority or Pelita.

PKR vice chairman See Chee How said Masing lacked understanding of the problems faced by the landowners in Kanowit.

“Masing should go to the ground more to understand the problems faced by the landowners. (more…)

September 28, 2011

The Written Judgement of Gayan Tupai Vs Vita Hill S/B

Today, we received the written judgement handed down by the High Court in Sabah andSarawak,

Another clear proof that the land grab by the present State Government of Native Customary Land (NCL) in Sarawakis on the rise.

1.       The Plaintiffs who are all Iban natives of Sarawak, headed by their longhouse Chief or Tuai Rumah Gayan anak Tupai, and 3 others brought a legal action on their own behalf, as well as on behalf of 15 other residents who claimed to be proprietors, occupiers, and claimants of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land situated at their longhouse known as Rumah Gayan, Dassey, Budu, Krian, Saratok, Sarawak, against 3 Defendants a timber licensee Vita Hill Sdn Bhd and the issuing authority, the Director of Forests, Sarawak and the State Government of Sarawak. (more…)

September 24, 2011

What’s Brewing In Snap?

(Bernama) —

What’s brewing in Sarawak’s oldest political party, the Sarawak National Party (SNAP)?

What does the future hold for this party as it prepares for its triennial general assembly scheduled for Sept 24 and 25 in Kuching.

Many political analysts have already written off any future for SNAP in Sarawak’s political landscape as they believe it will never be able to rise again to its former glory.

“The party is basically finished. It’s the end of the road. It has a branding issue with funding as its biggest problem. Previously, it was funded by the top leader who was financially strong. But the current leadership is facing financial constraints,” political analyst James Chin told Bernama. (more…)

September 23, 2011


Press Statement from Baru Bian


SUIT NO: 21-4-2009 (SIBU)

Today, another judgment handed down by the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak at Sibu, is another clear proof that the land grab by the present State Government of Native Customary Land (NCL) in Sarawak is on the rise.


1.       The Plaintiffs who are all Iban natives of Sarawak, headed by their longhouse Chief or Tuai Rumah Gayan anak Tupai, and 3 others brought a legal action on their own behalf, as well as on behalf of 15 other residents who claimed to be proprietors, occupiers, and claimants of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land approximately 3,308.15 acres, (“the said NCR Land”) situated at their longhouse known as Rumah Gayan, Dassey, Budu, Krian, Saratok, Sarawak, against 3 Defendants a timber licensee Vita Hill Sdn Bhd and the issuing authority, the Director of Forests, Sarawak and the State Government of Sarawak. (more…)

September 10, 2011

Baram Dam put on hold for now

Joseph Tawie

The dam will be built at a later date after problems with the Orang Ulu natives are sorted out.

The proposed Baram Dam is to be placed on hold following strong opposition from the Orang Ulu natives of Kayan, Kenyah and Penan communities – about 20,000 of whom face displacement as a result of the project.

Instead the proposed Baleh Dam, in the neighborhood of Murum and Bakun dams in the Kapit division is to be built first.

Construction of the Baleh Dam will start after the completion of the Murum Dam by the end of 2013, said Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management.

He said that the government decision to build the Baleh HEP dam first instead of the Baram Hydro Electricity Power (HEP) dam was because the Baleh dam project would affect a limited number of people upstream of the dam. (more…)

September 9, 2011

Sarawak natives lose landmark NRC land case (Full Judgment of the Federal Court)

The Federal Court has dismissed a crucial appeal by five native customary rights landowner, a decision which will adversely affect more than 100 similar cases.

The three-member panel of judges led by outgoing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi made a unanimous decision to dismiss the case, brought by Bato Bagi and five others.

Bato, along with five others, are suing the state government over the loss of their land due to the Bakun dam project. .

The decision by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, both of whom refused to answer the question, was to let other pending cases deal with the issue.

The other Federal Court judge, Justice Md Raus Sharif, answered the question in the negative, and said the seizure was not unconstitutional. (more…)

September 8, 2011

Aging Bato: We will not give up

bakun ncr land case 080911 aging bato

Kow Gah Chie

Despite the disappointing outcome at the Federal Court, Sarawakian natives involved in the case vowed to pursue for proper compensation of their law native customary rights (NCR) land through more lawsuits.

Aging Bato, son of one of the five plaintiff Baleh Naha Jalei longhouse chief Bato Bagi, said his father had asked followers to pursue the matter until it was resolved.

Bato is a instrumental figure in the important suit – dubbed the Bagi Bato case – which will have a impact on more than 100 similar cases that are pending. Bato, 78, died of leukemia two months ago.

“My father wanted us to strive hard over this issue. He wanted justice for the villagers in the longhouse,” he said, describing his father’s last words.

Looking teary-eyed after the judgment was read out, Aging said that his father had took up the case ten years ago for the welfare of the 78 families in the longhouse.  (more…)

Judges refuse to rule on consitutionality of land grab

Hafiz Yatim

The Federal Court today refused to answer a question on whether the seizure of land by the Sarawak government for the Bakun dam was unconstitutional or not.

The decision by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi (below left) and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, both of whom refused to answer the question, was to let other pending cases deal with the issue.

The other Federal Court judge, Justice Md Raus Sharif, answered the question in the negative, and said the seizure was not unconstitutional.

However, all three judges unanimously decided to dispose of lawyer Baru Bian’s appeal following the land seizure in Bakun by the state government 14 years ago to build the multi-billion ringgit dam and a wood pulp mill. (more…)

Sarawak natives lose landmark NRC land case


The Federal Court has dismissed a crucial appeal by five native customary rights landowner, a decision which will adversely affect more than 100 similar cases.

The three-member panel of judges led by outgoing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi made a unanimous decision to dismiss the case, brought by Bato Bagi and five others.

Bato, along with five others, are suing the state government over the loss of their land due to the Bakun dam project. .


Federal Court to deliver landmark decision on NCR


The Federal Court is to deliver a key decision this afternoon on whether the seizure of native land owned by five longhouse residents to make way for the Bakun dam project 14 years ago is constitutional.

A lot is riding on this case – referred to as the Bato Bagi case – as it will set the precedent for other native customary rights land claims in Sarawak. There over 100 pending claims by natives in the state.

This will also be the last judgment delivered by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who will step down on Monday after reaching the retirement age of 66.

He leads a three-member panel that also consists of chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judge Md Raus Sharif. (more…)

September 6, 2011

NCR demarcations: BN Govt cheating natives

Joseph Tawie

A declaration of native communal reserve by the Land and Survey Department is not a ‘confirmation and statutory recognition’ of native ownership over NCR land.

Sarawak PKR leader has accused the Barisan Nasional government of trying to ‘hoodwink and mislead’ the indigenous communities over the declaration of the native communal reserve.

Party vice president Ali Biju said it was wrong to tell the natives that the demarcations of communal reserve land by the Land and Survey Department were a ‘confirmation and statutory recognition’ of native ownership over the NCR land.

He said the government was lying to maintain native’s electoral support of Barisan Nasional. (more…)

Baru Bian: Sarawak govt wrongly advised on NCR

Joseph Tawie

The Sarawak government has refused to abide by court rulings on NCR because it would mean that the ‘entire state would belong to natives’.

Is the Sarawak government being wrongly advised on the issue of native customary rights (NCR) over land?

The opposition here believes that the Attorney-General’s Chambers is not knowledgeable enough about the reach of the NCR issues and is ill-advising the state government.

Said Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian: “The advice given (to the state government) is that NCR land only covers temuda land, and it does not cover pulau galau (communal forest), pemakai menua (territorial domain), pendam (graves) and tembawai (old longhouse sites).

“But we have proved to them that they are wrong.

“The High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court have agreed with our interpretation and have ruled that the NCR land also covers pemakai menua, pulau galau, pendam and so on.” (more…)

August 31, 2011

Baram Dam: Lying govt and big companies

Joseph Tawie

Local village headmen are being told that the government has shelved the construction of the Baram Dam.

The deceitful and insidious manner by which the state government is going about with the construction of the Baram Dam has angered the Orang Ulu communities in the dam project vicinity.

Orang Ulu National Association Miri (OUNA) chairman Pete Kallang said: “As one of those affected I just can’t understand this injustice and this outrageous and abusive exploitation.

“Why, it could be seen as an act in complete disregard for our well-being and opinion.

“This could be proven by the priority given to the preparatory construction activities done even before the proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are completed or perhaps not even started and made accessible to affected and interested parties. (more…)

August 28, 2011

‘Exclude NCR land from provisional lease’

FMT Staff

Respect the rights of Sarawak’s indigenous communities, says NGO.

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and company have come under attack for issuing provisional leases (PL) to oil palm companies to continue destroying forests in the Baram region.

Environmental group, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), wants the state government to rescind the PLs and exclude all native community territories from these plantation licenses.

Said SAM president SM Mohamad Idris: “Taking into consideration all the complaints and hardship suffered by affected communities, as well as their legal rights to their land, we urge the Sarawak government to ensure that all indigenous community village territories are excluded from all plantation licences. (more…)

August 27, 2011

NCR survey: ‘State cheating natives’

Joseph Tawie

Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code under which surveyed NCR lands are being classified has brought the government’s ‘real intention’ to light.

The Sarawak government, which is already under heavy fire over its land policies, has been accused of “hoodwinking” poor, ignorant natives with the perimeter survey procedure which aims to demarcate native customary rights (NCR) property.

Krian state assemblyman Ali Biju has questioned the state government’s real intention of carrying out the perimeter survey of NCR lands.

“On the surface, perimeter survey looks like the government is pretending to solve NCR problems, but in reality it is the government which is creating problems in the first place. (more…)

August 26, 2011

Sarawak govt ‘constantly’ ignoring court rulings

Joseph Tawie

The state government is abusing its power over NCR land policies and eroding investor confidence, claims PKR.

State opposition PKR has accused the Sarawak government of “abusing and misusing” the office of the state Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-G) to defend the wrong-doings of a few who continue grabbing native customary rights (NCR) land.

According to PKR vice-chairman See Chee How, the state government is “constantly” denying court rulings favouring natives on NCR land.

“The High Courts, the Court of Appeal and even the Federal Court have spoken and ruled on the recognition of NCR according to the customary practice of the natives concerned, but the state government chose to have its own restrictive interpretation. (more…)

Disaster looming over Bakun

Joseph Tawie

Failure to implement the recommendations of the EIA report on the Bakun Dam will be disastrous, according to an environmentalist.

An impending disaster is looming over Bakun Dam following the state government’s failure to implement the recommendations detailed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, according to environmentalist Dr Ellie Luhat.

Luhat, who is the chairman of Bakun Community Safety Committee (BCSC), warned that disaster would strike the area in the next three to five years.

“There was a study of the EIA reports where recommendations were made. But somehow when the implementation was done, these recommendations were forgotten. (more…)

August 21, 2011

‘My dead mother returned and thumbprinted document?’


Michael Kaung

Native Abdul Wahab Timbasal’s mother died 12 years ago but ‘returned’ to transfer their native land to someone else.

When the dead in Sabah rise and start affixing their thumbprints on land title deeds it may be time to call in a ‘religious medium’ to get to the truth.

Abdul Wahab Timbasal’s mother died 12 years ago but according to the land office here, she had ‘returned’ and claimed her land title on 15 June 2008, and that too by placing her thumbprint on the grant in front of a lawyer!

The size of the land, his mother ‘returned’ to claim measures 18.10 acres and is located in Ulu Kalumpang and is registered under the Native Title (NT) number 103032408. (more…)

August 14, 2011

Penans lodge report against Masing

Joseph Tawie

The state minister accuses them of stealing fresh fruit bunches from joint venture oil palm plantations.

Angry Penan landowners of Kampong Ogos in Niah here lodged a police report against state Land Development Minister James Masing who accused them of stealing fresh fruit bunches from joint venture oil palm plantations.

The report was lodged at the Batu Niah police station by Tua Kampong Ogos on behalf of 145 Penan families.

Landowners from the village were among those accused by Masing of stealing fresh fruits from the Suai plantation jointly owned by Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), the landowners and Sarawak Plantations Sdn Bhd. (more…)

August 11, 2011

Murum natives: Where’s our money?

Joseph Tawie

Some RM680,000 meant as compensation for the Kenyah community in Sarawak’s Murum Valley has ‘disappeared’.

About 500 members of the Long Wat Kenyah community in Murum Valley where the RM3 billion Murum Dam is sited have not received the RM680,000 compensation for the graves of their ancestors despite the money having been disbursed to a government agency.

According to Dr Elie Luhat, chairman of the Long Wat compensation committee, the authorities claimed the money was paid to the Sarawak Museum for disbursment to them.

“The authorities say that the money has been paid to us, but we have not received it, not even a single sen.

“So where is the money now? No one seems to know where the money is!” he said. (more…)

July 21, 2011

Orang Ulu natives may become squatters

Joseph Tawie

Once the Baram dam is constructed, their homes will be submerged, their land taken away from them, and they will be forced to become squatters, says activist Charles Gau.

The homes of the Orang Ulu natives comprising Kayan, Kenyah, Berawan, Kelabit and Penan may one day be submerged under water or their ancestral lands taken away from them.

Community activist Charles Gau warns that if this happens the natives will have to live as squatters in towns like Miri. (more…)

July 15, 2011

Another Victory for NCR Landowners in Sarawak

HU Editor

Martin Ak Lindang, Biju Ak Nyelang and Buang Ak Jala have added their names to the list of proud native plaintiffs in Sarawak who have successfully defended the native customary rights land, for themselves and on behalf of the other 500 village folks dwelling in the 2 longhouse communities of Rumah Musih and Rumah Usek, in Kampung Sg Merak, Pantu, Simanggang.

In Kuching this morning, High Court Judge Sangau Gunting recorded a consent judgment for the NCR land case litigated earlier before Datuk Linton Albert (now a judge in the Court of Appeal). 6 witnesses of the Plaintiffs had given their evidence when parties have decided to settle the matter amicably. (more…)

June 25, 2011

Taib changes definition of ‘native’ after NCR defeat

Keruah Usit

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has responded to humiliating setbacks in Native Customary Rights (NCR) lawsuits by forcing through a motion in the state assembly to change the definition of ‘native’.

Yesterday, the first sitting of the state legislature passed the Land Custody and Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2011, despite resistance from Pakatan Rakyat members, in order to lubricate joint-venture deals to take over NCR land.

According to the amended law, any party entering a joint-venture plantation deal with the state-owned LCDA will be designated a ‘native’. (more…)

June 8, 2011

Corruption in forestry department ‘deal’?

FMT Staff

Angry villagers lodge report with MACC over license issued to timber company to log in a water catchment area in Sarawak

Natives from six villages on the west of Sungai Sarawak Kiri have lodged a report with the MACC against a timber company on the advice their BN MP James Dawos Mamit.

Representatives from the six villages, in and around Semadang and Skio, want the MACC to investigate the logging company’s timber  license.

This is because they believe the company had encroached into an area believed to be a water catchment site.

Villages Action Committee chairman, Joseph Renggas, said the company was logging timber in a 2,112 hectare forest reserve between Sg Tu and Sg Sanga in Semadang and Skio. (more…)

May 27, 2011

Villagers cry foul over fraudulent logging deal

Joseph Tawie

Villagers in Lundu are claiming that a company has ‘contravened laws governing NCR’ by harvesting timber from their land.

KUCHING: Bidayuh landowners from four villages in the Lundu district – Kampung Stum Muda, Kampung Stungkor Baru, Kampung Stungkor Lama and Kampung . Bokiah – have claimed that a Miri-based timber company has cheated them through an ‘undated, unsealed and improperly attested agreement’.

They claimed the agreement also had not been stamped with the term ‘hasil’. (more…)

May 26, 2011

S’wak aims to gazette 1.1 mil hectares as parks


Ang Ngan Toh

Sarawak is targeting to gazette areas of about 1.1 million hectares as national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries or totally protected areas (TPAs) by the year 2020 in an apparent bid to refute critics that the government is destroying the state’s rainforests.

“We have achieved about 780,000 hectares of gazetted TPAs and more than half of these areas are trans-boundary in nature,” said the Sarawak Forestry Department’s acting deputy director Sapuan Ahmad yesterday at the opening of the ‘Heart of Borneo: Investigators and prosecutors course for wildlife crimes’ in Kuching. (more…)

‘1Sarawak’ natives take on Taib, timber tycoons

Keruah Usit

Seven Kayan and five Penan villagers from Baram are challenging Sarawak’s authorities and timber tycoons in court in defence of their communities’ ancestral land.

Ngau Wan Ngau, Anyi Emang Lawai, Usun Jok Emang, Laeng Ajang, Wan Ngau Wan, Tabong Tiri, Guro Kiling, Sait Kiling, Jau Kiling, Tua Kampung Sakai Ding, Johnny Lalang and Wan Ding filed a lawsuit at the Miri High Court on May 11.

The villagers, aged between 39 and 74, sued the state government and four powerful companies from Miri and Sibu – including industry giants Samling and Shinyang – for invading their land. The natives depend on the forests for their lives and identity. (more…)

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