Wednesday, August 12

Leasing NCR land to plantation companies is illegal

The acts of the state government in issuing provisional leases over NCR land to plantation companies are illegal without the prior consent of the land owners, says Michael Jok, who represents several indigenous peoples organisations.

The organisations included Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (TAHABAS), Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (BRIMAS), PACOS Trust Sabah (PACOS), Persatuan Wanita Desa Sarawak (WADESA), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and SPNC and Orang Asli community Reps (Peninsular Malaysia).

In a joint statement issued to commemorate the international day of the Indigenous peoples of the world on 10 August 2009 which was held in Miri, Jok said: “We call on the state government to stop large-scale plantations and other activities on indigenous lands until effective measurers to safeguard their rights and the environment are in place.

“We are deeply concerned that the state government has issued licences for planted forests plantation over as large as 1,397,644 hectares in three areas of Belaga, Kakus and Tutoh.

“This still does not include oil palm plantation. Some of these forest plantation estates are established within the NCR land and water catchment areas of the native communities,”
he said.

Jok said: “We are calling on the government to stop this arbitrarily issuance of provisional lease to any private companies for the purpose of plantation development projects. The companies that have been given the PL have encroached illegally into the NCR land of the native communities.

“The effect of this has resulted in disputes over rights to the land and resources. The acts of the state government in issuing provisional leases over NCR land are illegal without getting the prior consent of the natives.

“We strongly urge moratorium on any plantation development projects and call on the government to immediately bring about meaningful solutions to all these land disputes and land rights,” he said.

On the exploitation of timber, Jok said that over the past decades our indigenous communities have faced turbulent survival as a result of our forests being continuously exploited by timber companies.

“Logging has destroyed our fundamental existence of living, the plant varieties including medicinal plants, animals and fish have either become threatened or extinct.

“The bulldozed forests cannot be planted with crops as soil is compacted and disturbed; crop harvests are reduced and rivers on which the people depend for water became polluted.

“Forests produce become scare which threatens the survival of the people who have depended on it for hundred of years,”
Jok said, adding that in Sarawak, native communities are yet to face the worst in the future.

He said as the sunsets on the timber industry in Sarawak, the state government energetically seeks to diversify and broaden its revenue base via land development for oil palm plantation and large scale trees plantation.

“This land development means taking on time and again the various indigenous communities on their native customary rights (NCR) lands and forests within our respective ancestral territories,” Jok said.

The state government considered all NCR land as “idle land” in need of large scale development to be brought to the native communities in order to alleviate their poverty.

This argument, he said, was used to promote logging in the 1970s and is now used to justify the introduction of oil palm plantations and industrial tree plantation.

“After more than three decades of extensive loggings and deforestation why are that most of our people living in the interior are now worse off than before?” he asked. - The Broken Shield


Anonymous said...

For 46 long years, our cries for help are always ignored and it make no difference now if you shout at the top of your voice , telling the whole world that this corrupted gov't is stealing your land, wood , fish, wildlife etc.There is only one solution to all these problem and if you all follow this recipe, it's guarantee to succeed.

1, start telling your friends about the corrupt practice of this state.
2,show them pictures of how our land have been rape.
3,bring them to see with their own eyes how those foreigners rape our resources.
4,convince them that if they still vote this gov't then they and their children will suffer.
5,show them the big houses and cars that these corrupted have.

If you eagerly follow this simple recipe, we will sure see you having all your land back and your future will be much brighter

In GOD we sure trust!

Chef de mission

Anonymous said...

who do you clas as foreigners? anyone not from sarawak? anyone not a native?
until you decide if you are sarawakian or malaysian can that question be answered. and lets not forget, they have those big houses and cars because you keep voting them in! so its self inflicted. you have no right to complain, its your own fault.

Anonymous said...

1. All lands in Sarawak belong to the people and the government only holds the land in trust for the people. This is the original and traditional status of land in Sarawak. In this respect, the term “state land” ought to be changed to “people’s land” or “tanah rakyat”.

2. Land should be made available to all landless and needy Sarawakian families. NO Sarawak families should become squatters in their own land.

3. All Lands, especially residential should be issued with grants in perpetuity or for 999 years. All lands currently held with 60 years or 90 years lease periods should be automatically converted to lands with such leases, with no further payment of premiums except for a nominal administrative charge.

4. Party Keadilan Rakyat (or a Party Keadilan Rakyat led) government will conduct a complete review of the Sarawak Land Code, with firm objectives of removing all “anti people” and unjust provisions that are designed to confer arbitrary powers on authorities like the State Planning Authority, which has now the power to take away land from the people and giving it to those who are well connected with the government.

5. We are totally opposed to the Barisan Nasional government’s imposition of high premiums on the renewal of leases, with a minimum of 25% (for agricultural lands), and 60% (for residential lands) and to take up to 75% (for commercial lands), of the current market value. A Party Keadilan Rakyat (or Party Keadilan Rakyat led) government will abolish such premiums.

6. All Native Customary Rights (NCR) Lands must be surveyed and proper titles issued to the rightful owners. Native Customary Rights (NCR) must be accorded with full and complete recognition under the Sarawak Constitution and Laws such as the Sarawak Land Code.

God of land and survey.