Thursday, February 25

Native Land owners have the last laugh

Pic taken from
The State government has to spend colossal amount of money unnecessarily on court cases and land compensations to be paid to native land owners who have sued the government for illegally taking away their land and leasing them to companies for the planting of trees or oil palm.

Such court costs and compensations for a land case may run to one million ringgit or more as they have to pay for damages to the land, the destruction of fruit trees and cash crops, the demolishment of their houses and loss of incomes. Imagine the amount of money the government has to pay for the 20 cases that the natives have so far won. The amount could be over RM20 million.

Of course the companies which were given the provisional leases have also come up with compensation money.

And there are 203 cases pending in the Court.

The latest victory (on 23 February 2010) involved land owner Agi Anak Bungkong and 196 Iban families of Selezu, Setulai and Sepadok in the Sebauh District, Bintulu when they successfully won their case against the State Government and company which had applied for stay of execution against a High Court decision on 21 January 2010.

The land owners from 15 longhouses were represented by Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors, Kuching, while J.C. Fong represented the government.

The land owners had sued the government and company over native customary rights land in and around their longhouses in Selezu, Setulai and Sepadok in the Sebauh District, Bintulu.

They claimed that they had native customary rights over those lands which were not merely lands. Lands, they said, constituted their life, and from where they derived food, valuable medicines, wildlife and natural produce fore their livelihood and sustenance.

They cultivated padi, fruit trees, rubber, cocoa and other essential trees and crops on those lands. Hence, they argued that native customary rights land, comprising lands and forests, were not just a source of livelihood but life itself.

They said that their NCR over their lands was recognised in and by law and expressly acknowledged and honoured by the government of the day.

However, possibly due to an act of recklessness and negligence of the 4th defendants (Land and Survey Department) and the 5th defendants (the State Government) or in disregard of the plaintiffs’ acquired, vested or accrued rights in the native customary land, two provisional leases over Lot 2 Block 4 Selezu Land District and Lot 2 Block 34 Kemena Land District were issued to the 2nd defendants (Lembaga Tabung Haji) and 3rd defendants (Semai Mekar Sdn Bhd) on 2 December 1996.

The said provisional leases covered and included a substantial part of the plaintiffs’ said native customary rights land.

High Court Judge David Wong granted that the plaintiffs have native customary rights over the lands they cleared on 21 January 2010.

The judge ordered that the NCR lands should be ratified and excluded from the provisional leases.

The plaintiffs must be given vacant possessions forthwith, he said.

The judge ordered that damages for the plaintiffs to be assessed 4% interest per annum from the date of encroachment to the date of judgment and 8% from the date of judgment to the realization of the payment.

Costs to the plaintiffs are to be assessed by the Court.

Against this decision, the State Government and company applied for stay of execution.

In today’ hearing, High Court Judge Linton Albert dismissed the government’s application and awarded costs to the land owners.

Following the Court decision, See Chee How of Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors said the company must completely vacate the land and deliver the same to the plaintiffs.- The Broken Shield



Chakui said...

203 cases of NCR claims are pending. How long it will takes to dispose all these cases...5 years, 10 years, 50 years? Those of us who are now 30-40 years old, would not be able to know the court case results.

During colonial era, the natives were never encountered with such problems regarding their NCR lands with the British government.At that time, Dayaks were also united.

Diatu semua Dayak udah gila kuasa. Dalam rumah panjai belaya. Dalam parti politik pun belaya.

Anonymous said...

It appears the S'wak Gomen will lose all their cases before the State Election in 2010!

Anonymous said...

These honorable lawyers have done their work and now the natives must awake from their stupor and kick these thieving sorts out.Question is do they have the will or will they be easily swayed by the lackeys of these thieves with tit bits thrown here and there like leftovers for the dogs ?


Anonymous said...

congratulation to our brothers and sisters . The land is now ours and on top of that government got to compensate you all.

on an unrelated subject. Remember a case of state government vs Keruntum and the government eventually lost. compensation runs into multi million (60 millin) to Tun Rahman as owner of keruntum. ut as Taib and tun Rahman became friends again sure they share the compensation money. 50% maybe?. Is the quarrels for real or just an easy way to squeezed money from the tax payers.

Anonymous said...

manah berita tok...
ngarap ka bala raban Iban olih ngering ka diri empu lepas tok...

keni enda kes sawit di menua machan din neh...sida nguna khidmat lawyer yang sama..harap2 ka kes di kanowit nya pan menang ila.