KUCHING: The much touted perimeter survey is not only confusing the native landowners by the intention of this new initiative but it is also worrying them over the long term legal implications, said Ali Biju, Krian assemblyman.
“Section 6(1) of Land code mentions that any area of state land may be turned into Native Communal Reserve. However, all of the land surveyed now is NCR land.
“Does NCR still exist inside the Native Communal Reserve?
“What might happen to the NCR land outside the perimeter survey?
“Is it going to be the final survey? What is the status of 'pulau galau' and 'pemakai menoa' under this new initiative?” Biju asked during the debate on the state budget.
He quoted Section 6(3) of the Land code pertaining to Native Communal Reserves which clearly states that ‘any such land shall continue to be state land, and the native community for whose use it was reserved or any members thereof acquiring any rights therein shall hold the same as a licensee from the government, .... the issue of any document of title in respect thereof shall be in the absolute discretion of the Director’.
“In plain language, Native Communal Reserve is in actual fact state land,” said Biju.
He said that Section (4) states that if the Minister satisfied that any area under Native Communal Reserve is required for public purpose, that area to be resumed by the government and compensation to be paid as confirmed by honourable minister.
“However, does the government compensate affected natives for their trees, crops and dwellings? Is it possible to register agro-based business entity using Native Communal Reserve as an official address?” he asked.
Biju said that as a result of these confusions, native landowners still prefer their land to remain NCR land as it is now, pointing out that perimeter survey does not enhance the value of NCR land.
“What the native landowners really request for is that their NCR land be surveyed directly under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code, not Section 6.
“A good example is the big area of NCR land of the Iban community at Entebu/Selambong/Muton area which was excluded from Lots 489 and 480 Block 18 Awik-Krian Land District gazetted as Native Communal (Agriculture) Reserve (Swk. L.N.50 dated 29.3.2011.
“The government must clarify whether the NCR land outside the Communal Reserve is state land or NCR land,” Biju demanded.
The perimeter survey was initiated just before the State election to survey all NCR land belonging to the natives with an initial fund of RM20 million.
Later another RM60 million was added to the fund.
So far 27 areas in every division had been surveyed, and 30 more areas to be covered by the end of the year.
It is reported that there are 1.5 million hectares of NCR land throughout the state.