BINTULU: The best and most cost effective way for locals to claim Native Customary Rights (NCR) land is by submitting their applications to the government.
Assistant Minister of Public Health and Utilities Dr Stephen Rundi said doing it through the courts would only benefit the lawyers.
“I do not deny that the natives have rights to use the legal channels. But the best solution, which involves only a minimal cost, would be to apply to the government,” he said.
Speaking at a function at the Resident’s Office here yesterday, Dr Rundi said all NCR land claims should be supported with authentic documents and evidence.
Dr Rundi, who is also Kemena assemblyman, said the opposition was talking nonsense when they promised to return NCR land to the people should they come into power.
“What is there for the government to return? We never take the NCR land (in the first place). If they (opposition) are promising the moon, they are actually deceiving the people. We (Barisan Nasional) are only promising what we can deliver,” he said.
Towards this end, he advised community leaders to play their role in disseminating information on government policies to the people so that they would not be hoodwinked by the opposition.
He stressed that the negative picture painted by the opposition must be corrected for it had the potential to instill fear among the people and this could affect their confidence towards the government.
Dr Rundi also urged community leaders to gather a complete profile of locals under their purview and then submit them to the District Office.
“Records like this will help the government fine tune its development plans for the benefit of the people,” he said.
At the function, he gave out minor rural project (MRP) funds and certificates of appointment to community leaders.
Dr Rundi reminded recipients of the MRP to use the funds properly and to keep proper records of how the money was used to avoid possible misunderstanding from cropping up later. “Reports on the expenditures must also be submitted to the District Office,” he said.
Forty three organisations received MRP grants totalling RM563,000, while six longhouse chiefs received their certificates of appointment.