DBNA puzzled why Land & Survey stop survey of land, issuance of titles

KUCHING: Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) is puzzled over the action of Land and Survey Department stopping the survey and issuance of titles in villages already documented by the association’s Native Customary Right (NCR) land documentation project.

In a statement issued yesterday, DBNA said it has submitted to the department a list of 42 villages that have completed their NCR land documentation for issuance of titles under Section 18 of the State Land Code, but the department had completed the survey and issuance of titles only to Kampung Sekuduk and Kampung Pisa.

DBNA nonetheless expressed its appreciation to the department for carrying out the survey and issue some titles to a few other villages despite the surveying work now already stopped by the department.

“The re-survey in most other villages have not been started. And for the few villages where the department had started to re-survey, it has not been completed before the department stopped the work. This is puzzling.

“For example, three years ago, the department stopped its work in Kampung Grogo and Kampung Sibuluh, Bau, after starting it less than six months before, and after issuing land titles for about half of the total land lots.

“In Singai, the department has also stopped its work, and the excuse given was due to lack of funds and not enough survey teams,” said the statement.

It was in response to a news report published in The Borneo Post on Aug 14 with the headline ‘DBNA praised for role in expediting issuance of Bidayuh individual land titles’, where the Land and Survey Department responded to the “nothing was removed and changed” remark made by DBNA chief advisor Dato Sri Michael Manyin.

Manyin was quoted to have said: “When Land and Survey came to do verifications nothing was removed and changed, meaning the survey works made by DBNA are more accurate and accepted”.

According to DBNA, there were some inaccuracies in the department’s response to statement made by Manyin.

“The statement “nothing was removed and changed” was meant to indicate that the demarcation of the land and the location of survey pegs on the ground are not changed when Land and Survey Department re-surveyed the land.

“The pegs used in the DBNA project are the standard belian pegs used by the Land and Survey Department, and the land boundaries have been cleared and agreed upon by the landowners. Thus there is no need to replace the pegs or to realign the land boundaries.

“The statement was not meant to imply that the DBNA maps, being done with hand-held Garmin GPS, is accurate enough for the purpose of cadastral survey for issuance of land titles,” it said.

On the department stating there are three key factors that determine the speed of survey, DBNA reiterated there was no issue as far as its NCR land documentation project is concerned.

“The first is that the claimants must be present during the survey. This is a non-issue. The land claimants are always eager to be present when the re-survey is done. They spend time and resources to clear their respective land boundaries before the survey team from the department arrives.

“If the Ketua Kaums or JKKKs (village security and development committee) are given notice and time to inform the villagers, non-appearance of land claimants will not be an issue at all.”

The second factor cited by the department as ‘verification of the boundary by claimants and neighbouring lot owners’ is also a non-issue for DBNA.

DBNA explained that verification and signature by up to six neighbouring lot owners are included in the DBNA NCR land documentation form. The DBNA form is then certified by the Ketua Kaum.

The third factor, on the ‘exercise being free from disputes and counter-claims’ is again a non-issue for DBNA because it does not process NCR lots that have disputes.

“The files submitted to Land and Survey Department contain only clean and dispute-free land lots,” it said.

DBNA also said it looked forward to more sustained re-survey of the NCR land in Bidayuh villages whose names have been submitted to the department.

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