KUCHING: The natives in Sarawak are strongly advised against selling their titled land as doing so would result in their assets being eroded completely.
“It would be better for the land to be preserved and later on, passed down to their children or grandchildren,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg when speaking at the launch of the Bidayuh Cultural Symposium here yesterday.
He added that while he could not stop anyone from selling their native customary right (NCR) land, the land asset is important in terms of economic value, but ‘if you erode your asset, it means you don’t have asset any more’.
“Money is powerful. But if you do not want to value your NCR land, then you will become people with no asset,” he further said.
Abang Johari said the land reform which was passed by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly recently has not only given the native territorial domain – formerly known as ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulan galau’ – the force of law, but it also protects the original landowner from the provisional leases (PLs).
He said last time when the PLs were given, they also included the NCR land, which caused a lot of problems. He assured that from now on, no PL would be issued until the NCR land within the perimeter has been surveyed.
“Meaning there will be no dispute anymore. That is the amendment to the Land Code.
“Last time, it was a clean sweep, where ‘kampungs’ (villages) were also being bulldozed because they have the PL. So I have done my part – I have amended the Land Code, which says that before any PL is issued, the survey must be done first so that the original owner gets the land first,” he said.
On another note, Abang Johari said a special meeting with the Land and Survey Department Sarawak would be called to discuss the Bidayuh land issue raised by Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong.
“I will call for a special meeting to discuss this issue again until the land in the Bidayuh ‘kampungs’ are surveyed because we’re given a guarantee that there would be no dispute.
“As long as there is no dispute, we will give you the title. If your community has the evidence to prove that it is your land, if you want to survey or document it, go ahead. If you want to be given individual titles based on your custom, we will give,” he said.
Abang Johari commended and congratulated Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) because it has volunteered to survey the Bidayuh land.
“I think I still remember that I have requested Land and Survey (Department) to do that – and it has been done. Maybe now, there is not enough team or not enough money.
“If there’s not enough team or the money is not enough, I can tell you that we will give the money – then start again. It is not difficult, as long as you have the willpower and the dispute is not there, it can be done.
“For me, no problem – if you have land, survey it; if there is no title, we will give the title.”
Mas Gading MP Mordi Bimol, Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin, Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, DBNA president Dato Ik Pahon Joyik, and former DBNA presidents Dato Sri Robert Jacob Ridu and Datuk Peter Minos were also present.