KUCHING: Persatuan Melayu Sarawak (PMS) fully supports the government’s decision to spend big amount of money annually to address Native Customary Rights (NCR) land matters but at the same time, wants to know why the record does not show the funds being spent for surveying Malay and Melanau lands.
“We support the government for giving RM80 million a year to address NCR issue, focusing on surveying. The question is I believed what Datu Sanib said that 2,000,000 hectares have been recognised, but zero for the Melanau, zero for the Malays. That RM80 million a year have no benefit for us.
“We would like the government to consider this issue to reduce the disparity between the Dayaks and the Malays and Melanau,” PMS president Datuk Bolhassan Di told The Borneo Post.
Bolhassan, who led PMS delegation to attend a briefing by Sarawak Malays Rights Group (Baham) president Datu Dr Sanib Said on NCR issues and progress of Malay NCR claims at Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu headquarters on Tuesday, said the Malay and Melanau communities did apply for NCR rights but was overruled.
“People have applied for lands, reserve lands, slow in forthcoming but by the time they know about the land, it has been taken for plantations. This hopefully is not a typical case in Sarawak, I think it is where people apply for 1,500 acres of land for their community suddenly they realised that this have been included in somebody PL (provisional lease), when they report about the PL, nothing was done about it,” he explained, when asked what the Malay and Melanau leadership has been doing all these years to address NCR issues.
The former assistant minister said the Malay and Melanau communities are disappointed and are seeking for answers by meeting the rightful authority to seek a win-win solution.
“This is what it is. There is disappointment among our communities. Again, I want to stress that 2,000,000 hectares have been identified for the Dayaks but zero for the Malays and Melanau, so far. The areas of NCR belonging to Malays and Melanau have not been identified, I am not saying it is zero but it must be identified and logged.
“That is why we must go and see the Land and Survey Department to find out why there is zero NCR for Malays and Melanau whereas Dayaks got 2 millions hectares,” he explained.
Bolhassan stressed that only land and survey can issue an official statement on NCR land ownership in Sarawak because they have all the data.
He said that they will be paying a courtesy call to State Attorney-General (SAG) to seek detailed clarification as to how the laws will benefit the Malays and Melanau communities.
“I am sure the government can help the Malays and Melanau in addressing this disparity. The question is has action been taken upon by the Land and Survey Department to help reduce this disparity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sanib stressed that they have started moving immediately after their formation early this year.
“We have been working the past few months since February. We have identified potential NCR lands from Lundu until Miri. We have zoomed into a more detailed study. Soon, within few months we will submit our application to the state government starting from Kuching,” he said, adding that Baham needs more support from Malays and Melanau NGOs to address the NCR issues affecting their communities.