Thursday, September 19

Choose development over fast buck, native land owners reminded

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Awang Tengah (second left) presents the land gazette to Tuai Rumah Ijau Ikok, as (from left) Aaron, Gramong, Len Talif, Alexander and Petrus look on.

KANOWIT: Local native land owners who have received their individual titles, issued under Section 18 of Sarawak Land Code, are advised against selling these assets for a fast buck.

In giving this reminder, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan points out that with the present and upcoming infrastructure developments across this district, the local native land owners can reap the benefits should they choose to develop their land.

According to him, the situation in Kanowit has changed in that it is now only a 30-minute drive from Sibu – a far cry from many years ago, back when there was no land access available.

“Should they sell their land, they would get some money, but what about the long term? Eventually, they would become squatters in their own place.

“But if they chose to develop their land, this would benefit not only them, but also their future generations,” he said prior to presenting Bumiputera Communal Reserve Gazettes issued under Section 6, and individual land title documents under Section 18 of Sarawak Land Code, to the land owners at the multipurpose hall here yesterday.

A total of 108 gazettes involving 19,973 hectares of land in Ngemah, Ngemah Tengah and Ngemah Ulu areas were presented to 72 communities, while 33 land owners from Sungai Lipus received their individual titles at the event.

Awang Tengah also presented cheques totalling RM615,189, meant as compensation to 51 people whose land were acquired for the construction of the Ngemah-Ngungun Bypass.

On a related matter, he regarded the Sarawak government as being understanding when it came to awarding land titles to the owners.

“Based strictly on our specifications, any land to be recognised as NCR (Native Customary Rights) land must be continuously cultivated and maintained.

“But we are considerate because some of the areas have large trees.

“The people must also understand why land issues usually get politicised by many quarters, because it is an issue that is close to our hearts,” he said.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang, Ngemah assemblyman Alexander Vincent, Machan assemblyman Allan Siden Gramong, Land and Survey Department deputy director Abdullah Julaihi, Sibu Land and Survey superintendent Kiu Chiong Chong, former Machan assemblyman Datuk Gramong Juna and political secretary to the chief minister Petrus Igat Mathias were among those present.