Tuesday, October 15

No official claim of NCR land in vicinity of Mulu National Park – Len

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KUCHING: There is no official claim of native customary rights (NCR) land in the logging and plantation activities of Radiant Lagoon Sdn Bhd  in the vicinity of Mulu National Park and Mulu National Park itself.

This was confirmed by Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, saying the Sarawak Land and Survey Department had adhered to the required procedures before the issuance of licence in the area.

“There is no NCR claim in the area,” he said in response to questions from See Chee How (PH-Batu Lintang) in the august House yesterday.

Len said the Sarawak government agencies including the Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation had taken steps to ensure that the logging and plantation activities of Radiant Lagoon in the vicinity of the Mulu National Park did not breach the Unesco-listed site.

He added that the Natural Resources and Environment Board had also visited and inspected the site to ensue that the ecosystem in Mulu National Park was not in any way affected.

“We will ensure the integrity of Mulu National Park. There is stretch of 5km common border between Mulu National Park and Radiant Lagoon site; 3km on the highlands and 2km on the low land.

“For this particular stretch, we have issued a directive to impose a 1km buffer zone,” he said.

According to Len, the Forest Department of Sarawak would prepare reports every two years to ensure the status of Mulu National Park and the development situation in the area would not result in any breach of the preservation of nature.

Replying to a supplementary question, he said he had no clue which state cabinet minister had been tasked with looking into the oil palm plantation issue that was recently raised by a federal cabinet minister.

“I will let the deputy chief minister answer that in his winding up speech.”

Len Talif said the Sarawak government, in its land policy, had set aside four million hectares of state land and NCR land for agricultural purposes.

“Out of the four million hectares, three million hectares have been set aside for oil palm plantation,” he said, adding that 1.6 million hectares had so far been planted with oil palm.

He said the designated area for oil palm plantation in Sarawak would definitely not go beyond three million hectares.

“I am not too sure whether they know what they are signing for but I hope the 45,000 signatories of the ‘Save Mulu Campaign’ are not locals.Because (if they are locals) they are digging their own graves since oil palm is our lifeline, a major source of revenue,” added Len Talif.

Prior to asking his question, See declared under Section 31(7) of the Standing Order that he and Baru Bian (PH-Ba Kelalan) had no direct personal interest in the subject matter.