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NCR conversion: I don’t have the power, says Masing

 | February 24, 2011

Popular blogger John Brian, eyeing the Merluan constituency seat, riles up Sarawak Land Minister James Masing with his latest posting

KUCHING:  A furious Land Development Minister James Masing slammed blogger and activist  John Brian for accusing him of ‘extinguishing’ NCR land.

“He is either ignorant of division of authorities in the government or just playing politics by accusing me of extinguishing native customary rights land,” he said.

Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, was responding to comments made by Brian in his blog, the Dayak Baru.

“I don’t have the authority to create or extinguish land status. Once a land has been declared by relevant authority as state land, my authority on NCR JV ceases. “So Brian grow up!” he retorted.

Brian and Ibans of Rumah Ranggong have accused Masing of allegedly being involved in changing the status of their NCR land into state land which has since sparked  disputes between the landowners and BLD Sdn Bhd.

The issue came to light after BLD allegedly sent 100 armed gangsters equipped with explosives to intimidate the Rumah Ranggong longhouse folk.

Brian in his blog posting said that Masing had much to answer for the revocation of the status of NCR land in Ulu Niah into state land without telling the landowners.

He alleged that the land was bought by the KTS group of companies for RM1 million plus, but the money never reached the Ulu Niah Ibans. “Who is keeping the money?” asked Brian.

Aggression condemned

He also posed the question as to why Masing extinguished the NCR land status of the said land.

“Is it for personal reasons or is Masing, who claims to champion the rights of Dayaks, a traitor to his own community?” he asked. Brian, who has been highly critical of Dayak leaders like deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu, William Mawan, president of the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Masing, has expressed his intention to contest in Merluan.

The Merluan  incumbent is Wong Judat of SPDP. Meanwhile, the Kemena state assemblyman Stephen Rundi, whose constituency covers Rumah Ranggong, Ulu Niah, condemned the aggression against the rural folk.

“No elected representative will condone any form of aggression towards the rural folk involved in native customary rights land disputes.

“Regardless of the circumstances surrounding any dispute, nobody has the right to go to any rural settlement and victimise the people.

“Any form of victimisation against the people cannot be tolerated at all,”  said Rundi, who is the state Barisan Nasional secretary-general.

He pointed out that the priority is to protect the welfare of the people. The gang leader involved in the intimidation of the longhouse folk has been arrested under Section 8 of the firearms Act.


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