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NCR landowners warn govt: Withdraw leases or else…

 | January 24, 2012

The state government's 'golden handshake' to the former Kedup assemblyman has cost owners their NCR land.

KUCHING: Angry Iban landowners from Balai Ringin are demanding that Land and Survey Department director Sazali Kipli withdraw the provisional leases (PLs) on native customary rights (NCR) land.

The PLs on these lands have been awarded to a number of private companies.

Some 50 landowners expressed their dissatisfaction to Sazali recently and demanded that the government withdrwa the PLs or face the consequences.

“We are giving the department 30 days starting from Jan 17 to withdraw the PLs, failing which we will come again to express our displeasure.

“The next time we will come in a bigger group,” said Augustine Bagat, the group’s spokesman.

They were accompanied by their lawyer Chong Chieng Jen who is also Sarawak DAP secretary and Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bagat, who is a retired school teacher, said that they were happy that they had “sent” their message to Sazali.

“We came here today to highlight issues affecting our NCR land that has been given to a number of companies including one local company.

“One of the companies is United Trade Team Sdn Bhd,” Bagat claimed.

‘A golden handshake’

Bagat said another company, Memaju Jaya Sdn Bhd, was owned by Frederick Bayoi Manggie, a former Kedup assemblyman. Memaju has also been given a PL for a 5,500-acre area.

“The land belongs to us. It is our ancestral land occupied by our forefathers long before Sarawak’s independence within the federation of Malaysia in 1963.

“Many of our durian, rubber and fruit trees which are over 100 years have been bulldozed by the developer without our knowledge, let alone our consent,” he said.

“Our padi farms were also bulldozed even before they could be harvested,” he said, adding that “this is really too much and we want the relevant authorities to look into the matter”.

“We are giving the department 30 days to settle the issue. It cannot be denied that many of us are very angry.

“Out of nowhere, their land and crops were taken away and given to companies to develop for an oil palm plantation.

“So far we manage to remain calm. However, we fear that we may not be able to calm down some of the landowners when things start to get out of control.

“We appeal to the director to take immediate action,” Bagat added.

He claimed that the department had awarded their land in Malikin to a number of companies in November last year.

The landowners suspected that their land was a “golden handshake” to the former assemblyman for not contesting in the last state election.

Bayoi, who is a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) member and had served the constituency for five terms, was replaced by Martin Ben as the candidate for the constituency.


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