Probe encroachment of NCR land, Sarawak NGO group urges MACC

Samarahan NCR land rights defender chairman Ahmad Awang Ali outside the MACC office in Kuching today.

KUCHING: A group of native customary rights (NCR) NGOs wants the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate whether there was any corruption involved among the top authorities after their land was encroached by a private company.

Samarahan NCR land rights defender chairman Ahmad Awang Ali, who led the group to lodge the report today, alleged that the land in Kampung Tambirat, Samarahan, was encroached by a private company.

He said the company had bulldozed the land to turn it into a vegetable farm, claiming that they had required permits from the authorities as well as the Land and Survey Department.

“The company just came in without erecting any signboard. In fact, yesterday, one of the company’s employees told the villagers not to go against them because it is a big company with lots of money,” he told reporters at the MACC office here today.

He said the villagers had lodged several police reports over the past few weeks but no action was taken against the company, he added.

“MACC has informed us that it will investigate but it has also advised us to bring this matter up to the police Integrity and Standards Compliance Department to find out why there had been no action taken by the police even after several reports had been lodged,” he said.

He said the 165ha piece of land belonged to the Malay community in Kampung Tambirat and their late fathers had imposed caveats on the land since the 1940s.

There were almost 2,000 villagers and about 400 houses in the village and most of the villagers work as fishermen, farmers as well as labourers, he said.

He said the company had shown them its titles to the land and the villagers found out that about 20 prominent Chinese individuals shared the titles to the land.

“We don’t know how they were able to acquire titles to the land. It has always been populated by the Malays.

“The company is now claiming that the land is theirs.

“They claimed to have titles to the land but they have expired and according to the law, the Land and Survey Department cannot renew them. We have claimed NCR on the land,” he said.