Awg Tengah: Section 6 of SLC not used to grab people’s land

The landowners in a photocall after receiving the land titles from Awang Tengah (centre) who is flanked by Naroden on his right and Miro. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

BAU: The Sarawak government has never used Section 6 of the State Land Code (SLC) to grab any native customary rights (NCR) land, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

He said the accusation was an attempt by the opposition to cover their own mistakes because their ‘masters’ in Pakatan Harapan federal government did not allocate specific funds for NCR land perimeter survey in Sarawak in Budget 2020.

He said the new NCR Land Initiative perimeter survey, which has been conducted since 2010, gazetting a communal land under Section 6 is the first step before individual lots are surveyed and issued titles under Section 18 of the same land code.

He also said that in nine years since this new initiative was implemented , a total of 897,142 hectares of NCR land had been surveyed compared to just 260,000 hectares surveyed using the old method in the last 50 years (1960s to 2010).

“Some opposition leaders have now come out saying they don’t want perimeter survey to continue under Section 6 claiming it was a trick by state government to grab the people’s land. Well, we already told the land owners that if they have no confidence in the land being surveyed under Section 6, they can return them (land titles) to us. So far no one has done so.

“What is happening is that many people are asking us to survey their land. If you (opposition leaders) want to play politics, play it right. What you are doing is playing politics which is ‘tidak masuk akal’ (illogical),” he said when met after he presented land titles under Section 18 to 594 landowners in Bau and Lundu districts at Bau Civic Centre yesterday.

Earlier in his speech, Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, said the Sarawak government would continue with the perimeter survey of NCR land even without additional allocation from the federal government.

Meanwhile, Tasik Biru assemblyman Dato Henry Harry Jinep who spoke earlier, said yesterday’s ceremony proved that the Sarawak government ‘does not give out land titles during election only’.

He said land titles would be given out again in December and in February next year.

“The GPS government issues land titles at any time of the year,” he added.

The 594 land titles given out yesterday comprised landowners from Grogo, Sibuluh, Suba Bau, and participants of Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) oil palm estates in Bratak, Jagoi, Sebako, Stenggang and Undan.

Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh and Land and Survey Department deputy director Awang Zamhari Awang Mahmood were among those present at the event.

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