PRESS STATEMENT

MR. BARU BIAN
NCR LAWYER CUM PKR POLITICAL BUREAU & SUPREME COUNCIL MEMBER

It was reported as front page news in the Borneo Post on the 19th June 2009 that the BN Government will not take away the native customary lands of the natives. The PM was quoted to urge the people to “…have confident in Barisan Nasional (BN) government. We have no intention of grabbing anybody’s land. The Ibans should not worry. The BN government will not snatch your property.”

In reply I wish to say that this assurance if true, come too little too late. The fact and the truth is that the people’s land, in particular, the natives’ customary lands had already been taken, grabbed and snatched under the BN government. The fact that the PM made this statement today shows that the people in particular the natives are complaining that their NCR lands had been taken away summarily all these years.

The fact that my legal firm is handling over one hundred cases of NCR related cases show proofs that NCR lands had been taken, grabbed and snatched all these years, under the BN government, headed by the present CM Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. Despite the landmark decision in the landmark case of Nor Anak Nyawai which was affirmed by Madeli Salleh’s case in the Federal Court, (the highest court in Malaysia), the present State BN Government of Sarawak refused to accept the said Court’s decision that NCR Land includes not only “temuda” (secondary forest) but it extends to their “Pemakai menua” (territorial domain) and “Pulau” (reserved or preserved virgin forests). This refusal to accept the Court’s decision is reflected in the State Attorney-General’s Chambers’ defences representing the State Government, in these cases now pending hearing in the various High Courts through out the State of Sarawak.

I therefore urge the Honourable Prime Minister, to order, instruct and/or at least advise the present BN State Government through the CM Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to return to the people all the NCR lands that had been “taken, grabbed and snatched” summarily all these years by revoking timber licences, provisional leases and replanting permit or other licences that includes and/or encroaches onto NCR lands. Secondly, order that an independent Land Commission of Inquiry be set up to investigate all these violation of claims of NCR lands in Sarawak including the abuses by the police force of complainants relating to NCR disputes with companies, to show to the people of Sarawak, and Malaysian at large that this PM walks his talk. This Land Commission of Inquiry should also look into all the hundred over cases now pending in the High Courts in Sarawak, thus helping in the backlog of cases in the High Court. If the above proposal is not done within 1 month from today, I am afraid these statements are mere political gimmicks just to mislead the people in particular the Natives of Sarawak that this BN Government is now concerned with their affairs and problems. I believe these are but signs of the impending State General Election now looming in the horizon.

Lastly, it was also reported that “The Prime Minister said from his discussions with Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud he was convinced that the State’s model of native customary rights land development would ensure a better future for the Dayaks, particularly the Ibans.”

I believe that the State’s model of native customary rights land development referred is the “new way” of developing NCR Land popularly referred to as “The New Concept” or “Konsep Baru” the ‘brain-child’ of the present CM. Under this ‘Konsep Baru’, the landowners would have 30% shares equity, the developer 60% and the State Government 10%. I am sad to say that the very first project launched in Kanowit based on this concept is a total failure. After 10 years of its launching, the developer is still unsure whether they can break-even in the years ahead thus causing much anxiety and trepidation to the natives who were lured in participating in this project years ago. I have been instructed by some of these natives to take legal action against the State Government to protect the natives’ right over their NCR lands, as they have no confidence in this so called “Konsep Baru” or as the PM said the “State’s model of native customary rights land development” referred in the news report.

I dare say in the light of my knowledge of these issues, the statements made by the Honourable PM are mere political rhetoric, unless and until we can see in one (1) month time, my suggestion referred above are implemented; i.e. the return of NCR lands that had already been taken away and the setting up of a Land Commission of Inquiry to investigate these complaints of violation of NCR over lands in Sarawak.

So Honourable PM, prove to us natives of Sarawak, that you walk your talk in these matters!

Dated this 20th June 2009

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