“There was speculation that the state government failed to support this native-initiated JV because the government was not used as a ‘middleman’ as laid out in the ‘New Concept’ model. In this model, the NCR landowner receives 30 percent of JV shares, the government 10 percent, and the private investor chosen by the government, 60 percent.” – from Dayak Baru

“One difference – The communities concerned had by-pass any middle-person or institution. Unlike the government sanctioned development model, the communities had entered into a joint venture directly with a private capital, thus by-passing any government institution or politician as “broker”.
” – from Hornbill Unleashed

Why should NCR landowners must obey BN cronies?

It’s illegal to develop own land directly with own-selected private investor WITHOUT BN cronies?

A-Ha! This one catcher in the rye for the Dayaks!

Ever heard the book by recently passed away the great American author J.D. SalingerThe Catcher In The Rye‘? Nevermind folks, no thanks to our stupid education most of the kids here probably never enjoy the work of literature genius like J.D or ‘Papa’ Ernest Hemingway. Nevertheless it is the same case here: Dayak vs New Concept’s scare-tactics.

Yes that New Concept (of which 10 percent holding stake by LCDA) with LCDA as watchmen/middlemen/monitor to safeguard and ensure the plantation project benefits everyone…or is it? LCDA is the ‘catcher’ here to keep the Dayak ‘safe’ from harms within the fence/rye (from being manipulated by outside crooks over their lands). But the real harm ultimately the ‘catcher’ itself. Malay would call it ‘pagar makan padi‘.

This case simply shows NCR landowners are trying to avoid the catcher instead, the same ‘catcher’ that on paper would provide protection and assurance in the first place. Nah! LCDA and all their ready-made cronies are only interested how to hijack the NCR lands in the cheapest cost possible.

Just a recap of New Concept/Konsep Baru model of land development: 30 percent stake to NCR landowners / 60 percent to private investors / 10 percent LCDA.

Now it does looks very promising eh? Private investor and LCDA basically the same goons which hold 70 percent stake and only Yang Dikasihi know how, why, who to select as private investors and of course his own cronies lah to obey all his order and tricks. From land clearings (timbers as well) to harvesting oil palm fruits the money trail basically 100 percent gone in their organised yet legal money laundering scheme. That’s why at the end of day NCR landowners especially the Dayaks receive little or no returns from the plantation projects as all the plantation profits simply siphoned elsewhere to the cronies (inflated, lopsided fertiliser supply, contractors etc).

Obviously in this case also the NCR landowners simply develop their own land directly with their own preferred private investors. And why not, right? Toiled the land together and split the profits directly to each other too. Isn’t it the same call by Yang Dikasihi that urge the idle NCR lands to be developed?

Nope, according to Yang Dikasihi the best way is the New Concept and must include his own BN cronies joining the gang bang as well. Sounds crazy but that’s all about it: No crony, no talk.

But there is no law that mandate either unilateral or bilateral deal to develop land for plantation projects with or without New Concept which means here NCR landowners can opt for New Concept or own initiative directly with any interested private investors. While the New Concept evidently an utter failure ironically Yang Dikasihi choose to deny the success of directly developed plantation project such as in this case as if it’s a big crime to develop own land directly.

New Concept cannot be viewed as the ultimate ‘catcher’ in any way. Even ordinary landowner, let say ask any private Chinese landowners, would they must include LCDA as their guardian at 10 percent watchmen tax to develop own land? Expletively they will say No! For what? of course.

This is all a typical double standard and hypocrisy. Yang Dikasihi simply hate to see Dayak become millionaire without paying ‘tax’ to his BN cronies. New Concept was unveiled just to show it is the only concept available while in fact you can freely choose your own business partner. Doing business with BN cronies actually the biggest risk of all. Any Chinese subcontractor will tell you that, the cronies kept on asking money even no project realised.

The Dyaks Blog Final Donkeys:

The sign of defiance against Yang Dikasihi trickery is commendable and send a fresh message to the rest of NCR landowners: develop land directly without BN cronies. Yang Dikasihi’s role as catcher-guardian merely a falsehood and only shows how insecure Yang Dikasihi if big profits from plantation projects send directly to NCR landowners, when that is exactly what BN itself in promoting land development and reducing rural poverty. Yes my dear Dayaks, the hate toward Dayak independent success will always be there be it in plantation business, education or politics definately. Since Yaakub until now Yang Dikasihi they just hate to see us Dayak become successful. Smart, successful Dayaks indeed by far BN Sarawak biggest threat of all. We shall see the same trick being staged by the purported PRS-SPDP merger in the name of safeguarding and uniting Dayak interest. Yes the same catcher that called for unity are the one now that keep on splitting and dividing own Dayaks at Yang Dikasihi pleasure. Fucking dope.

RM110mil blown in NCR land grab
Keruah Usit – Malaysia Kini
Feb 23, 10 12:33pm

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s land policies have suffered another humiliating setback, barely a month after the state government’s landmark defeats in court to Agi anak Bungkong and Mohd Rambli Kawi.

The Sarawak government has now been ordered to pay compensation to Amit Salleh and 663 other Native Customary Rights (NCR) landowners in Suai, near Bintulu. The natives have claimed compensation amounting to some RM110 million.

The court found that the state government had illegally stripped these Malay, Kedayan and Melanau communities of their NCR land. As a result, the native communities had lost valuable teak and sentang trees they had planted.

Taib’s administration of 29 years has faced stinging criticism for steam-rolling over natives’ land rights, to enrich private companies closely linked to top state officials. His ‘New Concept’ land agenda has pushed aggressively for joint ventures (JV) between native landowners and oil palm plantation companies.

There has been growing criticism that Taib’s land policies deprive Sarawakian bumiputera communities of their land and livelihood. The JV projects have showered massive profits on well-connected investors, while yielding absurdly meagre dividends for participating NCR landowners.

On Feb 21, the Federal Court, the supreme legal authority in Malaysia, dismissed the Sarawak government’s application to review earlier decisions in favour of Amit Salleh and other representatives of the communities of Kuala Nyalau and Ulu Nyala, Suai.

Amit Salleh and others had won a suit filed in 2000 against the state government, following a botched JV deal involving 1,223ha of native customary reserve land.

The native communities had been signed up to a JV agreement in September 1994, with a company called Bumisar Jaya. The native communities were to be bestowed a 25 percent share in the new JV Company, while Bumisar Jaya would receive 75 percent.

It was a term of the JV contract that Bumisar Jaya would apply to the state government to convert the NCR land into ‘Mixed Zone Land’ for at least 60 years, so that oil palm and other crops could be cultivated by the JV Company.

However, the application for conversion dragged on. While the JV remained in limbo, the natives planted some 720,000 teak trees and nearly 4,000 sentang trees. Finally, by mutual consent, the JV agreement was terminated in March 1997.

There was speculation that the state government failed to support this native-initiated JV because the government was not used as a ‘middleman’ as laid out in the ‘New Concept’ model. In this model, the NCR landowner receives 30 percent of JV shares, the government 10 percent, and the private investor chosen by the government, 60 percent.

The native communities were taken aback when the state government extinguished their Native Communal Reserve rights in December 1998.

By this time, the teak and sentang trees were over 10m tall, and 60cm in girth, and ready for harvesting. Their value, according to the communities, was almost RM102 million.

The communities sued the state government for the loss of the trees, as well as for RM8.56 million for deprivation of their 1,223ha of land, or RM7,000.oo per hectare.

Cost of contempt for land rights

The state attorney-general’s chamber has exhausted its avenues of appeal. The state government faces the prospect of compensating the Suai landowners with RM110 million of taxpayers’ money, thanks to its contempt for natives’ land rights.

According to High Court judge Abdul Aziz Rahim, upon ruling in favour of the Suai communities in 2005: “The customary rights of the natives to use and cultivate land reserved for them are property within the meaning of Article 13(1) of the federal constitution.

“These rights entitle the natives to use and cultivate their land in such manner as may bring them income and along with it betterment of their lives. Thus to take away these rights would mean depriving the natives of the main source of their survival.”

Lawyers representing the Kuala Nyalau and Ulu Nyala communities, including MS Sandhu, John Antau and Musa Dinggat, have not issued any public statement since the Federal Court decision to dismiss the application for further review. They had presented the case to the press after the earlier judgments.

The state government remains defiant, though it too, has not issued any comment yet on this latest court ruling. The government is wary, perhaps understandably, of repeating its widely derided press statement condemning the court rulings in favour of Agi anak Bungkong and Mohd Rambli Kawi.

There must be grave rumblings of unease among Sarawak’s land policy makers, since over 100 NCR land rights cases filed against the government and its business associates are working their way through the judicial system.

High-profile court cases such as that of Amit Salleh are likely to create greater impetus among natives to challenge the state government’s unpopular land policies. They may even erode support for Taib’s (right) government ahead of the imminent state assembly elections, expected to be held later this year.

PKR state information chief and land rights lawyer See Chee How pointed out that it appears the courts have been bold in safeguarding the natives’ customary land rights.

“It has taken Amit 10 years, but he and his community folk have been justly rewarded for their decision to defend their land rights.

“Nor Nyawai, Madeli Salleh, Agi Bungkong, Rambli Kawi, and now Amit Salleh – when will the state government learn from these decisions?” asked See, reeling off a list of pivotal court decisions favouring NCR landowners over the state government.

It certainly appears that Malaysian judges have had greater leeway in making decisions concerning NCR issues, than the much-ridiculed judges in Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s lawsuit against Umno’s Zambry Abd Kadir or in Anwar Ibrahim’s show trials.

But it is unclear whether these independent legal findings will be allowed to continue, given the degree of perceived political influence by the ruling Barisan Nasional on the judiciary.

The Kuching High Court passed an early litmus test today, throwing out an appeal by Ladang Sawit Bintulu and the Sarawak government for a stay of judgment on the return of NCR land to Agi anak Bungkong and 15 longhouses in Sebauh.

It remains to be seen, too, whether the dramatic news of these court decisions will be disseminated to impoverished rural corners of Sarawak.

Many Malaysians are also waiting anxiously to see whether such news will have any impact on the voting patterns in the upcoming state assembly polls and, later, national elections, in this swing state.

KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist – anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalized Malaysians.