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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Land for the Landless? When??

Dayak leadership stands up for Native Customary Rights
Taken from Bruno Manser Foundation Website

A senior Dayak state minister spoke out about the uneasiness and insecurities the Dayaks in Sarawak are feeling regarding their lands and their rights to it.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president and state land development minister James Masing speaking after the party's supreme council meeting in Miri over the weekend, said there was a need to clarify once and for all the Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands and state lands.

"We like the government to consider because our party is rural-based so land will be an issue."

All of the party's elected representatives, except one, attended to discuss the NCR as a main agenda item on Saturday.

It is learnt that Dayak members have spoken of their growing concern about threats to the future status of NCR lands, especially with the opening up of more lands for commercial oil palm plantations and, tree planting and harvesting schemes throughout Sarawak.

There has been increasing conflicts between oil palm and timber companies and NCR land-owners comprising mostly Dayaks such as Iban, Orang Ulu and Bidayuh communities.

There are now nearly 200 litigation cases by NCR land-owners pertaining to lands claims and damages to crops.

Aware of Pakatan's ploy

Masing announced that his party would set up a task force to look into issues related to NCR lands as it has become a hot topic raised by Pakatan Rakyat and other opposition parties.

The NCR Land issue has becoming a debut between all parties in Sarawak. If you ask SUPP about it, perhaps Riot will give you a very good approach to get your piece. How about if you ask Tiki Lafie then? He will ask you to support SPDP to get your piece too. This issue of NCR land has no end if we, the aborigine living under Barisan Nasional and PBB or SPDP or PRS or SUPP. It is nothing at all. In facts, SNAP and PBB themselves have failed the aborigines by awarding those land to the Chinese as the award for quitting communist party. The truth is that all those land along Tapah to Serian were owned by our forefathers. That means, the NCR land is not a solid propaganda to ask for support to PRS. Unless they can prove it by telling “Dollah” that the NCR land must be granted to the aborigines.

What went wrong actually? Since independent, when the British handover the government to Malaya where we have only ordinances and NCR rights. Somehow, all supreme rights of the “Malay” became more extreme than the Sarawakian’s right to their mother lands, fruit trees, crops and poultry. Bong Kee Chok was awarded a very big land once he quitted communist party. That was awarded by Tunku Abdul Rahman and Rahman Yakub. Where were the “Dayak” at that time? Coward!!

Now, the White Hair has control to the “NCR” lands and state land. You can fine quarry everywhere and not least ugly huts of the aborigines. The politicians have logging lots and quarry but not the rakyat, the aborigines. Why this happened? Because we do not have the land title. We are now become a trespassing to our own land. We cannot produce crops because SALCRA, under Jabu’s command has authority to every piece of land. We cannot raise paddy anymore because the state lands are not our but own by politicians.

I believe that the effort of PRS to air this issue will be in vain since we cannot talk to Jabu and Taib about this. We can persuade them to cut down threes and planting palm oil at out area but asking for land title. The time is now for the aborigines to be awakened by the foolishness of the political party. They must wake up from their long sleep or else they will become intruder to their own mother land. The fact is that, we, the Aborigines in Padawan do not have the land title.

When can we have it?? Masing!

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