Don’t twist things

Tuai Rumah Engkabang (fourth right) presents a souvenir to Masing who visited his longhouse.

BINTULU: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has refuted accusations by certain quarters that the state government was using Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code to seize native customary rights (NCR) land.

Describing the accusations as unfounded, he explained that Section 6 was for the perimeter surveys of NCR land before issuance of land titles under Section 18.

“Some people try to twist things by saying that the state government took the land by carrying out the perimeter surveys of NCR land under Section 6,” he said at Majlis Mesra Rakyat at Rumah Engkabang Anggang, Mile 14 Jalan Bintulu-Miri, last Friday (Oct 30).

Masing pointed out that the sales of land under Section 6 could only happen with the consent of all landowners in a community.

“It is impossible for this to happen. Therefore, NCR landowners will not face the loss of land in the future,” he said.

“However, it can happen under Section 18 because individual landowners who have land ownership under this section can sell their land to any buyer.

“Land ownership under Section 18 is like giving cash to NCR landowners,” he added.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Port Development Minister, said he preferred NCR land to be surveyed only under Section 6.

He pointed out that the owners could make their land productive by cultivating them.