Uggah (front row, centre) and Abdul Latiff (front row, second left) upon arriving to Sebako Oil Palm Plantation here on Monday (Sept 14).

LUNDU: The landscape of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land in rural Sarawak is bound for a change following the state’s plan to utilise unused NCR land for the planting and replanting of oil palm.

Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed that a proposal on the matter would be forwarded to the Rural Development Ministry under the second rolling plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

“We have 27,250 hectares of land ready to be developed. We are only waiting for the allocations (to be given).

“We have been told to put forward our suggestion by January next year so that it can be considered in the second rolling plan (12MP) beginning 2022,” he said.

Uggah told reporters this after visiting ‘Program Pemajuan Kawasan (PPK) Metang Terap’ and Ladang Sawit Sebako Fasa 4 (Sebiris) here with Rural Development Minister, Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) played an important role in community development, particularly on providing ways to generate more incomes for landowners through its cultivation of their unused land.

Abdul Latiff (centre) and Uggah (right) being briefed during their visit to ‘Program Pemajuan Kawasan (PPK) Metang Terap’ and Ladang Sawit Sebako Fasa 4 (Sebiris).

“We have records showing where dividends have been given (to landowners) and so on,” he said, adding that the initiative had also provided job opportunities for the people.

Uggah said the proposal was also seen as a way to ’empower’ the use of NCR land in Sarawak.

“Salcra not only develops land. It is also responsible for determining the land titles for individuals issued under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code.

“The cost of the issuance of land titles is also free for the landowners. This is one of the benefits provided by Salcra to landowners,” he pointed out.

Uggah revealed that another proposal would also be made to the state government under the Sarawak Economic Action Council as part of the state’s post Covid-19 economic plan announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the business model included his ministry’s immediate proposal to develop unused NCR land.

“This will indeed change the landscape of the NCR land in rural areas,” he said.

Uggah also clarified that not all NCR land would be part of the proposed plan.

“It is only for those who agree to let Salcra develop their NCR land according to Salcra’s model.

“As I’ve mentioned, there is a lot of models — Salcra’s model, Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) model, and also NCR and private sector joint venture model. So they have a lot of choices,” he added.