Awang Tengah (second left) handing over the land titles to KK Camlee Motel (right) representing recipients from Kampung Sudoh Singai, while Jinep (left) and Abdullah Julaihi (second right) look on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

BAU: The state government will ensure that the native customary rights (NCR) land survey programme is continued, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

“Since a long time ago, the Sarawak government has always recognised authentic NCR land based on existing laws. In fact, we are conducting these land surveys to not only recognise but to help survey the land and give the titles,” he said.

He said the state government had being carrying out these land survey efforts since the 1960’s, but from then until 2010, only 260,000 hectares had been surveyed in the 50-year period.

“This averages out to 5,200 hectares a year,” he said when officiating at a land title handover ceremony at the Kampung Tanjong Poting Multipurpose Hall here today, at which 132 land titles were handed over to landowners.

Under the state government’s new NCR land survey initiative which involves two stages, the perimeter of the land is surveyed first and gazetted under Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code (SLC). Then, the second stage involves the survey of individual lots and issuance of land titles under Section 18.

“Through this new initiative, since 2010 until now we have successfully surveyed over 942,000 hectares, while over 750,000 hectares have been gazetted,” said Awang Tengah, who is also Urban Development and Resources Minister.

He added that these surveys were not done by force; they were based on applications while dialogues were also held with the people.

Awang Tengah (fifth right) with Jinep (sixth left), Abdullah Julaihi (fourth right), and other officials taking a group photograph with the land title recipients from Kampung Bobak Sajuong, Singai; Kampung Bobak Sajuong, Singai; and Kampung Tanjong Poting, Singai after the land title handover ceremony.

“If anyone is not confident that their land gazetted under Section 6 is proof that this is their land, they can surrender it back to the government. So far, not a single person has done so — in contrast, there have been many applications for land to be surveyed,” he said.

He said it was only politicking by certain quarters claiming that conducting land surveys under Section 6 of the SLC was a way for the government to seize people’s land. However, he countered that this was in fact the state government’s way of helping the people by speeding up land survey works.

“We must understand that our state government wants to help us,” he emphasised, pointing out that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had allocated RM40 million this year for the purpose of land survey works.

Awang Tengah also observed that now the land was passed from the older generation to the younger generation, with the handover ceremony involving many from the younger generation.

“What is important is we must take care of our land well so that we can make it a source to improve our standard of living and develop our socioeconomic
circumstances,” he said.

He also expressed appreciation for the close cooperation between the predominantly Bidayuh in Bau, Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Land and Survey Department (JTS), and ‘ketua masyarakat’ which had contributed to the smooth and efficient implementation of land surveys.

When met by reporters after the ceremony, he said that with regard to the Bau area, land perimeter surveys had been completed in Kampung Bobak Singai, with the land gazetted under Section 6 before proceeding to the second stage of survey works.

“So this second stage — the survey of individual lots — involves four villages in Bau, namely Kampung Sibuluh, Kampung Grogo, Kampung Barieng, and Kampung Apar,” he said, adding that the landowners of these individuals lots would be issued with land titles under Section 18 once the process was completed.

Also present at the ceremony were Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, JTS Sarawak director Abdullah Julaihi, Kuching Division Resident Sherrina Hussaini, other representatives, and community leaders.