Original vocal by Stephanie Cristal D.
Dispute between the government and community
This type of dispute are those that we often read in the media, and opened to distortion when it reaches the social media. Often the social media community do not have the full detail of the court cases and hence created so much perception on the fact of the case.
Sadly, netizen simply conclude that it is an act of land grab (ngerampas tanah). However, I have not known of any real case of land grab.
Nevertheless there are cases of land dispute due to acquisition of land for development, mostly agricultural development.
Dispute between the community themselves
I do hear that there are piles of cases related to this type of dispute and many have yet to be resolved. This type of dispute is best resolve at our Native Court.
NCR Land Ownership
To me, the first step of NCR ownership is for the government to recognize that the land is ours through the new NCR Land Initiative Perimeter Survey.
The fastest and cheaper way to recognize our land is via Sec. 6 of the Sarawak Land Code (SLC). Through the new NCR Land Initiative, the State government have been kind enough to bear the cost to conduct the perimeter survey. To-date (end 2018) some 1.2 million hectare have been recognized as NCR land under Sec.6 of the SLC.
Ultimately, NCR landowners will only be settled with the issuance of individual land title under Sec.18 of the SLC.
NCR landowners should be happier now that the Sarawak government is focussing on surveying of individual lots as announced by the Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan yesterday.
This however, would take a longer time and higher cost to conduct. Nevertheless, we are grateful to the State and Federal government for their allocation to bear the cost of this survey works. Without these allocations, the landowners would be helpless and their dream of having the land titles are in the far distance.
With the latest amendment to the Sarawak Land Code, we are now able to extract out our NCR land from any PL. The PL owner must also conduct actual survey to identify and extract out the NCR land before developing the said land. I am not a lawyer, so, any PL dispute prior to the amendment of the Sarawak Land Code will be best explained by lawyers themselves.
In the mean time, it will be good for us to begin identifying our land boundaries and to settle any dispute between the communities. The longhouses may set up a Land Survey Committee to manage this task and that all dispute are resolved.
By the time the Land and Survey Dept arrive at our longhouse to conduct the perimeter and/or individual lot survey, it will be smooth and save everyone of time and cost.
The above is my personal opinion. I may be wrong and be corrected.
Amendment to by-laws on longhouse design considered
The Sarawak government will consider amending the by-laws regarding construction of longhouses.
According to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, the matter should be studied first as it requires the feedback and acceptance from the rural longhouse communities.
He also points out that the amendments are considered to prevent fires, which often strike longhouses, in that the construction of every new longhouse must be in compliance with the set standard.
We see that we may have to amend the existing act and the by- laws under the council, which may be mandatory. But we cannot force such construction because we do not know if there’s any acceptance by the population, as every longhouse’s construction is a tradition. – CM Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg
It is known that Sarawak Building Ordinance (SBO) 1994 serves to regulate the implementation, development and construction of any extension to any building; and they must not be undertaken without the written approval from the local authorities.
Abang Johari said the amendments should also be examined not only by law, but also with reference from the Fire and Rescue Department before the construction of any building.
According to him, Sarawak has a standardized design for the construction of a new longhouse that includes the installation of a fire wall too, but this has not been made mandatory.
It is observed that there are longhouses, including one in Baram, that use the standardised design.
“There are some who follow the design, where they have empty space in the central section before the kitchen area; some do not follow it because it is not mandatory,” he said.
Earlier, Abang Johari declared the closing of the ‘Satok Community Fire Programme 2018’, where he was accompanied by Fire and Rescue Department Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman.
Source: The Borneo Post