Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang should explain the status of those native customary rights (NCR) land in Betong upon which ‘Getah IRAD (Risda) is being planted.
PKR Betong branch chairman Vernon Aji Kedit, who made this call, said Jabu could not keep mum on this important issue as he is ultimately responsible for introducing the Getah IRAD scheme in Betong, which had surreptitiously led to native land being surveyed under the perimeter survey exercise as stated in a statement by the state Agriculture Department.
Vernon is worried that if only the Temuda lands were surveyed and gazetted, then the Pemakai Menoa and
Pulau Galau lands could have been reverted to become state land. Further, Temuda land surveyed and gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code can be resumed as state land. too.
That, he said, would be disastrous to the rightful land owners as state land could be alienated and sold by the government to a third party without their knowledge.
“A few days ago, I asked the Minister of Agriculture regarding the status of the NCR lands in Betong upon which Getah IRAD (Risda) is planted. He has not responded to date.
“However, a statement, purportedly prepared by Wilson Entabang, AD (IC/Rubber), Agriculture HQ, 14th Floor, Wisma Pelita, Petrajaya, was circulated on social media and posted by Tony Malang, a Jasa officer based in Betong, on his Facebook wall.
“The statement attempted to answer my question as it was entitled ‘PKR Sarawak Questions to Minister MOMA’,” Vernon said in a press statement yesterday.
Vernon, who is PKR’s potential candidate for Layar in the coming state election, said the statement only attempted to portray the benefits and advantages of the scheme.
“I never objected to the scheme in my earlier statement. Rather, I was asking the minister to clarify the NCR status of the lands on which this scheme has been implemented.”
However, he said, the answer to his question was hinted in the final and last line of the statement, which states: “The Department of Agriculture Sarawak are very thankful to L & S Department Sarawak, especially in relating to the perimeter survey initiative.”
Vernon said the statement by the state Agriculture Department implied that the lands on which Getah IRAD had been planted were surveyed under the Perimeter Survey exercise by Land and Survey Department.
“This final line from the Agriculture HQ statement raises even more questions. Was only the Temuda lands surveyed, leaving out the Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau lands? Under which section of the Land Code have these lands
been gazetted ? Section 6 is ‘Native Communal Reserve’, meaning `Tanah Gunasama’ (Land shared by the Government with the Natives) or Section 18, which is ‘Grants to Natives’.
“If only the Temuda lands were surveyed and gazetted, then the hot question is whether Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau lands have reverted to become state land.”
He pointed out that state land could be alienated and sold by the government to a third party based on government premiums and schedules (rates per hectare).
“The third party can further sell alienated lands to timber companies and oil-palm conglomerates for a huge profit. Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau in Betong that have been left out of the perimeter survey would automatically become state land and become profitable real estate.
“Unfortunately, these prime real estates might have been taken away from the rightful owners in Betong without their knowledge. Even the Temuda land surveyed and gazetted under Section 6 can be resumed as state land and alienated for sale, as provided for in Section 6.3 and 6.4 of the Land Code.”
Vernon Aji Kedit