Tuesday, 17 November 2009 02:01
KUCHING – An Opposition assemblywoman has charged that the BN state government’s native customary right (NCR) land development schemes have resulted in great injustice for the land owners whose quality of life has been jeopardised.
“The government takes pride in telling us that since 1996, only four out of 26 joint ventures were able to pay out pittance dividends amounting to a miserly sum of RM2.3mil that is merely two sen per hectare per year.
“What about the other 22 joint venture schemes? They have failed dismally, and as such not even one sen of dividend was ever paid to the NCR land owners,” said Ting Tze Fui (DAP-Meradong) said when debating the 2010 Supply Bill.
“The figures showed that the present NCR land development policy is deprivation and exploitation of the NCR land owners. Hence the Government has failed miserably,” she said.
She said the government claimed that the NCR land development schemes would provide more job opportunities for the Dayaks.
But Land Development Minister James Masing had on May 13 informed the state assembly that there were only 823 NCR landowners employed as workers in the joint venture schemes as against 1,215 foreign workers.
“Why? Because the natives could not accept the low salaries offered."
Land was also becoming increasingly scarce as the state has sliced up and granted titles to land-hungry companies and the well-connected elite for oil palm plantations, she said.
Self-reliance the key
On her Meradong constituency, she claimed that the state was trying to persuade NCR landowners in lower Julau and Ulu Binatang to take party in joint venture schemes with Sime Darby, covering some 37,000ha that would be used to grow oil palms.
Ting said NCR landowners are being promised dividends that may not materialise.
She said DAP proposed that the state survey all NCR land to determine land boundaries and issue individual titles to rightful landowners with conditions imposed so that they would always be protected.
She said the landowners should also receive technical and financial support for growing crops of their choice on their land so that they would eventually be independent.