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April 23, 2010

SUHAKAM blames Land and Survey Department for land disputes

Filed under: Human Rights,NCR Land Issues — Pengayau @ 1:22 am

The Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) has put the blame on the Land and Survey Department for the constant occurrences of land disputes between the natives and the government in Sarawak.

Siva Subramaniam, head of SUHAKAM complaints working group said that the department simply issued land leases or titles to companies without conducting ground survey.

“Instead, the department gives approvals by merely sitting in the office,” he said at a dialogue with Kampung Stenggang.

He suggested that the staff of the department should conduct ground survey first before issuing land leases or titles to companies.

“It is improper and impractical for the department to approve land applications without checking. It is unbelievable, but unfortunately the present normal practice of the department is that it will give approvals based on the aerial photographs of the land acquired, and most of the time the information would be different from the actual land status,” he pointed out.

Of course the staff could not be wholly blamed because they executed their duties according to the existing procedures and regulations.

Partly to be blame, said Subramaniam, are the State lawmakers, the State assemblymen as they failed to rectify the Land Code.

“They should do something to prevent more land disputes from occurring. This is actually the root to the land issue problems that we are facing now.

“If the land policy is not going to be reviewed, I am worried that the indigenous people will gradually lose their native customary rights over their land.

“The problem here is the natives may have the rights over the land but every time if there is a dispute when other parties are being issued titles for the same plots of land, the natives will still lose their case because they don’t have the documents to prove that is their land,” he said.

Several people including the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala have been calling on the state government to survey native customary rights land and issue titles to such land in order to solve the NCR land disputes.

Until now, the State government has not responded to the calls.

The dialogue was held following complaints by the villagers of Kampung Stenggang in Bau who have accused that the Land and Survey Department of allegedly “robbing” their native customary rights land and has leased them to a company without their knowledge.

The land which is about 1,986 hectares is within the vicinity of their village and the department has awarded provisional lease to a company.

They had lodged a complaint with several authorities including Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM).

They had also lodged a Police report against the illegal encroachment of their land which they had cultivated many rounds for generations since 1920.


  1. It is important to get a professional survey done when trying to resolve a property dispute or a title argument. It sounds as though not everything is being done in the best possible way, but that doesnt alter the fact that a well carried out land survey would be the appropriate way to deal with this sort of situation.

    Comment by Arlington Land Survey — September 30, 2010 @ 11:00 am | Reply

    • But bear in mind,the State Government did not recognise Pulau Galau and Pemakai Menoa as part of NCR

      Comment by Pengayau — October 20, 2010 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

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