State govt urged to resolve land ownership issue at Long Terawan

MIRI: The state government has been requested to settle a case concerning land ownership at Long Terawan in Mulu, which has not been resolved in the last 20 years.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Hulu Rejang chairman Abun Sui Anyit highlighted this during a press conference on the issue yesterday, stressing that the government must fulfill its promise made during the last state election which was to return the land rights over to affected villagers.

“It was said that the land was supposed to be developed into an airport years ago, but the local landowners were against it. However in the last state election, they were told that the land had been gazetted (as Native Customary Rights – or NCR), which meant that it would be returned to the original landowners – around 60 of them,” he said.

Abun said according to NCR law, the affected landowner should have the right of compensation for the land under ‘Pemakai Menoa’ (territorial / communal domain).

“The Berawans have the term ‘Tana Latei Nyan Bakarang’, which has similar meaning with Pemakai Menoa. Moreover, the community has been occupying these areas hundreds of years and holding rights over the Mulu Caves,” he stressed.

According to Abun, the matter is still a court case, of which the proceeding is scheduled this Oct 21 at the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, Long Terawan natives who are currently residing here are urging the government to take the matter seriously, as it involves a large number of people who have rights over the said land.