KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) supreme council member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has no right to tell the Sarawak government how to handle issues governing Native Customary Right (NCR) land, said Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Masing.
He said the laws concerning the acquisition of NCR land in Sarawak was very clear and Sarawak had no need for outsiders like Zaid, who is PKR national political bureau member, to give their opinions.
“There are two reasons why NCR land has to be acquired. One is when they are used for national parks. The other is when they are needed for development.
“In both cases, the NCR land owners will be consulted and they are duly compensated,” Masing told The Borneo Post at his residence here yesterday.
He was commenting on Zaid’s statement on the acquisition of land in Ulu Sebuyau where the land was given back to the owners after it was gazetted as a national park.
In that particular case, the land dispute was settled out of court.
Masing said the case in Ulu Sebuyau could be an isolated case.
He pointed out that to acquire any NCR land for, say, the establishment of national parks, the government would normally hold dialogues with the land owners and at times hold lengthy discussions.
“The same happens when the government acquires land for development. They are acquired under Section 47, with full compensation to the owners,” he stressed.
Masing said confusion could arise when there was a dispute over land ownership, which could mean that the land could belong either to the state or under NCR.
“If the land is disputed, the government is not the arbitrary, meaning the people could still bring the matter to court,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Masing, who is also president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), said the people should not be hoodwinked by the opposition as the Barisan Nasional (BN) had proven to be a fair government to all communities.
“The BN system of government is indispensable as it represented all races in the country,” he said.
The PKR, DAP and PAS is just trying to sway the people in Sarawak in the light of the coming State election, he said.