Villagers Don’t Want Land Gazetted as National Park

Villagers with Native Customary Rights claims in Bukit Sarang are calling on the government not to gazette land at Bukit Sarang as a national park. Read more below about what this national park could mean for local villagers and why they were not informed of this proposal from the start.

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LAND CLAIM: Selan (third left) and other longhouse folk show maps and documents on the area.

LAND CLAIM: Selan (third left) and other longhouse folk show maps and documents on the area.

MIRI: Villagers claiming to be from 14 longhouses in Sungai Kakus, Tatau have called on the government not to gazette land at Bukit Sarang as a national park.

This is because they claim the area is their Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

“There is no more land for the villagers to grow crops and live on if this NCR land is already gazetted, as the surrounding land is already owned by private companies and planted with acacia trees,” Selan Jau, 43, from Rumah Ado told the media yesterday.

Selan claimed his group represents villagers from five Punan longhouse, four Iban longhouses, four Bekitan longhouses and one Tatau longhouse.

He claimed they only learned that Bukit Sarang is a national park after a villager learned of the expiry date to claim NCR on the land on Aug 13.

According to him, the villagers were surprised the authorities concerned did not inform them of their intentions during a recent dialogue.

He claimed that he is the sixth generation in his family to live in the area and the land had been used by his ancestors to fish, as well as look for jungle produce and fruits.

“Where do our people live and plant crops if our NCR land is taken away and there will be no more fish and animals to catch?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Kalong Kayong, 44, from Rumah Arjey Kenai also said that land surrounding the longhouse is owned by private companies, which planted acacia trees.

He added that the group may bring their claim to court.

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“Villagers Don’t Want Land Gazetted as National Park.” The Borneo Post.  21 Aug 2013. Web. <http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/08/21/villagers-dont-want-land-gazetted-as-national-park/