The government's decision to spend a big amount of money annually to address Native Customary Rights (NCR) land matters is fully supported by Persatuan Melayu Sarawak (PMS) but at the same time, PMS wants to know why the record does not show the funds being spent for surveying Malay and Melanau lands.
"We support the government for giving RM80 million a year to address NCR issue, focusing on surveying. The question is I believed what Datu Sanib said that 2,000,000 hectares have been recognised, but zero for the Melanau, zero for the Malays. That RM80 million a year have no benefit for us.
"We would like the government to consider this issue to reduce the disparity between the Dayaks and the Malays and Melanau," PMS president Datuk Bolhassan Di told The Borneo Post.
The former assistant minister said the Malay and Melanau communities did apply for NCR rights but was overruled.
"People have applied for lands, reserve lands, slow in forthcoming but by the time they know about the land, it has been taken for plantations. This hopefully is not a typical case in Sarawak, I think it is where people apply for 1,500 acres of land for their community suddenly they realised that this have been included in somebody PL (provisional lease), when they report about the PL, nothing was done about it," Bolhassan said.
Bolhassan said the Malay and Melanau communities are disappointed and are seeking for answers by meeting the rightful authority to seek a win-win solution.
"This is what it is. There is disappointment among our communities. Again, I want to stress that 2,000,000 hectares have been identified for the Dayaks but zero for the Malays and Melanau, so far. The areas of NCR belonging to Malays and Melanau have not been identified, I am not saying it is zero but it must be identified and logged.
"That is why we must go and see the Land and Survey Department to find out why there is zero NCR for Malays and Melanau whereas Dayaks got 2 millions hectares," he explained.