The Sarawak state government again denied allegations that titles for Native Customary Rights (NCR) land were purposely delayed to allow developers to develop the land and as a result deny the rights of the people.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department, Mohd Naroden Majais, said on Monday the NCR land was the people’s right and any development on it provided benefits to its owners through dividends as done by the Sarawak Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA).

“NCR land recorded with the tribal and community head is the people’s, the government has never seized that land, we develop abandoned land and the returns are given to the people,” he told reporters after the handing over land compensation in Kampung Sibuluh.

Mohd Naroden said that though NCR land were not given land titles, it did not mean natives were denied the rights to develop the land but to ensure the land was developed together with large companies especially for the oil palm planting.

He said the state government also did not want owners who received land grants to sell the land just to get quick money.

Mohd Naroden said much of NCR land in the state was developed for oil palm and the land owners received dividends on a rotation basis for 26 years.

He clarified that after that period, if the developer no longer wanted to develop the land, it would be returned to its owner.

“Normally the NCR land owner receives 25 per cent of benefits from the yield for 26 years and this is surely better than them selling the land and getting quick money,” he said.

Mohd Naroden said many people did not understand the concept of developing NCR land although many had benefitted from it.

On Monday, 104 land owners involved in the construction of Jalan Opar, relocation scheme and the building of community building in Bau received compensation amounting to RM3.5 million from the Sarawak state government. – Bernama