The Sarawak state government is to constantly look for ways to enhance Native Customary Rights (NCR) land development programmes.gramong-juna

Assistant Land Development Minister Datuk Gramong Juna (pic) said the state Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA or Pelita) and the taskforce on NCR land development had been entrusted to “tighten the loose ends” to give the maximum returns to the owners and to encourage more new participants.

He spoke to the media after officiating at a ceremony to pay cash incentives and dividends to landowners involved in the Boustead Pelita and the Teamplete Pelita oil palm plantations here today.

A group of 174 people from 22 longhouses who participated in the Teamplete Pelita plantation received incentives totalling RM70,180, just in time for their shopping in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak festival next Monday.

They also received letters of confirmation of ownership of their individual plots in the plantation, issued by LCDA.

Another group of 1,701 people from 126 longhouses, who are co-participants in the Boustead Pelita Kanowit plantation covering some 14,000 hectares, received a total of RM1.678 million in dividends.

Gramong said that from last year the government had decided that all participants of NCR land development statewide would receive RM150 per hectare as incentive every year.

“They will enjoy this until they get the dividend payments. It will take quite a while for the company to start paying the dividends as it has to wait for the oil palms to mature and bear fruit and for the harvesting,” he said.

On the Kanowit commercial oil palm industry, which is a pilot project to develop idle NCR land in the state, he said it was now a success despite the many initial doubts, fears and other obstacles.

“We plan to open up more land here soon. The country’s second largest oil palm producer, the IOI Group, for instance, is developing 7,000 hectares in Melipis.

“Soon, two other companies are coming to respectively develop 8,000 and 17,000 hectares in two places here,” he said.