Don't sell your land, develop it instead, Sarawak CM tells indigenous communities

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 Nov 2019

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (third right) closing a forum on Land Code amendments in Kuching. Also on stage are (from left) State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, former deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Ministers Tan Sri James Masing and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi.. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR

KUCHING: Sarawak's indigenous communities should keep their land for agriculture and other uses instead of selling it once titles have been issued to them, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

The Chief Minister said land was a valuable resource that could be used to generate income for landowners.

"This is my advice to you. Once you have titles to your land, don't sell it. If you sell the land, you will have no land left.

"So when you have the title, look after your land well. You can develop it, for example by doing smart farming with new technology to earn a higher income," he said when closing a forum on amendments to the state Land Code here on Thursday (Nov 21).

Abang Johari noted that while the indigenous communities were rich in terms of owning land, they were poor in terms of their income level.

“This is our dilemma. Why is it that we have land but we are poor? It's because the land is not developed.

"So we should develop our land and use it to meet the demands of the market, especially in food production," he said.

Abang Johari also said the state government amended the Land Code last year to give force of law to the custom of creating native territorial domain, including "pemakai menoa" (territorial domain) and "pulau galau" (communal forest reserve).

This came after the Federal Court ruled in December 2016 that "pemakai menoa" and "pulau galau" had no force of law in Sarawak.

"If we had not amended the Land Code, our people would have lost their rights to native territorial domain based on the court's decision," he said.

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