‘Don’t sue, we’ll give back your land’

Angry native families in five villages in Sarawak have threatened to sue a company belonging to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s son Bekir for allegedly grabbing their NCR land.

(Free Malaysia Today) – The office of embattled Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has allegedly promised to return land belonging to 495 native families if they did not proceed with a writ to sue his son’ company.

Sarawak PKR information chief See Chee How said that 490 families of Kampung Sempadi, Kampung Sungai China, Kampung Stoh, Kampung Kangka and Kampung Setia Jaya (also known as Kampung Ulu Riam) were told by Taib’s political secretary that they should not proceed with a writ to sue Polar Horizon Sdn Bhd, a company managed by Titanium which belongs to Taib’s son Bekir.

“We were supposed to file the suit yesterday (Thursday), but the day before yesterday (Wednesday) the villagers received a call from the political secretary to the chief minister asking them not to file the suit, promising them the provisional leases (PL) on their native customary rights (NCR) land will be cancelled.

“And the land will be returned to them,” said See, lawyer for the villagers.

See said that the villagers gave him (the political secretary) 24 hours to get the letter from the Land and Survey Department.

“Then yesterday they received a call again, saying that all the state assemblymen were meeting in Bintulu and he cannot get the letter. But they would give the letter next week and asked them not to file the writ today or Monday,” he said.

See said that Polar Horizon had sued the natives and Rona Hijau Sdn Bhd with whom the natives had a joint-venture agreement to develop over 2,135 hectares of land, accusing them of encroaching into its land and chasing away the villagers from the land.

The villagers in response filed their defence last week, declaring that the issuance of the provisional leases to Polar Horizon is unconstitutional, illegal and as such null and void. They claimed the provisional leases issued by the state encroached into native customary rights (NCR) land of the native residents from the five villages.


The natives have been occupying the land in Kampung Sempadi since 1902 and in the early 1920s had began clearing and cultivating the land.

Since 2005, the villagers have been involved in planting oil palm in parts and had converted some areas of their individual NCR land into smallholdings of oil palm gardens.

With the consent of the villagers in the respective kampungs, village committees and representatives of the villagers had negotiated with various plantation developers and management companies to develop parts of their NCR land into oil palm plantations and estates through joint- venture agreements.

In 2007, the natives entered into agreement with Rona Hijau, which had cleared and planted oil palm and had spent hefty sum of monies.

But on Feb 3, 2010, the Land and Survey Department had agreed to lease the NCR land to Polar Horizon.

Polar Horizon then filed a suit against Rona Hijau and allegedly issued eviction notices to the natives, claiming they had been given provisional leases for the land.

The natives in their counter claim want a declaration that the issuance of the provisional leases to the Polar Horizon is unlawful, improper, and unconstitutional and was therefore null and void.

The natives also want a prohibitory injunction restraining the Polar Horizon and or their employees or agents from trespassing, clearing, taking possession and or occupation of their NCR land.

They are also asking for costs, damages and such further and or other relief as the court deems fit and just.