KUCHING, Oct 25 — Tan Sri Adenan Satem can prevent more deaths by establishing a Land Rights Commission to deal with disputes between natives and plantation companies, Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said today.
He added that the idea had been proposed earlier this year by no less than the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.
“Having been given a strong mandate by the people, I hope that Adenan and his Cabinet will see fit to give the native landowners this avenue for registering their claims and swift resolution of their disputes,” the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman said.
He said the latest dispute in Ulu Balingian, Mukah last night which resulted in the death of one man and caused serious injury to another could have been avoided if there is a venue for the landowners to register their claims over their customary lands.
Baru also urged Sarawakians to allow the police to investigate properly and not take the law into their hands.
“I trust that all parties will give their full co-operation to the investigation team,” he said.
Baru said the news about the latest land dispute death came as shock to him, four months after the murder of PKR Miri branch secretary and NCR land activist Bill Kayong.
Kayong, who stood as a PKR candidate for Bekenu seat, was shot dead at Jalan Miri-Kuala Baram about 8.20am on June 21.
Three men have been charged in court with Kayong’s murder while the mastermind, said to be an oil plantation owner, was reported to have fled to Australia.
Baru said in last night’s dispute, the victim appears to be from the plantation company’s side but the issue is that a life was being lost unnecessarily because of government policies which impact the native community’s life and livelihood.
A village headman was also seriously injured in the dispute.