Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sabah Government Continues Hoodwinking Natives?

Sabahans today celebrated Malaysia Day with disgust and fuming that the UMNO/BN Government of Sabah have completely forgotten historical facts.While these 'misinformed politicians' may not have altered history,but their 'non-committal' in addressing and setting the record straight has further confirmed that UMNO/BN Sabah are mere stooges to their political masters.Actually I strongly suggest and urge UMNO/BN in Sabah to resign en-block as they have failed miserably in addressing an issue which have been going on for the last 46 years.

But today,I'm fuming on another important issue where the UMNO/BN Government of Sabah has played an active role in conspiring with the constant robbing of native ancestral land and in cahoots with huge plantation corporation.The natives of Sabah have been robbed and raped of their lands,and yet the government has not only turned their eye away but has down graded the natives to mere squatters.Ironically the three(3) Kadazan based political parties,PBS,UPKO and PBRS which claim to defend the rights of the Kadazan Murut community,have now shamelessly failed in their cause to protect their rights.

I had the opportunity to speak to Datuk Kong Hong Ming,a lawyer and Native Customary Rights(NCR) activist recently,with regards to native customary rights and this is what he had to say..........

Datuk Kong Hong Ming (left) today urged the State Government and Department of Lands & Surveys to give priority and act immediately to settle land ownership claimed by the natives of Sabah who are losing their ancestral land and land acquired by native customary rights (NCR) in stead of offering lip-service.

According to Kong, native customary right in the form of customary tenure, even without any document of title, confers a permanent heritable and transferable right over occupancy and use of land under our system of land law.

In his statement today, Kong disputed the statement of the Director of Lands & Surveys Sabah, Datuk Osman Jamal claiming that the State Government and Department of Lands & Surveys never neglected their duty to protect the rights and privileges of the native community in terms of land ownership.

“His statement was misleading and did not reflect the predicament encountered by the native community in Sabah claiming for land ownership. On the contrary, what is really happening is that the natives of Sabah have been and are losing their ancestral land rapidly to the extent that many natives are now landless people, whether knowingly or otherwise” Kong responded.

Kong said, “Either the Director did not know the present predicament and plight of the native community in Sabah or he intended to mislead the people and the BN political leaders in believing that all is well insofar as the land rights and ownership of the Sabah natives are concerned.”

“To understand the dire situation faced by the natives in Sabah in respect of their appeals for help due to encroachment and loss of ownership in land, the Director could verify with the State Attorney General Chambers and all District Land Offices where there are a large numbers of court cases and land disputes outstanding and accumulating.” Kong said.

“If the BN State Government and its leaders respect and protect the land rights and ownership of the indigenous people of Sabah, the State Government especially the Chief Minister as minister in charge should have the political will and immediately direct the Department of Lands & Surveys to conduct the settlement exercise to identify and settle all NCR lands in the State by issuing individual and communal land titles as provided in the Sabah Land Ordinance.” Kong suggested.

“The fact that the State Government and Lands & Surveys Department had now given a speedy approval letter for the land alienated for the Mazu statue and temple speaks for itself since it was only made possible by personal intervention by Sabah Chief Minister (right) himself in the unusual circumstances.” Kong said.

Kong disclosed, “The promising picture painted by the Director was merely a good public relation exercise by the Director which did not reflect the real sentiment of the natives of Sabah who are helplessly suffering from the massive loss of their ancestral land due to indiscriminate alienation of huge acreages of land by the Chief Minister Department and Lands & Surveys Department to many large corporations including government agencies, which subsequently entered into joint ventures with private corporations.”

“The painful truth is that the Sabah natives have been crying out loud for the past 10 years for the massive loss of their ancestral land and land acquired by native customary rights (NCR) which were continuously encroached, destroyed and taken away from them through alienations by the State Government.” Kong said

Kong said “The indigenous people of Sabah (left) had voiced out their plight and frustration to the State Government in many occasions. But their voices were never heard or respected.”

“Sometime in 2006 and again in February 2008, not less than 32,352 natives from 18 districts of Sabah had voiced out their grievances and came out appealing to the government to respect, defend and protect against encroachment of their ancestral land for a collective area of 339,984 acres in 18 kampungs in the State. More than 100 representatives from 18 districts led by Galus Ahtoi of PACOS (Partners of Community Organization) gathered at Kota Kinabalu and jointly submitted a memorandum to the Head of State of Sabah, Sabah chief minister, Suhakam, State Secretary, State Attorney General and the Director of Lands & Surveys himself.” Kong said.

“Despite their protests and appeals, nothing was done by the State Government in taking step to preserve, protect and respect their land rights and ownership. On the contrary, huge acreages of state land to the extent of 20,000 acres to 60,000 hectares per land title were alienated to powerful corporations without any due consideration to the existing rights in of the natives’ ancestral land and NCR land that they and their forefathers have occupied and cultivated for generations.”

“One of the major causes for the massive losses of ancestral land rightfully belonging to the natives was due to the excessive time-consuming process practiced by Lands & Surveys Department between land application and issuance of land title. In many cases, it could take as long as more than 30 years and still waiting. Another major cause of concerned is that natives have to compete with big corporations for land due to heavy demands for agricultural land for oil palm plantations. Due to the lack of financial resources, natives always lose out and give up at the end.” Kong said.

“Over the years, it is generally perceived by ordinary citizens especially natives of the remote villages that the State has been more readily to alienate large acreages of land to selected individuals or corporations whose primary or sole objective is out to amass land for wealth accumulation rather than for basic need or livelihood. At the same time, land applications and alienation can be such a complex procedure and lengthy process for natives who are in dire need of small acreages of farmland to support their basic livelihood and survival. It is rather common in Sabah that natives have been waiting for more than 30 years for document of title to the land that they applied. One of those many cases is the natives in Tongod of Kinabatangan.” Kong said.

“Some 24,000 acres were alienated to a company in 1998 in a single land application submitted in 1997 whereas Tongod natives had applied much earlier for 5 to 15 acres per family since 1975 and have been there as a village community comprising of 12 kampungs for not less than 7 generations. They and their forefathers were owners of the land by adat or custom long before the British Chartered Company or at least well before the formation of any state government. The State Government through Lands & Surveys Department in one single approval took away their land without any due regard to the people’s existing rights and their livelihood and survival.” Kong said.

“Never ignore the fact that natives of Sabah were often the victims of uncontrolled logging activities and indiscriminate land development schemes including by Government land agencies. Public officials so often seized opportunity to limit, delay, disregard and reject claims by native community based on NCR or their land applications submitted earlier in time but instead to facilitate by giving preferential treatments to applications later in time to selected powerful individuals and corporations.

“Depriving customary land of the natives can be construed as depriving their livelihood, which is unconstitutional in violation of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees that no person shall be deprived of his life which includes the rights to livelihood except in accordance with law. Further, the taking away or extinguishments of customary land from native or alienation of customary land without compensation was discriminatory, unfair and unconstitutional thereby violated Article 8 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees equality before the law. Moreover, the taking away or extinguishments of customary land from natives or the alienation of customary land without compensation was unconstitutional on the ground that it is in violation of Article 13 which guarantees that no person shall be deprived of his property without adequate compensation and save according to law.

“The State and its administrators have a general fiduciary and constitutional obligation to protect the welfare of the natives and a specific obligation to protect and preserve the native customary and proprietary rights in land. In the premises, they must act for the benefits of the said native community as the beneficiaries. Any deprivation of customary land belonging to the native communities and their future generations is to deprive them of their sources of food, water, rivers, medicines, wildlife, other forest produce which the said native communities need and are dependant upon for their livelihood and daily sustenance.

“Now by his own admission, the Director has finally conceded after all these years that his Department and State Government are incapable of handling the many land applications submitted by natives with some 265,000 remaining outstanding, which is very alarming as the backlogs have accumulated since 1975 until now and continuing.

“Based on their working capacity of 16,000 applications per year, the future and prospect of obtaining native land rights and ownership is indeed very bleak for the Sabah natives.

“Street demonstration is never our culture, especially for Sabah indigenous people. The native community in Sabah clearly has a legitimate claim against the State Government for neglects and breach of duty in defending protecting and preserving the rights and interests of the native community in Sabah” Kong said.

“The natives of Sabah are running out of time. It is now or never. In reality, the natives are not only demanding respect for their land rights and ownership of property which were legally belonging to them, they are in fact preserving, defending and protecting their livelihood, survival as well as culture, tradition and custom.” Kong said.


  1. hhmmm... what a sad story...
    Hopefully the authorities will help the natives of Sabah....

  2. hmm... quite a good article.. at least I've got new information:)
    I just hope the authorities who have the POWER look into this problem seriously for all benefits...

  3. Sedihnya baca artikel ni... Tapi apapun menunding jari bukanlah penyelesaian yang terbaik...
    Jadi lebih baik cari jalan keluar dari masalah ini...
    Apapun, diharapkan pihak yang mempunyai autoriti & kuasa untuk menyelesaikan perkara ini dapat berbuat sesuatu sebelum terlambat...

  4. Jeffery must be the one behind this article.
    Heh heh Ayub Aman has been talking about this problem.
    On the other hand the natives are to be blame themselve for being too greedy for allowing this to happen. And who else to be blamed the native leaders themselve like Pairin, Kurup, and the rest of the so called KDMs leaders. What puzzles me is why is a Chinese Kong Hong Ming is fighting for the native right. Is it just for political mileage. The big big Chinese towkays are also to be blamed working behind the scene with KDMs ministers and YBs to hentam the NT land. Some Chinese tycoons even went to the extend of bribing the KAN Ketua Anak Negeri and got their Bumiputra certificates when in fact they do not even have a drop og bumi blood in them. Some cannot even speak simple Malay.
    Don't only blame the present govt, all these things happened even since the Berjaya era until today.

  5. both sabah and sarawak government are corrupted to the bone yet people still vote for this BN tyrant. do people of sabah ever learn from mistake? can any sabahan here answer me?

  6. To be honest,all the political parties are totally craps.If they do concern about Sabah rights in protecting their native lands,I dont think this matter will be dragged until now.Guess what?I even heard some of the WM people who called us STUPID for being so easy to sell our lands to them.We can't depend on political parties to defend ourselves.We need ourselves,we need our dignities,we need our unity to chase away those craps from invading our beloved lands!

  7. Ronnie, 16th September is a special day to all Malaysians, especially to the people of Sabah and Sarawak. Thank you for bringing up this issue of public interest on this day which is not only a concern to the natives of Sabah and Sarawak but to all Malaysians who respect and uphold human rights, justice and dignity of man and have a heart for the oppressed.

    No one can change historical facts and events, hence, 31st of August is our Independance Day whereas 16th of September is our Malaysia Day, the day when Malaysia was formed by the Federated States of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak as 3 equal partners.

    Many people in Sabah are asking what happened if Sabah then known as North Borneo did not participate in or withdraw from the formation of Malaysia when Singapore pull out? Or what would have happened if Sabah and Sarawak stayed together with Brunei or with Singapore as one national entity? What then would have happened to Malaysia? No one know. But we do know how Singapore and Brunei are proressing as compared with Malaysia in particular Sabah and Sarawak.

    One may says that is on hindsight. However, thi is neither the time for regrets.

    The time has come for all Malaysians to acknowledge and accept the urgent need to resolve and redress the diffences, injustices and imbalances between the east and west Malaysia in this nation building.

    There are much injustices and inequities to the people of Sabah and Sarawak in particular to the indigenous people there. Injustices were caused by the neglects and arrogance of the ruling Government and their leaders under the disguise and pretext of bringing development to the people but at the expenses of the people who are the beneficiaries of the state resources. But who are the beneficairies of these imposed development and exploitation of the state resources fter years of exploitation of our timber resouces, oil reserves and now our land resources due to the hunt for good agricultural land for oil palm plantations especially by the giant planters from peninsular Malaysia.

    Naturally, the poor and helpless natives of Sabah were and still are usual victims. Inevitably, in the not too distant future, the state will inherit another problem from within, that is, the landless people of the State, other than the stateless people from the Philipines and Indonesia. This is actually happening becuase thousands and thousands of land have been are being alienated to powerful corporations without any regards to the existing rights and interests of the indigenous people who and their forefathers have been occupying and cultivaring for generations long before the British Colonial Rule and certainly before the formation of any form of government in Sabah and Malaysia. Indigenous are being displaced and reduced to landless people.

    There is no or insignificant respect from the ruling government that colonization or the formation of the state and federal governments was incumbered with the existing rights and interests of the indigenous people which have been held by them since time immemorial and which hnot been extinguished by law.

    Let's respect, preserve, defend and protect the last resource that the natives have inherited from their tradition and custom until such time when this BN government and legislators have the gut to enact any new law to dispute and extinguish NCR, which will indeed be a testing time and challenge to the politicians who are voted by the people to represent them in the State Assembly. Just a comment from me in honour of this 16th of September.

  8. The Politicians in the UMNO/BN Sabah Government have excessive baggage and many skeletons in their closet.They don't have the balls to say anything,a whisper will land them in jail.

    Sabahans must take it upon themselves to effect changes and throw UMNO/BN out of Sabah.They have not only over stayed their presence but have the bloody cheek to say that Sabah and Sarawak is the true story behind 1Malaysia,according to Najis.

    If the people of Sabah and Sarawak are truly 1Malaysia,then Najis and his bandwagon of thieves and con artist didn't actually do anything,because 1Malaysia actually existed for the last 46 years.

    Now Najis is beginning to hoodwink West Malaysians.What a switch.

  9. We really appreciate and welcome eye and mind- opening articles such as these. The elderly natives in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak has to know the truth. They need to know how and who are robbing them of their ancestral and NCR land. They must vote the BN robbers out of the govt.

  10. It is hard to believe that most of the natives land here were invaded.I hardly imagine those ministers who vow to protect our rights but failed to deliver any sort of help.It was totally a shame.Sabahans are often labelled as 'fool,stupid and uneducated'in protecting lands.West Malaysians and Sarawakians are finding their ways to grab a land in Sabah and shamelessly claim they are one of the natives here.Imagine in few years time,Sabah is no longer belong to its place.

  11. Having joined partnership in Malaysia was a mistake for North Borneo. But having joined in and surrendered their rights and priveleges by Sabah leaders to please the Federal leaders was the real disaster for Sabahan. Just wonder whether Sabahan know they were doomed the day when UMNO stepped foot in Sabah?

  12. This is good stuff from a serious politician, a breath of fresh air to me. A must-read for all natives. Natives in Sabah must wake up and seriously think about your future before it is too late.

  13. Why no one talked about this land issue on native customary right all these years? It is simply amazing that natives have obtained right in land even without holding any land title. Our government has kept all natives in the dark for too long.

  14. Lands and surveys department is one of the most corrupted and dirtiest departments in Sabah. They will bury your land applications till kingdom come if you do not know your way around them. And you know what I mean.

  15. so sad..where is pairin, kurup, dompok? teethless like my grandma..they should resign!!

  16. Kudos to Saudara Ronnie and Kong in highlighting this very important issue.Your patriotism and bravery will hopefully wake Sabahans up.

  17. Kudos to the blogger,he is certainly check mating Chief Minister Musa Aman and his entire UMNO/BN bandwagon of rapist,robbers and con-artist.Only the people of Sabah are aware on the significance of Malaysia Day,whereas the entire UMNO/BN couldn't care two hoots as long as they reap more $$$$$ for themselves.

    Land is sacred to the natives in Sabah,and here you have 3 Kadazan/Dusun/Murut based political parties who have done nothing for the natives.Huguan Siou of what?Pairin,Dompok and Kurup are an embarrassment to the native community.

    Sabahans,how much longer do you want to be hoodwink and raped?Kick this bloody UMNO/BN out of Sabah.Pakatan Rakyat will be a much better government.


  18. The present Director of Land and Survey cares
    no for 'hoots' in respect of native customary
    land. He is a Bugis origin and all this while he has been assisting his country man to acquire native. Get rid of him lah!

  19. Well, Sabah had been ruled by BN for decades and now the people have seen the injustices and inequalities of the BN govt.

    How can the natives tolerate such acts when rightly NCR lands are being converted for the rich tycoons benefit ?.

    The state BN govt is arrogant in respecting individual rights by denying even the Mazu temple to be build and now wants to split the Chinese by offering another piece for the Hainanese Mazu temple.

    Enough is enough.

  20. yes, yes where is Pairin, Kurup, Dompok and all the so called KDMs leaders....
    Too busy filling up their own pockets

  21. Mistakes were made and there's nothing we can thing we can do is to prevent it from being repeated again. Drastic measures and actions may be necessary and sacrifices has to be made.....there has to be a kind of revolution, geopolitical and ideological changes, sort of 'Changing of the Guards'and then we can let our grandchildren reap its bountiful harvest.

  22. If this is true, why does the natives not vote BN out then? Are the natives that are suffering only the minority? I mean, BN holds 59 seats out of 60 seats in Sabah. That musst mean that the majority of people still benefit under the rule of BN right? Or else, why vote them?

  23. Very sad that the poor Dusun, Kadazan and Murut once the majority in Sabah are unlikely to keep their ancestral land that were passed down to them by their forefathers. Shame on you all KDM leaders.

  24. Can you guarantee that by changing of the guards the same scenario will not happen?

  25. ancestral land taken away by big coporation is not new news....kampung folks are so used to waiting for 30 years applying land title.
    SADly, these things still happening, WHY ? The answer is simple. kampung folks do not aware of their rights. When they spent hours "naik kereta" go to district office (Lands & Surveys department), been told that their application is still pending, or the officer not-in (tea time !), they quietly go back and come back next month or next year....this process repeats itself many times...Just go to district offices to find out yourself !!

    we argue here with all facts and good remedial proposal but USELESS unless kampung folks read & understand it. Suggest NGO to do "KEMPEN KESEDARAN HAK HAK TANAH ORANG KAMPUNG" immediately. Besides, tell them what is the correct process Land Title application, average processing time, if no reply from Lands & Surveys who shall they complain to.....etc. When all the kampung folks aware of their right and channels, sure complaints will surface and things will improve. Otherwise, things will not change even after BN !!

    orang ulu ulu kota marudu

  26. If no change, it will be forever the same. There is a chance for a change to change the government for now.

  27. 1 malaysian in SABAH has been eroded by these UMNO. Sad:( These ....... spoilt our multi-culture !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Now how come nobody is writing now. all scared of Government crackdown on bloggers?
    The more the govt control the internet the more they lost business. The world will shun Malaysia away>

  29. UMNO/BN philosophy of good governance,lie to the people,brainwash their minds,rob whatever the people have,reap all the money in projects it's only commission,have as many mistresses,take land that doesn't belong to us,issue as many MyKads as possible so that we get more votes(winning at any cost),keep telling the people lies about the opposition.

    With all these things happening,Sabahans why are you still supporting UMNO/BN?

    Uncle Lim.

  30. All that is happening is no surprise at all.For sadly, the Sabahan politicians has invariably inherited the corrupt nature of the West Malaysian politicians.That's UMNO for you Sabahan.And you will continue to be UMNO's fixed deposit for as long as UMNO ruled Sabah in cahoot with your equally corrupt Sabahan political allies.

  31. Saya memang pening kalau pasal tanah ni... Banyak sangat red tape untk dapatkan geran tanah...
    Tetapi selagi berusaha pasti ada jalan keluar la... Sekarang ni pun saya sudah ikut setiap prosuder yang ditetapkan.. harap-harap selesailah masalah saya ni cepat.....

  32. What a sad story... BUT what else can we do???
    For now we can only hope and pray 1 day everything will be OK :)

  33. Is there anything else we can do about this?
    hmm... I'm out of words:P

  34. So Emy awak da dapat geran ka? Mesti susah kan pengurusannya? Tambah lagi deal dengan orang gov ni... Banyak sangat alasan!
    Syukur saya tak pernah alami... hehehehehe

  35. For now we can only hope our leaders will help us... the rest let's wait an see :)

  36. On the way da Ketiauman... agak susah juga la tapi kalau dibiarkan nanti menyesal pula...
    Jadi saya buat step by step... OK juga la... Kalau semuanya teratur dorang OK juga ba menolong...
    Pasal masa & wang yang terbuang tak pa la... Saya anggap pelaburan ja lagipun tanah ni untuk keturunan kami juga...
    Bagus juga la pengalaman ni... Orang cakap orang gov ni bikin panas tapi bagi saya OK juga ba dorang... dari kita juga ba tu, kalau kita bagus dorang pun bagus juga ba:)

  37. Selain dari menunding jari kepada pemimpin apa lagi yang boleh kita buat???
    Perakara ini tidak akan selesai jika semua pihak asyik komplen saja... Buat lah sesuatu dan cari jalan keluar :)

    P/s Saya harap para pemimpin Sabah memandang serius setiap keluhan rakyat.

  38. Very informative... And as Sabahans I'll hope for the best:)
    I'm dont want to blame anybody coz I believe that blaming others doesn't bring any changes...
    Have a nice day..

  39. It's not easy to settle this problem.. It will takes time..
    I hope Musa will help the needy :)

  40. Gotta agree with anon (September 18, 2009 4:30 AM)

    Maybe only a few natives face this problem...
    The rest, there's no problem and still have faith with the government:)
    That's why UMNO/BN still led us :)

  41. look...all are well said and most of the opinions (comments given) are not bad at all... but let make it really 'honest'. But now, please...i think enough with the 'talking' (though the same can be going on endlessly)let us take some actions accordingly...

  42. Terpulanglah dengan rakyat bagaimana mereka melihat perkara ini.