Whose land is this anyway?

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The Sarawak perimeter survey conducted by the Land and Survey Department shows how much officials are – truly or deliberately – in the dark over the customary land rights of native Sarawakians.

It seemed like a good idea, thought Michael, the Tuai Rumah of Ulu Entabai in Kanowit. His ancestral land, handed down through the generations from his forefathers who roamed and hunted in these jungles, would be surveyed and declared as the native customary land of his people. The boundaries would be clearly marked, he was told, and this would prevent encroachments by developers.

Officers from the Sarawak Land and Survey Department came and did their work. To Michael’s horror, the burial ground where the bones of his ancestors were interred was not included in the survey.


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