17th June, 2012
KOTA KINABALU: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will extend a copy and recommendations of the public hearing on the land inquiry report to the State Legislative Assembly, said Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam.
He hoped that the report and recommendations could be ready sometime in September and tabled in Parliament before his term as chairman expires in April next year.
“We will give a copy of the report to the State Legislative Assembly Speaker and we hope the report will be debated during the sitting because various issues raised during the inquiry could no longer be swept under the carpet forever,” stated Hasmy.
He said this at the end of the gruelling tenth-day public hearing on a series of National Inquiry into Customary Land Rights of the Indigenous People in Sabah yesterday.
During the hearing, Suhakam had received 35 written testimonies from the complainants.
A total of 10 and 59 witnesses from the private companies and government agencies as well as four observers who are experts on native affairs were called-up.
Altogether, 191 cases were filed during the public hearing sessions with 111 cases in Sarawak, 50 in Peninsular Malaysia and 30 in Sabah.
The main issues heard in Sabah were land matters, plantations, forest reserve and water catchment area.
Besides listening to the statement made by the indigenous people, he said the panel also looked at the roles and functions of the state government agencies in dealing with land matters.
“The panel took note of the public servant duties who acted in accordance with the regulations but also have to be proactive and hold discussion when there are development, acquisition and gazetting of land involving the natives who stayed in the area, said Hasmy.
Among the government agencies who gave their testimonies during the hearing were the Land and Survey Department, District Offices, Forestry Department and Sabah Parks and Natural Resources Office.
The private companies who appeared as respondents in the hearing were Syarikat WCT Bhd, Syarikat Bagus Maju, Sabah Forestry Industries, Bornian Timber Sdn Bhd, Asian Forestry Sdn bhd, IJM Meliau, Felcra, Felda, Sabah Land Development Board, Yayasan Sabah and Sedia.
During the hearing, Hasmy was assisted by commissioners namely; Jannie Lasimbang and Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah with former Suhakam vice chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun as an independent consultant.
Meanwhile, Felda Land Development officer, Deny Vitus clarified that the agency had contributed some RM360 million from 2004 to 2011 for the eradication of the hardcore poor programme in Sabah as well as repaired 1,600 houses belonging to hardcore poor in the state.