Global Witness is a FRAME and personal opinion - Yang Berhormat Tan Sri James Jemut Masing
NCR land statement in video sting personal opinion’
by Peter Sibon, borneo post on April 12, 2013, Friday
KUCHING: The views expressed by individuals in the video sting produced by Global Witness purportedly showing corruption in the acquisition of native land in the state were their personal opinions and have nothing to do with the government’s policy.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing in clarifying the issue yesterday stressed the statement that Dayaks were squatters in their own land by one of the persons during the negotiation over the sale a piece of land in Julau, which was secretly filmed by Global Witness, was contrary to the state government’s stand on Native Customary Rights(NCR) land.
The government’s recognition of the natives’ ownership of their land was proven by the fact that some 700,000 hectares of their land had been identifi ed by his ministry as NCR land bank and some 60,000 hectares were developed into oil palm plantation, Masing told The Borneo Post yesterday.
As chai rman of the stat e committee for NCR land task force, Masing said all NCR land deals had to pass through stringent procedures before it could be approved.
He pointed out that NCR land could not be sold to foreigners and non-natives as it could only be bought by another native.
He said that the discussion over the purported sale of the land in the video recording was irrelevant as any NCR land deal had to go to his ministry and not even the chief minster could override his ministry’s decision.
Masing was also doubtful of the existence of the alleged land in Julau because most of the land there had been cultivated by shifting cultivators for more than 100 years as it was one of the earliest settlements in the state, as such there was no more timber of value left.
“I know Julau land very well; it is very hilly and undulated and therefore it is not suitable for agricultural purposes. Only a stupid fool will buy it,” he said.
On the issue of squatting, Masing said the natives could not be squatters in their own land and therefore the works by Global Witness was edited with the intention to stir the sentiments of the natives.
Masing said that the interview by Global Witness was a con job as the different recordings were edited according to their script to prove corrupt practices in land deals in the state.
“It is obvious that Global Witness had strung together only bits and pieces of the whole interview and come up with a show to suit their agenda. This is the problem with production editing.
“The producer picks and chooses part of people’s speeches to fit their assumption. In this case the truth is cast aside.” he pointed out in urging the state’s natives not to fall into their trap.
Calling for the full interview to be shown without any editing, Masing said the so-called ‘Production to look for corruption in the state of Sarawak’ was a ‘Hollywood’ production portraying a ‘willing buyer trying to outsmart a willing seller. “We all want the truth. So I challenge Global Witness to come up with a full version of an unedited version of the interview together with the interviewer as this will provide the proper perspective of the whole issue.”
The minister also pointed out that the interview was taken by a hidden camera so it was done in a bad faith and described it as ‘seriously wrong’.
“Taping people without them knowing it is wrong. It is just like the case of Robin Hood robbing the rich and giving to the poor. The intention might be good but the method is wrong. So they are doing this just to fit their assumption. And that is wrong,” he said.