Does the state government recognise the provision of the ‘Pemakai Menua’ (communal land) and ‘Pulau Galau’ (reserved forest land) as part of native customary rights (NCR) land?
An answer provided by an assistant minister during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting last Friday seemed to have said otherwise, if what was said was anything to go by.
Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian told a press conference yesterday that Friday’s answer provided by Assistant Minister of Resource Planning Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais for Martin Ben (BN-Kedup) who sought further clarification to the NCR land issue mentioned that NCR land acreage in the state totalled up to 1.5 million hectares.
With regards to a very pertinent question which involves ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ in this 1.5 million hectares, Naroden stated that NCR land acreage did not include ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ unless there were proof that the NCR land claim in the state is in accordance with the Sarawak Land Code.
Baru perceived the given answers as saddening as the state did not uphold the decision of the court in the country. Decision in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court with no less than 13 judges in various cases had confirmed ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ as NCR land where these decision were decided based on the interpretation of the provision of the Sarawak Land Code.
“It is very clear that this is the second minister in the state government which made it very clear that ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ are not included in their definition of NCR land in Sarawak. To us, it is very clear that the state government is not considering ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ as NCR. No point to get further clarification on this matter.”
“The government seemed to be not willing to recognise ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ unless one can prove that there is NCR land within that area,” highlighted the state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman at the DUN sitting here yesterday.
Baru advised natives and those affected of their rights over land over the present policies of the state government to consider their support of the present government as a different government will introduce new policies.
“It looks like we are fighting a losing battle in the sense that the state doesn’t recognise the decision of the court. However, we will keep on fighting to uphold this issue as executing the rights of the people is very important.
“The role of the Land and Survey Department in recognising this matter on the ground is also very significant,” he continued.
~ The Borneo Post