Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NCR land should include ‘pemakai menoa’, ‘pulau galau’ — Baru

Posted on July 24, 2013, Wednesday

KUCHING: State PKR chairman Baru Bian wants the definition of ‘Native Customary Right’ under Section 2 of the Sarawak Land Code to be amended to include ‘pemakai menoa’ (communal land) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest reserve).

Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said the inclusion was necessary as such land had since been affirmed by the court as land created in accordance with the customs of the natives of Sarawak.

“I plan to submit a motion for such amendment at the next sitting of the Dewan Undangan Negeri and I am looking forward to the support of the Dayak YBs from the Barisan Nasional for the motion, consistent with their present calls to amend the Land Code to be in line with the ‘adat’ of the Sarawak natives,” he told a press conference here yesterday. He said it would be a test of sincerity of all the Dayak assemblymen to the call to amend the law, consistent with the customs of the native people.

“I think this is the right time to test their (Dayak assemblymen) sincerity. In fact, when we raised up at the assembly that NCR should include pemakai menoa and pulau galau, there was not even a whisper of support from the BN YBs during all the four previous sittings,” he added.

Baru agreed that assemblymen, being the voice of the people, should support what is right on principle, consistent with the law and belief of the local people.

He also said that comments and debate on NCR issues such as the decision of the Federal Court in the Bisi Jinggot case, which had generated a lot of debate over the last two weeks on whether NCR land could be bought and sold, even to those outside the community was a positive development.

“The good news is that Bisi Jinggot’s case can be distinguished in that it clearly states that the question of sale of NCR land is subject to the custom of the community concerned. It is possible that the custom of one community may differ from that of other communities in Sarawak.

“Therefore, evidence on the adat to permit or prohibit sale of NCR land must be adduced at the trial of the case. The call for amendment of the law by many notables such as Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Tan Sri Celestine Ujang and Datuk Peter Minos to be consistent with the adat of the natives is very much welcome.”

However, Baru wished to bring to the attention of all that the state government had already made an amendment to the law in 2000 by way of the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2000.

“This amendment was referred to in the Bisi Jinggot case at the High Court but was not accepted, as the court was informed then that the amendments were yet to be gazetted into law.

“In the circumstances, the call by the various parties for an amendment to the law is redundant. I would suggest to them, in particular those in the state cabinet, to pursue the matter with the state attorney general office and the state government to find out why the amendment was never gazetted into law when the DUN had duly passed it years ago.”

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