Masing: Dedicated court for NCR land cases excellent idea
by Jonathan Chia, email@example.com. Posted on January 23, 2014, Thursday
KUCHING: Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing is supportive of the idea to establish a dedicated court to handle the increasing number of native customary rights (NCR) land cases.
The land development minister described as ‘excellent’ the idea that was highlighted by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum on January 17 as NCR land cases must not be allowed to drag for years.
“I would like to reiterate what I said before that Malanjum’s (Tan Sri Richard Malanjum) proposal is excellent. NCR land cases must not be allowed to drag on for years. Justice delayed is justice denied.
“Whether a special NCR tribunal requires new legislation, I don’t know, but, whatever it is, judgement on NCR cases must be dispensed quickly,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.
During a special court session held here in conjunction with the Opening of the Legal Year 2014, Justice Richard Malanjum commented that the number of NCR cases had been increasing every year and as such this issue should be promptly addressed.
“There is now a floating idea for the setting up of a dedicated court to deal with these cases.
“But then again, there is no reason to set up the facility if only a few lawyers are handling NCR cases. This is the main problem,” said the learned chief judge.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, state PKR chairman Baru Bian also backed the idea for such a special court, adding he had in fact tried to raise this same issue during the last State Legislative Assembly sitting.
Baru, who is also a prominent NCR lawyer and Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) report titled ‘National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ had also made strong recommendations for the setting up of a special tribunal for NCR land cases.
In fact, he added, setting up such a special tribunal could help clear the serious backlog of NCR land dispute cases pending at the Resident’s Court and Native Court of Appeal for years due to lack of judges.
Baru said since matters pertaining to state land were under the state government’s jurisdiction, he said one way to set up the special tribunal was for the state government to enact a new law.
He added that the state PKR was willing to be part of the working committee to work out details and composition, as well as powers, of the special tribunal if the government adopted this proposal.