Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Native Tribunal will ensure swift redress for the marginalised

Monday, 25 January 2016

BY SHARON LING

KUCHING: The relevant authorities should heed the call by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum for a Native Tribunal to hear land cases, says state PKR chairman Baru Bian.

Baru said a specialised tribunal or court would go a long way towards easing the burden of indigenous people in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, whom he described as among the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the country.

“Their socio-economic position has remained more or less static over the last 50 years. Those who have had their lands taken from them require swift redress but that is often not the case in the present court system.

“Court hearings take a long time, with frequent adjournments. The indigenous people often have to travel long distances to attend court and there are often problems due to the dialects spoken,” he said in a statement.

Malanjum had said on Friday that a land tribunal should be established as Sabah and Sarawak were still burdened by native customary rights (NCR) land cases which took a long time to deal with.

“Last year in Sarawak, there were 20 new cases registered. Sibu and Kuching recorded the most with seven cases each while Miri and Bintulu each received three cases. The total disposal last year was 20, leaving 28 still pending,” he said when opening the Sabah and Sarawak Legal Year in Sibu.

Baru pointed out that Malanjum had been calling for a Native Tribunal to be set up since 2012 while the Bar Council, also in 2012, had called for a specialised Indigenous People’s Court to be established.

“In 2013, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) recommended that a Native Title Court and an Orang Asal Land Commission be set up to look into and hear cases involving native rights.

“I have voiced my support each time this subject was raised and I have also brought this up in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly,” he said.

As such, he said it was disappointing that despite this, the Attorney-General and Chief Justice had remained silent on the matter.

“I hope Dayak Barisan Nasional leaders in Sarawak will come out to support Malanjum’s call,” Baru said.

~ The Star

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