Baham claiming a “different body of right”, says ex-rep

Dominique Ng

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KUCHING, July 7: Badan Hak Adat Melayu Sarawak (Baham) has erred in calling for a postponement of the tabling of the Sarawak Land Code (SLC) Amendment Bill during the forthcoming State Legislative Assembly.

Former Padungan assemblyman, Dominique Ng, who is a lawyer, argued that what Baham was claiming was a “different body of right”.

Ng believed what Baham was fighting for was the historical sovereignty of the Malays over certain areas in Sarawak.

“We are talking about NCR land. I do not really understand his (Baham’s chairman Datu Sanib Said) argument because I’m not as historic and learned as him.

“But we are not talking about historical sovereignty here. He (Sanib) was talking about areas belonging to the Malays before the Brunei time, which is several hundred years ago,” Ng told a press conference here today.

He pointed out that the proposed amendment was about native customary rights (NCR) land.

However, Ng acknowledged that the Malays have NCR land, too.

On Thursday, Sanib opined that the proposed amendment had to be put on hold because the Orang Asal Sarawak Malays, Kedayan, Jati Miriek and Vaie Segan had not completed their quest for information and explanation to cover the whole of Sarawak.

“The task force formed by the government in 2017 was not represented by Orang Asal Sarawak Malays, Kedayan, Jati Miriek and Vaie Segan. The task force informed they have held meetings many times in 2017 but only involving certain native groups,” Sanib was quoted as saying.

Claiming to represent 21 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Sanib said Baham, which was formed on Jan 29 this year, needed more time to gather vital information and get genuine feedback from the people.

“Therefore, it is very unfair and an obvious denial of Orang Asal Melayu Sarawak, Kedayan, Jati Miriek and Vaie Segan in the SLC (Sarawak Land Code) amendment process, and this is in contradiction to the United Nation’s Declaration,” Sanib said.

According to Sanib, based on the history and cultures of the natives, Baham, therefore, demanded that historical rights of the Santubong government, Kalaka state, Saribas state, Malano state, Samarahan state, Sadong state and Baram state that existed long before the establishment of the Brunei government and the Brooke rule be protected and returned to the rightful owners.

Baham, he claimed had all the evidence in the forms of written text, manuscripts, books, old cemeteries and plants, be it on land, in the river or sea, to prove that Sarawak Malays’ history existed since a long time ago. — DayakDaily