Baru looks forward to ‘retirement’ after amendments to Sarawak Land Code

KUCHING, Jan 27: Prominent land rights lawyer Baru Bian hopes to retire from his legal battle satisfactorily after amendments are made to Sarawak Land Code recognising Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau PMPG).

Baru, who is also state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief, had attended the PMPG conference recently and said he was happy about the outcome.

“Well, I was there. Glad to note that all the native communities in Sarawak do have this similar or identical custom of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’,” Baru told DayakDaily.

“Good to know too that they are very concerned with their native customary rights (NCR) land to be recognised and have the force of law,” he said, adding that there was a very strong message to the Government that amendments to the Land Code must be made.

Describing it as a ‘historic moment’, Baru, who joined politics and the legal profession mainly because of NCR issues, said he would be happy to see the end of the NCR struggle.

“For me, it vindicates my loss in Court and validates my struggle for its (NCR) recognition all these years. Finally I hope I can really rest from my legal battle and retire satisfactorily knowing all the hard work in and outside the Court was not done in vain,” he said.

After the conference, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who heads the PMPG task force said recommendations and proposals that had been presented would be compiled and followed up on by a task force led by Deputy State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion.

This would then be presented to the state government as a guide to amend the Land Code before the amendments would be tabled in in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) session in July.

Uggah added that to ensure the amendments to the Land Code are ready before tabling, the state government had carried out a two-track programme. One was the establishment of a team led by state Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid to ensure the necessary amendments to the Land Code as well as auxiliary laws are ready for tabling by July.

The second track was the conference which was also attended by Opposition representatives.

The committee to be lead by Jaul will study all the input and make recommendations on the definition of PMPG to resolve the longstanding PMPG issues, so that PMPG will have the force of law and be recognised by the government. — DayakDaily