Baru urges PKR members to attend Nov 13 NCR rally

KUCHING, Nov 7: Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian has encouraged party members throughout the state to attend the rally on Monday, Nov 13 to show support for native customary rights (NCR).

The prominent land rights lawyer said the proposed public rally, which would be a peaceful one, is merely a reflection of the frustration and anger of the native communities.

“The courts and the government are seemingly trampling over their rights. The refusal to recognise Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau appears to be a betrayal of the natives by those who do not understand, or choose to ignore, the long-practised and long-recognised customs and traditions of the native communities.

“The frustration of the people over this issue is understandable because it revolves around something that is so crucial to them and forms an integral part of their lives, i.e. their land. The threat of the loss of their land evokes such a strong sentiment because to the natives, their land is their life,” he said in a press statement today.

Baru was also happy to note that more and more non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals are becoming aware of the NCR issues and the problems involving Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau which have befallen the native communities of Sarawak resulting from the decisions of the Federal Court in recent cases.

The organiser of the rally, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), had obtained permits from the police to hold the rally in three locations in Kuching, which are the Kuching Waterfront, new Court House and old Court House.

The rally will coincide with the State Legislative Assembly sitting. The organiser intends to hand over a memorandum to the state government for the attention for the Chief Minister.

Many NGOs and civil societies had responded by openly supporting the rally and urging their members to join.

The rally was called following a recent Federal Court judgement that ruled that NCR land could not be returned to the native owners once it was converted to ‘Lease of State Land’.

Frustrated over the judgment, native landowners and land rights activists had therefore urged the state government to not delay in making the necessary amendments to the state Land Code. — Dayak Daily