KUCHING, Sept 22: A briefing for all elected representatives (YBs), political secretaries and community leaders will be held soon to address pertinent matters related to the recently enacted Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018, revealed Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
He appealed to all quarters to refrain from making wild allegations against the new Bill as the Sarawak government was willing to listen if there were shortcomings.
“There will be a briefing soon on the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2018 by the State Government. After that, all the YBs, political secretaries and community leaders will be able to explain to their people the real meaning of the Bill
“And I would like to say this. Jangan gaduh–gaduh lah (Please don’t fight all the time) because the government is always willing to listen, and we need to move on,” Dennis told DayakDaily today.
He opined that it was not right to accuse the government of grabbing native land due to the use of the word `usufructuary’ in the new Bill.
“The word ‘usufructuary’ is used to show proof that we have been to the land, in this case, the `pemakai menoa’ and `pulau galau’ (PMPG). When there is proof, then that particular community can apply from the Land and Survey Department for that particular land to be surveyed and then given communal title,” explained Dennis.
He also rebutted Dayak National Congress (DNC) president Paul Raja, who had claimed that the natives had become squatters after the new Bill was enacted.
Dennis remarked that Paul was merely trying to confuse the people.
“The new Bill is comprehensive in nature, and it gives the force of law to PMPG. Now it’s just a matter of getting the proof of having “been there” kind of thing to make the necessary claim over the PMPG. The so-called ‘proof’ will also include those who have knowledge over such matters in the longhouses and villages,” he said.
Dennis reiterated that the natives were still the owners of their land as the new Bill gave them the right over PMPG ‘over and above’ the native customary right (NCR) land.
“So how come you claim that the natives are now squatters in their own land? Please don’t try to confuse the people,” urged Dennis.
He related his experience while visiting his constituents. By and large, most of the villagers have better understanding over the matter now.
“Some may have doubts, but after my explanation, they understood,” he said.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly Dato Gerawat Gala said he did not wish to engage in a media exchange or debate on the subject as it would not resolve the issue.
“It’s better for all parties to sit down together to clarify any gaps in their understandings on the Land Code (Amendment) Bill.”
He also stressed that Paul’s call for Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah to resign was unacceptable.
“He (Paul) has no right to call for the DCM’s resignation as the DCM has been duly elected by his voters.
“And his persistence for a public debate on the issue will not resolve the issue nor would the public be the judge. The court is the final arbiter, which has legal authority to decide on legal issues,” the Mulu assemblyman pointed out. — DayakDaily