Council for Native Customs & Traditions reviewing 7 codified Adat to accommodate new social circumstances — Sikie

Sikie (seated centre) addressing a press conference at the Media Room in the DUN Complex on Nov 29, 2022.

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 29: Council for Native Customs & Traditions (Mais) has embarked on the review of the seven codified Adat as some of the provisions in those Adat are no longer relevant or compatible with changing social circumstances in some native communities.

Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai stated this in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

“The seven codified Adat are Adat Iban 1993, Adat Bidayuh 1994, Adet Kayan-Kenyah 1994, Adat Bisaya 2004, Adat Lun Bawang 2004, Adet Kelabit 2008, and Adet Penan 2011.

“Adat Bidayuh 1994, Adet Kayan-Kenyah 1994, Adat Bisaya 2004, and Adat Lun Bawang 2004 are currently at the preliminary stage of the review process.

“Five Adat are now going through the drafting and vetting processes. They are Adet Melanau, Adet Berawan, Adet Kajang, Adet Bagatan, and Adet Kiput,” Sikie explained.

He pointed out that in some cases, there is no Adat regulating the new social circumstances or affairs.

“For example, there is no Adat regulating the splitting of or breaking away of longhouses in the Iban communities.

“In this case a longhouse breaks up into two or three longhouses and the new and break away longhouses are within the jurisdiction or territorial domain of the old longhouse.

“The Adat regulating the rights to land and natural resources are not quite relevant to these new circumstances,” he added.

As a result, the codified Adat must be reviewed in order to be repealed and replaced with new codified Adat to accommodate the new social circumstances in the communities.

Sikie noted that Maid was established in 1972 with the aim to preserve, codify, and promote adat of the natives in Sarawak.

“In 1974 until today, Mais functioned as a unit in the then Chief Minister’s Department.

“After a long establishment history of half a century, Mais is embarking on the corporatisation of the ‘majlis’ (council).

“Once corporatised, the management of Mais will have a free hand in determining the day-to-day administration of the ‘majlis’, which includes among others recruitment of officers and planning for future undertakings,” he disclosed.

Sikie also said that in order for Mais to effectively execute its function as a corporate body, the Majlis Adat Istiadat Ordinance 1977 and Native Customs (Declaration) Ordinance 1996 needs to be reviewed and amended accordingly. — DayakDaily