‘Dayaks must depend on themselves to fight for NCR land’

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KUCHING: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) called on the Dayak community to depend on themselves to fight for their land rights with regards to their ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal reserves) or PMPG.

The party said the Dayak community could not count on the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition or Pakatan Harapan (PH) to fight for them.

The party also claimed that until today, the state BN has repeatedly failed to resolve PMPG issues and had also failed to recognise the concept of shifting agriculture (slash and burn agriculture) while the opposition coalition is only using the Dayak community as a means to gain power.

“Both regimes seem to be using the Dayak as a bridge to empower governance and only take Dayak seriously when it comes to voting for a new government.

“By using the Dayak’s agenda and issues as a leverage for campaigning to impress Dayak voters, both parties (coalitions) have failed the Dayak in Sarawak because nothing had been resolved thus far.

“Even the recent talk by PH and their sweet offers in the so called “duplicated manifesto” which is almost similar to BN’s has shown nothing whatsoever with regards to the Dayak customary rights and its land,” said PBDSB in a statement yesterday.

The party claimed that the Dayak community are enraged that their centuries-old Dayak customary practices have been deemed as “no force of law”.

PBDSB said every time when Dayak landowners lost their legal battles to claim their communal land through the courts, it added much anxiety to the whole Dayak community.

“PBDSB has highlighted that it is always a lost cause and money when Dayak fight their case in courts to defend their PMPG which involves the state government’s alienation of land to an oil palm plantation company.”

PBDSB concurred with the recent statement of Dayak Think Tank Group (DTTG) that after nine months of research, there seemed to be no conclusive solution with regards to native land rights issues.

“The state government has restricted the Dayak’s claims on Native Customary Rights (NCR) land by saying that it only recognises NCR and that this is confined to cultivated areas (‘temuda’), which have been continuously occupied prior to 1958.”

The party said such definition has violated the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63).

“The government has shown blatant disrespect towards the Dayak’s rights and their customs, culture and also to their lands, territories and resources by taking the issue lightly for the past 54 years,” said PBDSB.