‘Federal Court panels hearing East M’sian cases should have at least one East M’sian’

Rapelson Richard Hamit

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SIMUNJAN, Nov 1: Dayak Nation Institute asserts that at least one Sarawakian or Sabahan judge must sit as one of the judges in the Federal Court panel when a case arises from the two Bornean states.

Its spokesperson Rapelson Richard Hamit said this is in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“It is compulsory for the Federal Court judge panel to have at least one (judge) from Sarawak or Sabah,” he said in a press statement today.

He claimed only a Sarawakian would know better about Sarawak’s ‘adat’ and customs.

“Native Customary Rights existed before British colonial times and before the formation of the Malaysian Federation,” he said.

He said apart from the rally on Nov 13 in Kuching, there will be another one on Nov 7 at the Federal Court in Putrajaya.

On the day, judgment will be handed down for another land case — Tuai Rumah Masa Nangkai versus the state government and the Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) — at 9am.

“If TR Masa Nangkai loses the case, it will set another precedence where not only the natives will lose their Pemakai Menua (ancestral boundary) and Pulau Galau (native communal forest) but also their Temuda (shifting cultivation area/farming land).

“The natives of Sarawak especially the Dayak will become refugees in their own land,” said Rapelson.

He thus called on Sarawakians who live and work in Peninsular Malaysia to join the rally to support these noble causes.

“It is expected that more than 80 delegates from Sarawak will come for the rally on Nov 7. They will be from Kuching, Pantu, Miri, Simunjan, Gedong and all over Sarawak,” said Rapelson. — DayakDaily