Indigenous leaders submit memorandum on NCR land to CM

Baram People Protection Action Committee chairman Phillip Jau (left) hands over the memorandum to state government operation room security officer Ramli@Johari Kadir.

KUCHING, Nov 13: Representatives from various villages and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to amend the state law on native customary rights lands.

A group of seven of them, led by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) secretary-general Nicholas Mujah and Baram People Protection Action Committee chairman Phillip Jau arrived at the new State Legislative Assembly’s (DUN) security gate at around 2pm.

“We did not put a timeline on the memorandum. We want the government to act on it now,” stressed Nicholas, when met earlier at the old DUN building. The group had gathered at the old DUN building at around 1.30pm after the NCR rally attended by thousands of native landowners at the old Courthouse.

SADIA secretary-general Nicholas Mujah (second left) Baram People Protection Action Committee chairman Phillip Jau (third left) and other indigenous leaders gathered at old DUN before heading to the new DUN to submit the memorandum.

Instead of entering the new DUN building to submit the memorandum as planned, operation room security officer Ramli@Johari Kadir received the memorandum instead while many reporters and photographers waiting at the DUN entrance missed the handover.

In the four-page memorandum, the group listed their demands, which are;

(1) The Sarawak Land Code and the Sarawak Forest Ordinance be amended immediately, wherever appropriate to include ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ in Iban (Sea Dayak) and their equivalent terms in the languages/ dialects of the other indigenous peoples in Sarawak as Native Customary Rights (NCR) Land;

(2) If the state government of Sarawak is unable to amend the Sarawak Land Code during the current DUN sitting, an Emergency DUN sitting should be called;

(3) The amendment to the Sarawak Land Code to include the following:

I. Recognition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’;

II. Definition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ must be based on the definition by Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS) as the custodian of native customs (adat);

III. The Courts must be empowered to exercise out NCR lands out of any Provisional Lease (PL) or License of Planted Forest (LPF);

IV. Re-admit proviso (f) of section 5 (2) of the Sarawak Land Code;

V. Also reinstate section 5 (1) – (5) the word ‘acquire’

VI. That NCR lands must be excluded from the definition of ‘state land’; and

VII. The issuance of Document of title shall not be indefeasible as against NCR land

(4) The state government of Sarawak put a moratorium on all appeals on NCR land cases within the state with a view to withdraw them upon the amendment of the Sarawak Land Code;

(5) The state government of Sarawak should stop issuing new PL and LPF over NCR lands;

(6) The state government of Sarawak review, with a view to revoke, any PL and LPF, that fails to comply with their conditions;

(7) The state government of Sarawak shall return all NCR lands within any PL and LPF;

(8) The state government shall adopt mechanisms accessible to and with the full participation of the Indigenous Peoples to demarcate and map their NCR lands and to ensure security of tenure. We reject the current NCR Perimeter Survey exercise using Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code which converts our Native Customary Rights land into Native Communal Reserve lands;

(9) The Federal Government, through its Cabinet Committee should immediately start implementing the recommendations made by the Taskforce on the SUHAKAM’s report of the National Inquiry on Land;

(10) The PMPG Committee should stop delaying and immediately put the proposals made within their working group to the state government. — DayakDaily