Is Sarawak ready to recognise PMPG as NCR land?

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. — DayakDaily.com file pic

KUCHING, June 24: Is the Sarawak state government finally ready to recognise ‘pulau galau’ (communal reserve forest) and ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) as native customary rights (NCR) land?

Well, this might just be the case when the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sits next month.

“I can assure the native community that come July 2018 at the DUN sitting, there will be goodies for the community,” announced Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the state-level Gawai Dayak 2018 dinner at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) in Jalan Demak here on Saturday night.

To be fair to the chief minister, he did not reveal what was in his “goodies” bag, but he did touched on NCR land and about ‘pulau galau’ and ‘pemakai menoa’ (PMPG).

He told those present that a special task force led by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and the Working Committee headed by Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Jaul Samion had been working very hard to look for solutions to the perennial NCR land issues in the state.

“The task force has brought to my attention the various recommendations to address the outstanding issue of ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’. Many people thought that this is a very straightforward issue, but I can assure you that these committees have been deliberating on this for the past few months.

“I will bring up this matter for discussion at the coming Cabinet Meeting in a few days time,” he told the 3,000-strong audience present.

On another matter, Abang Johari said he wanted to see more Dayak participation in the economic and business sectors, both in the rural and urban areas.

He said although participation of the Dayaks in the field had been growing over the last few years, their participation was still relatively low when compared to the other communities in the state.

Therefore, he added, the state government, through its various agencies, had been instructed to facilitate and draw up special programmes or policies that could assist Dayak participation in business, such as in supplies, contract works, consultancy services and small businesses.

“The policy to encourage more Dayak participation in business and other economic opportunities need to be supported and translated into specific programmes and actions by the relevant agencies like the Department of Works (JKR), the State Finance Secretary (SFS) office, local councils, Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), the Sarawak Forestry Department, Department of Land and Survey and the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to be really beneficial to the Dayak community.

“If need be, positive intervention actions, practices, procedures or flexibility will be drawn up by these agencies so that no community feels left behind,” he said.

He also noted that there had been growing concerns and rising expectations among the Dayak community for increased participation in the civil service as the Dayak community feels that there ought to be more of them in the government sector, in both federal and state civil service.

“I believe this is a genuine concern and is an issue that we need to study carefully towards a more harmonious society in the future.

“I need to discuss with my colleagues in the Cabinet the various issues in the civil service and find ways to address these issues,” he pledged. — DayakDaily