Land Code amendment good for the natives, assures Masing

PRS leaders with Masing (fifth from left) at the party’s 'Gawai Ngiling Tikai' celebration at a hotel in Miri.

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MIRI, July 15: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing believed the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that was passed on Thursday was for the good of the native communities in the state.

“I felt that DA Douglas (Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas) of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government was being unfairly criticised for doing the correct things for the native communities,” he said at the PRS ‘Gawai Ngiling Tikai’ held at a hotel here last night.

Masing told those present that the Bill, which was tabled by Uggah on Wednesday (July 11), allowed for jungles or forested areas of up to 1,000 hectares outside Native Customary Rights (NCR) land to be given to the native communities with titles and in perpetuity.

“This gives ‘Pemakai Menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘Pulau Galau’ (communal forest reserves) the force of law in terms of ownership. There will be no dispute in terms of ownership of PMPG by the native communities,” he stressed.

However, he pointed out that before a claim could be made, the natives must first establish their usufractuary rights over the areas they were claiming.

“This will prevent people from outside the areas to claim territorial domain,” said Masing, who is also a deputy chief minister.

On PRS Senadin, he clarified that the number of members who left the branch recently was less than 20, not 1,000 as claimed by a former leader.

Masing said the party had been moving on the ground to look into the issue to find out what actually happened.

“Our Senadin branch is still very intact. The 1,000 over members remain intact. Those who left with the former leader, Richard Will, amounted to less than 20.

“While some left, about 70 people joined us,” he said.

Masing added that PRS was now setting up a caretaker Senadin Division under its Women chief, Dato Sri Doris Brodie, to strengthen the Division. — DayakDaily