Masing: Rising stakes due to delay in reviewing NCR land laws

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

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KUCHING, Nov 10: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing opines that there is an urgency for Native Customary Rights (NCR) land law to be reviewed and this has to be done fast.

He said due to the delay in reviewing NCR land laws, the situation is now getting out of hand with, amongst others, a rally scheduled for Nov 13 to advocate for native rights and land.

Dayak assemblymen were put in a difficult situation as they are all supportive of an amendment but the opposition managed to table it first, he added.

“NCR land laws need to be reviewed. There is an urgency that it should be done as soon as possible.

“A few years ago when Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) was the chief minister, I told him that land laws on NCR need to be reviewed before the opposition take hold of it and table the amendment.

“If it happens, it will put Dayak Barisan Nasional (BN) state assemblymen in a very awkward position,” said Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister.

He had also suggested to Tok Nan that Majlis Adat Istiadat (MAIS) must meet and define ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.

“Tok Nan agreed. He asked me to nominate (candidates for) the Board of Directors of MAIS. I gave him the list of qualified Dayaks who were willing to participate.

“But before we could proceed further, Tok Nan passed away and I was in no position to implement my suggestion after I was appointed to head another portfolio,” explained Masing.

He said what is happening now — the opposition’s attempt to table the motion to amend the Land Code and the upcoming Nov 13 Rally — is a nightmare coming true.

“What is happening now, is my worst nightmare comes true, to haunt Dayak BN YBs!” said Masing who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president.

Yesterday, PKR Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian tabled a motion to apply for leave to amend Section 2 of the Land Code to give clearer definition to the terms ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.

His motion was turned down by 58 to 10 votes but the motion had put Dayak assemblymen in a fix as they are all agreeable to the Land Code being amended but could not vote for the motion to be tabled.

Today, the Dayak assemblymen in the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club held a press conference to voice out their stance that they were supportive of amendments but were willing to wait for more comprehensive and encompassing amendments to the Land Code. — DayakDaily