More than 3,000 gather at Old Courthouse for NCR rally

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KUCHING, Nov 13: The Nov 13 NCR rally at the Old Courthouse which started with a ‘miring’ ceremony at 7.30am saw a crowd of 3,000 turning up at its peak time of 10am this morning.

The ‘miring’ according to one of the organisers Nicholas Bawin, was to request for blessing for the whole event.

‘Miring’ ceremony being carried out at the old Courthouse this morning.

The event also saw speeches from various individuals and headmen.

There was also a ‘bebiau’ session, the traditional Iban prayer session, asking the spirits for blessings and anointment.

A section of the Nov 13 NCR Rally crowd at the Old Courthouse this morning.
A section of the crowd attending the Nov 13 NCR Rally at the Old Courthouse.

According to another organiser Mark Bujang, the purpose of holding the peaceful rally was to call on the state government to make amendments to the Land Code with regards to Provisional Leases (PLs) and other Native Customary Rights (NCR) land matters.

He also pointed out that presently, there are more than 400 land cases which are still pending in the various courts.

“It is our hope that the government will recognise ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’,” Mark told the media.

Many rally participants brought banners with wording such as “Bill Kayong, you will not die in vain”, “Justice for Bill Kayong. If Dayak must die, Dayak die defending NCR lands”, “Land is our Life”, “Stop land grab now”, “We demand the government survey our communal boundaries now base on our Adat”, “Return to us our NCR land now”, “Pray for the return of our NCR land” and others.

One of the banners carried by participants at the Nov 13 NCR Rally at the old Courthouse this morning.
Rally participants holding banners.
A rally participant holds a placard seeking for justice for native rights activist Bill Kayong.
Participants holding a banner seeking for the recognition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ as NCR land.

There was another group gathering at the old State Assembly Building for a short while before they dispersed and joined the rally at the old Courthouse.

Today’s rally which is held to protest against the land policies currently in place has drawn in the participation of various associations and organisations across the social spectrum and the state, including opposition political parties such as state PKR and DAP.

The rally is expected to end at 2pm.

As of 1.20pm, the decision was that some native leaders, among them Philip Jau, longhouse chief James Tungku, Sumen Gasan, Bakar Bujang and Maria Katot will be submitting a memoradum to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and presidents of all component parties including Parti Rakyat Sarawak, Progressive Democratic Party and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party. — DayakDaily