Native Court and NCR land: Table proposal to walk the talk, Masing told

SRI AMAN, Feb 28: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) agrees with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s view that cases related to native customary rights (NCR) land should be heard in the Native Court.

Its president Cobbold John challenged Masing who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, to bring the proposal to the next State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting.

“If he is serious, bring that issue to the DUN sitting. But, he has to remember, it was the state government of Sarawak under Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership who had appealed to the Federal Court over NCR land cases. He is one of them,” said Cobbold in a statement.

He further challenged Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister to walk the talk and to follow up with “some genuine effort” as NCR land is the life vein of the natives and should be protected.

“No doubt, there are always two sides to a coin. However, the Dayaks should explore the ways to move forward, and to turn their weaknesses to opportunities,” Cobbold said.

Masing said yesterday that the Federal Court should not hear NCR land cases and let the Native Court handle them.

He took the inspiration from the Federal Court ruling over the jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases yesterday.

“The judgment of the Federal Court which allows apostasy cases to be heard by the Syariah Court opens another means that the Native Court should be allowed to hear NCR land dispute cases.

“The Native Court is the most appropriate body to handle native land disputes,” said Masing.

Meanwhile, on the apostasy jurisdiction ruling yesterday, Cobbold expressed his regrets over the unruly and rowdy commotion after the judgement was handed down.

The case was brought to the Federal Court by four apostates comprising a Malay Muslim who has converted to Christianity and three other Muslim converts who wished to return to Christianity after their spouses passed away or following divorce.

Catholic Archbishop Most Reverend Fr Simon Poh who was present at the hearing somehow became the target of intimidation of some youths.

He was jeered at when he was making his exit at the end of the Federal Court hearing with some seeking to lay hands on him but a group of Muslims formed a protective cordon around the archbishop and escorted him out safely.

To Cobbold, the action of these unruly youths was unnecessary and he opined the authorities should act on it accordingly.

“I was surprised and upset with the unruly and rowdy action against Roman Catholic Archbishop Simon. Our belief is between us and God.

“I saw the video and believed that such a radical act was very uncivilised. We are not in Iraq or Syria. Sarawak is not the Islamic State,” he stressed. — DayakDaily