NCR land: Federal Court ruling has no bearing on State Land Code amendment, says pol sec

Susan Chemerai Anding

KUCHING, Sept 12: Political secretary to the Chief Minister Susan Chemerai Anding is of the view that the recent Federal Court decision on the Tuai Rumah Sandah and Siew Libau case has no bearing on the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018.

She said following the amendment of the Sarawak Land Code in 2018 by the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN), ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ (PMPG) is already legally recognised and thus, have the force of law.

“The application for review of TR Sandah’s case resulting in the Federal Court’s dismissal of the review application yesterday (Sept 11, 2019) was purely academic and has no bearing on the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 and its corresponding rules the Land (Native Communal Title) Rules 2019, both of which represent the governing law applicable to the issue of PMPG/NTD rights of the natives in Sarawak.

“Whether PMPG has the force of law has been answered loud and clear when the Sarawak Government through the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 passed by the Dewan Undangan Negeri on 12th July 2018, gave legal recognition and force of law to PMPG (now known as Native Territorial Domain (NTD).

“Hence, irrespective of the outcome of the judicial review, the DUN of Sarawak has already given legal recognition and force of law to PMPG,” according to Susan in a statement today.

She opined amending the Sarawak Land Code was a drastic measure taken by the Sarawak government.

“In fact the Sarawak government has done more than just give force of law to PMPG. It made a radical move under this amendment ordinance, by giving natives proprietary rights to their PMPG/NTD through the issuance of Native Communal Title (NCT) under the new Section 6A.

“PMPG/NTD can now be applied for by natives using Borang NTD A with supporting documents and evidences, as provided for under the Land (Native Communal Title) Rules 2019 which came into effect on 1st August 2019.

“Borang NTD A are available at the Land and Survey offices throughout the state as well as at the District Offices and online.

“PMPG/NTD applied for and approved will be issued with a provisional NCT which will become a final title upon completion of survey dan registration. The NCT is in perpetuity and indefeasible.

“The enactment of this ordinance and rule means that PMPG rights and issues in Sarawak are now settled law and the discussion on PMPG should move away from the past rhetoric so that natives can move on and begin the task of claiming or asserting their PMPG/NTD rights over their ancestral land through the avenue provided by the government,” stated Susan.

Susan made these remarks in response to yesterday’s Federal Court ruling on the Tuai Rumah Sandah Tabau and Siew Libau case.

The long legal battle involving two tracts of land totalling nearly 18,000 ha in Kanowit-Ngemah had come to an end after four judges to one in the Putrajaya Federal Court ruled in favour of the Sarawak government, the provisional lease holder by dismissing the application yesterday (Sept 11, 2019).

One of the claimants’ lawyer Joshua Baru was reported as stating that the four judges felt that the claimants’ grounds for review were more of an appeal instead of judicial review and therefore dismissed the application.

‘Pemakai menoa’ refers to territorial domain while ‘pulau galau’ refers to communal forest reserves. — DayakDaily