NCR land: Federal Court ruling likely to create more confusion, says Sapa president

Dominique Ng

KUCHING, Sept 12: Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations (Sapa) president Dominique Ng expressed shock over yesterday’s Federal Court’s decision over the Tuai Rumah Sandah and Siew Libau case.

“I am absolutely shocked by the ruling which has come as a great surprise to all of us, especially native customary rights (NCR) land lawyers and activists.

“The law has been changed or amended to correct for the mischief in the first TR Sandah Federal Court ruling. The Land Code Amendment Ordinance 18 is the latest law of the land,” according to Ng in a statement today.

He pointed out that Sarawak Land Code Amendment 2018 was passed last year giving ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ (PMPG) the force of law.

“The ruling is expected to create more confusion for future cases involving NCR, taking into consideration the amendment to Sarawak Land Code Ordinance 18.”

“That is why it is necessary to have judges of Bornean experience presiding over matters pertaining to Sarawak and Sabah especially land issues,” he said.

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