Next state elections could be game changer for Pakatan in Sarawak – Baru

Baru (right) in his "Bicara Politikonomi" interview, which aired on TV1.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Jan 2: PKR Sarawak Chief Baru Bian said the only way to change the native customary rights (NCR) land policy was to change the Sarawak government.

“The coming Sarawak election is the best chance for Pakatan Harapan to change the Sarawak Government so that policies on NCR land matters could be changed,” Baru said in ‘Bicara Politikonomi Bersama YB Baru Bian’ telecast live on RTM1 this evening.

Baru, who is also Works Minister, revealed that as a lawyer by profession and his experience handling NCR land cases, the amended Sarawak Land Code tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas in July last year, which came up with the word “usufructuary”, was deemed incomplete and “half way”.

As such he said, the natives of Sarawak will lose their Pemakai Menoa (territorial domain) and Pulau Galau (communal forest reserve) because the land size has been limited to 1,000 hectares, when there were cases he has dealt in which reached up to 5,000 ha and 11,000 ha.

On politics, Baru believed that the next state elections could provide a swing for Pakatan to take over the Sarawak government.

He reasoned that a few Pakatan incumbents who won in the 2011 state election managed to defend their respective seats in 2016 including himself in Ba’Kelalan, Ali Biju (Krian) and See Chee How (Batu Lintang), as well as his other colleagues in DAP.

“And based on the last 14th General Election, people thought that we might not be able to defend our six seats, but we proved them wrong by winning 10 seats plus two independents who joined us,” said Baru.

On bridges, Baru reiterated the Federal Government’s stance that the construction of three bridges across Batang Rambungan, Batang Igan and Batang Lupar had been postponed due to the country’s current unhealthy financial situation.

On the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Baru who is a member of the consultation committee (initially called steering committee) believed that the committee formed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, would be able to put into perspective the rights of Sarawak under MA63, which has been eroded over the years. — DayakDaily