By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, April 29: Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspirations (Sapa) members gathered at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today to hand over two petitions to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar.
SAPA president Dominique Ng said the first petition was from 1,159 residents from 12 villages across the state requesting the state government to enforce the Land Code Amendment Ordinance 2019 that was passed last year.
“These villagers have signed a petition to call upon the Deputy Chief Minister to enforce the Land Code Amendment Ordinance 2019 that was passed by the DUN on July 18 and gazetted in August 18, but which we later found out has not been enforced,” said Ng.
In this petition, which was handed to Uggah, the villagers expressed their gratitude for the amendment of the Land Code. However, the villagers also wanted enforcement to be carried out immediately as a sign of sincerity by returning the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land back to them so as it would not be an “empty promise” and “mere rhetoric” on the part of the state government.
Ng said some of the villagers with him came by bus from the interior areas, while others flew all the way from Miri to be here to make sure their petition reached the authorities.
The former Padungan assemblyman said he was successful in meeting Uggah after two hours of negotiation with the police.
He claimed several villagers lost their case again because the Land Code Amendment Ordinance 2019 had not yet been enforced and PMPG (pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau) were still without the force of law.
“That is why we came here to seek DCM’s help. It was him who told us and he re-emphasised that the native territorial domain (PMPG) is over and above the `Termuda’ land,” Ng told a press conference after the submission of the petitions.
With Ng was Sapa secretary Peter John Jaban.
Ng said in his meeting with Uggah, the latter reassured him that the Land Code Amendment would be enforced within this year but the latter could not be specific about the date.
Ng said native land owners would be happy if the Land Code Amendment would be put into force as by doing so, the villagers involved in land disputes might at least have some chance to win the case.
In the second petition, which was handed to Asfia, Ng requested to move a motion and debate on reasserting Sarawak’s ownership and sovereignty over its land and territorial waters.
In the letter to Asfia, Ng pointed out that “there has been a lot of hypes and loud cry from the public on the issue pertaining to the amendment to Article 1(2), which was purportedly called on for revision as a step towards restoring our Sarawakians’ rights under the Malaysian Agreement 1963, and we would like to thank the DUN for finally scheduling the date on April 30, 2019.
“We hope the Honourable Members of the DUN can unite and make a strong stand on this issue that has been of great concern to Sarawakians.”
Apart from the amendment to Article 1(2), Ng also called for a motion to be moved to state that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) is not applicable to Sarawak.
The letter to Asfia also states, “We would also call upon the DUN to move a motion to state that the PDA does not apply in Sarawak and to move, debate and pass all necessary resolutions and ordinances to reassert Sarawak’s ownership and sovereignty over its land and territorial waters, especially those of petroleum, gas, mineral resources, on its land and its territorial waters”. — DayakDaily