PBDSB Youth questions Federal Court’s dismissal of application to review decision on NCR land recognition

Rapelson Richard Hamit

KUCHING, Sept 11: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) Youth chief Rapelson Richard Hamit questions the Federal Court’s decision today on native customary rights (NCR) land claimants Tuai Rumah Sandah Tabau and Siew Libau’s application for a judicial review involving the recognition of NCR land in Sarawak.

The long legal battle involving two tracts of land totalling nearly 18,000 hectares in Kanowit-Ngemah has 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 today.

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

Rapelson said the claimants should have won the case as the Sarawak Land Code was amended last year and state government recognises the legality of ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest reserve), known as Native Territorial Domain (NTD).

“Previously, Tuai Rumah Sandah lost because there was lack of force in the law but with the amendment, NTD now has the power to protect NCR land owners,” according to Rapelson in a statement today.

He said he was also made to understand that the debate on the amendment in the State Legislative Assembly sitting in 2018 was not attended by any NCR land activists.

“The decision is shocking and the all parties must explain the facts,” he said. — DayakDaily