PKR Sarawak urges recognition of customary land rights for land without grants, UNDRIP adoption

Roland Engan

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, April 12: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak State Leadership Council (MPN) chairman Roland Engan has called on the Sarawak government to recognise customary land without grants as native customary land unless proven otherwise.

In a statement today, Roland emphasised the need to repeal Section 5(7) of the Sarawak Land Code to ensure the recognition of land as native customary land.


He stressed that the Sarawak government should also acknowledge village boundaries as having the force of law, ensuring that customary land rights are non-extinguishable. Additionally, Sarawakian Bumiputeras should be permitted to lease their customary land to both the government and non-Bumiputeras.

“There is also a need to immediate establishment of a Customary Land Funding Agency to enable the Bumiputera of Sarawak to be financially empowered to develop their customary land,” he said.

Roland highlighted that community leaders and village heads should be elected in accordance with each village’s customs and granted authority under the Native Court Ordinance to settle disputes involving customary land.

He added that the Sarawak government must also adopt the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) immediately and Sarawak laws must be enacted in accordance with UNDRIP.

“At the Federal government level, UNDRIP must be ratified immediately. This is to ensure the rights of the Bumiputera of Sarawak,” he added.

Regarding Sarawak’s new policy initiative on customary land measurement, Roland expressed concerns that it has harmed the people while benefiting plantation companies.

He argued that although many villages have accepted the perimeter survey scheme under Section 6 of the Sarawak Land Code 1958, this does not signify the resolution of customary land claims or disputes across Sarawak.

Despite Sarawak being governed by Sarawakian Bumiputeras since 1963, Roland pointed out that the implementation of customary land measurement and issuance of customary land grants under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code 1958 have yet to materialize.

“Financial constraints are often cited by the Sarawak government as a reason for delay. However, with Sarawak’s current financial position, there is no longer a valid reason to postpone customary land measurement under Section 18,” Roland concluded. — DayakDaily