Sarawak PKR: Reframe ‘state land’ as ‘people’s land’ to benefit Sarawakians

Abun Sui Anyit

KUCHING, Aug 10: Sarawak PKR will continue to protect the “adat” or customs of all the Indigenous People (IPs) of Sarawak if given the mandate, emphasises its information chief Abun Sui Anyit.

According to Abun, this include the “adat” demarcating communal boundaries (known as “antara” or “garis menoa” in Iban) of or between territorial domains of villages which they and their ancestors before them they had practised since time immemorial.

“Thus, if given the mandate to govern especially in Sarawak, Keadilan or PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) Sarawak together with its partners in Pakatan Harapan (PH) will ensure that the established communal boundaries of each and all villages of the IPs and natives in the state will be surveyed and gazetted to protect the IPs or natives’ rights over their ancestral lands or territorial domains some known in Iban as “Pemakai Menoa” (PM) and “Pulau Galau” (PG),” he highlighted in a press statement yesterday.

Abun pointed out that under the concept of land ownership in Sarawak as of today under Barisan Nasional (BN) or now Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), all land without land titles has always been called “state land” or “tanah kerajaan”.

Thus with the concept, the government under BN or GPS has done whatever it likes with state land, including issuing titles to their own relatives and cronies.

“The timber licences, provisional leases (PL) holders and Licence for Planted Forest (LPF) holders are given to companies over land, the natives or IPs claimed as their Native Customary Rights land or “tanah adat” that caused land issues arising between the companies, state government and the IPs or native peoples of Sarawak” he explained.

Abun gave assurance that Sarawak PKR is committed to bring reform to the land administration concept in Sarawak by changing the concept from “tanah kerajaan” to “tanah rakyat” or “people’s land”.

He opined that this is a very important conceptual change to benefit the peoples of Sarawak, and when the term is changed to “people’s land”, it would remind the ministry-in-charge of land or government leaders in future to deal with the “people’s land” carefully.

“However, the change of term from State Land to People’s Land shall not change the status of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land as ‘tanah adat’ (NCR) is still ‘tanah adat’. Only the term “tanah kerajaan” ought to be changed to “tanah rakyat” as NCR pre-existed of Land Code 1958 (Chapter 81) and the forest ordinance in Sarawak.

“The conceptual change offered by Keadilan is in accordance to the needs of the peoples which is parallel with the goals and objectives of reform practised by Keadilan under its constitution for the benefit of the peoples, especially the peoples of Sarawak,” he added. — DayakDaily