Sarawak’s sovereignty covers its lands all the way to the heavens above, affirms Premier over latest Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022

Abang Johari and Juma'ani enjoying a bowl of cendul at DBKU Hari Raya celebration. Photo credit: Ukas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 20: “Whoever owns the soil, it is theirs all the way up to Heaven”, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said in affirming Sarawak’s sovereign rights not only on land but also all that is above it.

He was referring to the principle of Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum (Latin for ‘whoever’s is the soil, it is theirs all the way to Heaven’) which was recognised by many countries in the world, especially in the aviation sector concerning the legal status of airspace where aircrafts have to seek authorisation or permission to access airspace over different countries.

This came following the passing of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 which seeks control over Sarawak’s airspace, the emission of carbon dioxide, monetisation of carbon dioxide and matters related to telecommunication spectrum in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on May 18.

“For the past three years, I have sought advice from the Attorney-General. If we have authority over land, for sure we have authority for things above it.

“Moreover, in the law, there was no mention of the authority over the space above land. So our legal experts for three years studied and referred to international law, it is based on Common Law whereby if you have rights over land, then you have rights above as well which in Latin principle, we have sovereign right all the way up until heaven,” he said.

Abang Johari highlighted this when addressing the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Ramah Tamah Hari Raya Aidilfitri held at the council headquarters tonight.

With ownership over the airspace, he emphasised that those who are interested to build towers on the land must now greet and knock on Sarawak’s door first to seek permission.

“When people question why the need to have control over our airspace, this also boils down to carbon emission because the signal reflected between this space will emit radiation and one of the components of radiation is carbon (dioxide).

“So we must have rights over it. I want Sarawak to exert its right over our airspace so that those who want to use it should seek permission from us,” he added of the opportunities for new sources of revenues for the State.

Touching on the amendments to regulate and control carbon emission and storage, Abang Johari emphasised that Sarawak have to manage the State and economy according to the changing times as climate change has emerged as one of the biggest challenges facing the world today.

“India is suffering from a heatwave that has killed many of its people and destroyed properties. This problem will only worsen if we do not properly manage our Earth.

While thankful that Sarawak is still blessed with a green environment, he said it is crucial to take action and change the way Sarawak uses energy, otherwise the lives of people will be affected by global warming and climate change eventually.

Premier’s wife Puan Sri Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Dr Abdul, Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni and Rahman Junaidi, DBKU Mayor Datu Junaidi Reduan were among those present. — DayakDaily