STAR joins call for PMPG to be recognised, accorded force of law

Lina Soo

KUCHING, June 14: State Reform Party (STAR) supports the full recognition of `Pemakai Menoa’ (territorial domain) and `Pulau Galau’ (communal forest reserves) (PMPG) and for them to be accorded the force of law.

Its president, Lina Soo, said STAR fully agreed with Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) president Munan Laja’s recent statement calling for PMPG to be fully recognised by law.

Soo alleged that the Sarawak Land Code had been amended at least seven times since 1958, and each successive amendment eased the way for land grabs, where native customary rights (NCR) land were transgressed upon by large plantation companies at the expense of NCR landowners.

“The Dayak community’s gripe is that they have to apply and pay rent to the government on their ancestral lands when this heritage was passed to them from past generations and forms an integral part of their indigenous land rights.

“This apparently does not give an acceptable solution to the Dayak community, who wants NCR land to be surveyed under Part 5 of the Land Code and individual titles to be issued under Section 18, not under Section 6 of the Land Code,” she said in a statement.

Soo observed that the Dayak community was rich in land, but the Sarawak government lacked the sincerity to resolve NCR landowners’ woes. This lack of political will to implement real land reforms for the benefit of the Dayaks had cost the landowners their rights over their inheritance and also their rights to develop as a society to full economic potential.

Any government that aspired to rule as an effective “government of the people, by the people, for the people” must look after the welfare of the people and respond to their grievances and plights.

“The government must prioritise the full rights of the citizens and only then, we can move forward as an equitable and prosperous state,” Soo reckoned. — DayakDaily