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KUCHING, Dec 10: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today revealed that it was Minister of Water, Land and Mineral Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar who said it was unfair for the country to have three laws governing land administration.
He also said the remark was made during the Majlis Tanah Negara (MTN) meeting in Putrajaya last week.
“He (Xavier) said it in the meeting that the peninsula had the ‘Kanun Tanah Negara’, Sabah had its own land code and Sarawak, too, had its own land code,” said Uggah, adding that he immediately asked Xavier to withdraw his statement.
“By his very own words, it seems Dr.Xavier is insinuating that the country should have just one national Land Code covering all.
“If there was no such intention, why, in the first place, did he bring it up in his remarks? That was why I immediately interrupted his speech, and although it was rather rude of me to do so, I had to stand up for Sarawak,” Uggah explained.
He was responding to a challenge by state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman Boniface Willy Tumek late yesterday to name the minister who made the remark in order to prove that he (Uggah) was not “creating something out of nothing.”
Speaking at a meet-the-people session at Rumah Entiggan in Spaoh, Betong on Saturday, Uggah had told those present that a federal minister had proposed having a single national Land Code idea.
Uggah said the suggestion was not only preposterous but also showed an ignorance of the peculiarities and complexities surrounding land issues in Sarawak.
“We have our peculiarities and complexities, like the native customary rights (NCR) land. Then there are related issues like the ‘Pemakai Menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘Pulau Galau’ (communal forest reserve).
“As such, a single national land code is impractical and a non-issue,” Uggah told the longhouse folk.
Meanwhile, Willy said the National Land Code is that body of law that governed all land matters in the federated Malayan states, while the Sarawak Land Code governs all land matters in the state.
“Sarawak PKR finds it extremely offensive and hard to believe that a PH federal minister had the temerity to suggest something as audacious as replacing the Sarawak Land Code, one symbol of the autonomy of Sarawak as spelt out in MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963), with another law that symbolises colonialism,” he said.
Willy added that land matters, even before the formation of Malaysia, was a matter for the government of Sarawak to administer and that replacing the Sarawak Land Code with the National Land Code would be unthinkable. — DayakDaily