Whether PMPG has the force of law remains unanswered — Baru

Baru Bian

KUCHING, Sept 11: Whether the native customary right (NCR) land status of the “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” (PMPG) has the force of law remained unanswered.

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian expressed deep disappointment with the decision of the Federal Court to dismiss the review application by NCR land claimants tuai rumah Sandah Tabau and Siew Libau’s case involving the recognition of the NCR land in Sarawak.

“With this review dismissed, it means the issues which we hoped to clarify and determine, whether pemakai menoa and pulau galau (the NCR over land in Sarawak) has the force of law, remains unanswered,” he said in a statement.

Pemakai menoa refers to territorial domain, while pulau galau refers to communal forest reserves.

Baru, who is also Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman and Selangau MP, viewed that the Nor Nyawai case was still the law on the matter, which answered the question in the affirmative.

“It therefore means that we, as natives of Sarawak, must continue to assert and claim our said rights over NCR lands until another Federal Court’s case decides clearly that Nor Nyawai is overruled,” he said.

“I am aware that a few cases on the same issue have been given leave by the Federal Court to be argued further but were postponed awaiting tuai rumah Sandah’s decision in the Federal Court,” he added.

Baru said the court’s decision to dismiss can be perceived as in fact having ‘no decision at all’ on the issues at hand.

He expressed hope that pending cases will be allowed to be ventilated fully before the Federal Court soon, in order that a very clear decision be made.

“This is particularly urgent and necessary in the light of the dissenting judgement of Tan Sri David Wong CJSS who himself is a Sabahan,” he said.

“His Lordship not only dissented against the majority’s decision on the legal nature of the Review but also disagreed on the Federal Court’s decision in the Kerutum Case on the definition of a judge having a ‘Bornean experience’ when hearing appeals from the two Bornean states,” he added.

Nevertheless, Baru emphasised that he fully respect the discretion given to the court to make such a decision under the law.

The long legal battle involving two tracts of land totalling nearly 18,000 hectares in Kanowit-Ngemah has come to an end after four judges to one in the Putrajaya Federal Court ruled in favour of the Sarawak government, the provisional lease holder, by dismissing the application today.

One of the claimants’ lawyer Joshua Baru was reported as stating the four judges felt that the claimants’ grounds for review were more of an appeal instead of judicial review and therefore dismissed the application. — DayakDaily