Hornbill Unleashed

April 30, 2014

More amendments proposed to Land Code

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 7:00 AM
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baru-bian-sarawak1Winston Way

NCR lawyer Baru Bian is also seeking to include tribe-specific terminologies on land matters in the proposed Land Code Amendment Bill.

PKR Sarawak will table a bill in next month’s Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting for amendments to the state Land Code to include all native terminologies, and not only those of the Ibans.

“I am proposing these amendments because different ethnic groups use different terminologies, although the concepts are the same.

“In what was confirmed by the code in the highest levels, these terminologies are very familiar. That’s why we suggested these amendments,” Baru said.

He said he would table the bill proposing the amendment to  Section 2 of the Land Code [Cap. 81 (1958 Ed)] by adding immediately after the subsection (a) of the definition of ‘Native Customary Land’ , a new subsection (aa).

The new ‘aa’ subsection will state:  ”such definitions under subsection of shall include cleared/farmed land (temuda or its equivalent), reserved forests areas (pulau galau/pulau or its equivalent) and communal land/territorial domain (pemakai menoa or its equivalent)”.

He said the terms ‘temuda’, ‘pulau galau/pulau’ and ‘pemakai menoa’ are Iban terminologies.

The bill also proposed an addition immediately after the definition of “Native Customary Land” under the same code. The  new classification “ “native rights”means rights described in Section 7A (1), created by or belonging to a native over land not issued with a document of title”.

Recently, Chief Minister Adenan Satem had announced that the Sarawak Bumiputras could sell their NCR land to any other Bumiputeras in the state regardless of their races and areas they come from.

Adenan said the changes in the Land Code Amendment Bill will be tabled in the DUN’s November sitting.

He said the state government had decided to amend the current land code bill because there were “crying needs to amend the law”.

“The law (governing the NCR land) must adapt to the need of the changing circumstances. During the November DUN Sitting we will introduce an amendment to the land code so that any native could buy and sell NCR land to any other natives whether they are Malays, Ibans, Bidayuhs or Orang Ulus. It (the ownership) will no longer be confined to the same community anymore,” Adenan reportedly said.

Specific amendments 

He said the present law was archaic and was “applicable maybe 200-300 years ago.”

“The idea then was to confine the land to the community. In those days, land was only for farming. But now land is not just for farming but also for industrial, commercial and residential purposes. Thus, we need to amend the bill,” he said.

Baru, meanwhile said Adenan’s announcement had pre-empted his plan to raise the issue again in the DUN.

“I  suggested this in the last state assembly sitting as well. This whole debate arose from the Bisi Jinggot case, but the case was only consigned to the Ibans/Sea Dayaks.

“But then it could be used on other ethnic groups, if their adat or culture prohibits the sale of Temuda lands to other or same ethnic groups,” said Baru.

In July, the Federal Court comprising Chief Justice Ariffin Zakaria, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Judges  Abdul Hamid Embong, Surayadi Halim Omar and Hasan Lah unanimously dismissed an appeal by Bisi against the lower courts’ decisions to refuse him a declaration that he had acquired NCRs over several lots of land totaling 37.24 acres.

The bill by Baru also included two other proposed amendments to the Land Code.

He proposed Section 5 of the Code to be amended by adding immediately among the new words “the Minister may appoint different dates for the coming into force of different provisions of this (Land Code [Amendment] 2014) Ordinance.”

Further additionas are the words of “after free, prior and informed consultation have been obtained from any person whose Native Customary Rights over such land are affected”, after the word “Minister”.

He also intended to have amendments to  Section 7 of the code.

He is proposing to add a new Section 7 (A), which will read:  “1) The following are rights belonging to a native over any land in respect of which no documents of title has been issued; a) rights lawfully created pursuant to Section 5(1) or (2),  b) rights and privileges over any land declared as a Native Communal Reserve under Section 6(1), c) rights within a Kampung Reserve, and d) native customary land as defined under Section 2 under the definition of Native Customary Land subsection (aa).”

The proposed new Section 7A also will include clauses “2) Any rights described in subsection (1) may be transferred or transmitted to, or inherited or acquired by, any native”.

He said a new clause 3 would read “the transfer, transmission, inheritance or acquisition of native rights over land under subsection (1) shall be in accordance with the system of personal law applicable to the community to which the native belongs and shall be regulated by rules made under Section 213”.


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