The Council for Dayak Customs and Traditions was not negligent in providing the definitions for two key terms central to native customary rights (NCR), its former deputy president said today.
Nicholas Bawin added that Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing was “off the mark” in blaming the council for purportedly failing to define pemakai menoa (territorial domain) and pulau galau (communal forest reserve) as parts of NCR land.
“His criticism is off the mark because it was not the fault of the council,” Bawin said.
He said during his time as an office-bearer, the council tried to amend the definition of the two terminologies, but faced hurdle from the state Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
“During my time, the council completed its first draft of the proposed amendments in 2002, but the state Attorney-General’s Chambers did not seem to take the matter seriously or urgently.
“When my contract with the council was not renewed in 2005, I was not involved in the subsequent discussions with the state Attorney-General’s Chambers,” Bawin said, adding that only pulau galau was defined in the final draft of the amendments to council’s Ordinance.
He said even then the final draft, completed in 2009, was never approved by the state AGC.
“I hope Masing will talk seriously with officers of the state Attorney-General’s Chambers about giving definitions to the two terminologies,” Bawin said, adding that it is up to the state government to table the amendments to the council’s Ordinance.
On December 21, Masing blamed the council for the Federal Court to rule that the Dayak customary rights have no force of law over claims on virgin forests as pemakai menoa and pulau galau as part of the NCR lands due to lack of definitions on the two terminologies
Bawin hoped that with the input from Masing, the state government will finally respect the rights of the indigenous communities.
Source : @ The Malay Mail Online