Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing is urging Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS) to recommend to the state government the proper definition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ which at the moment is ambiguous.
He said the definition or term of ‘pulau galau’ (area kept for communal use) should be native customary right (NCR) land. “The area is specially kept only for communal use by the community. It is normally very small. Any member who uses the products from pulau galau for commercial purposes will be fined by customary laws.”
As for ‘pemakai menoa’, he said it was an area used for hunting and foraging by the Dayak community. The size depended on individual/longhouse claim. The size and the location of the ‘pemakai menoa’ land were not certain.
The only undisputed NCR land is ‘temuda’, which is land cleared for shifting cultivation before January 1958.
“It is here where an authority to define ‘pemakai menoa; is needed. This is where MAIS is needed. Its recommendations are required to define ‘pemakai menoa’,” Masing said yesterday.
He said that laws could be tabled based on MAIS’ recommendations. “Once the definition on ‘pemakai menoa’ is accepted and becomes law of the land, then the term ‘No Force Of Laws’ becomes irrelevant when the court deliberates on ‘pulau galau’ and pemakai ‘menoa’,” he said, adding that once the law on NCR land was tabled and became law, NCR land dispute between the authorities and Dayak community would be a thing of the past.
“The issue on pulau galau and memakai menoa can be dealt with in similar fashion. Anger, frustration and name-
calling will not bring the Dayak community any closer to solving the problems. Let us get together, think rationally and intelligently as we did in Sibu a few years ago. Majlis Adat Istiadat can lead,” said Masing.
The Federal Court on Tuesday ruled that both ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ had no force of law in Sarawak. In a three-to-one decision, the apex court allowed the appeal by the state government and set aside the orders of the Court of Appeal and High Court that recognised native customary right (NCR) over ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’
The respondents in the case were Tuai Rumah Sandah Tabau of Rumah Sandah in Ulu Machan, Kanowit and eight other NCR land owners. They claimed they had customary rights over 2,712 ha of ‘pemakai menoa’ land in the area.
Masing who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation said when Besi Jenggot lost his NCR land case in the court for buying NCR land outside his territory or area of domicile a few years ago, it signalled that NCR land was not a commodity for sale, which had reduced the value of NCR next to nothing.
“What did the Dayaks and Dayak NGOs do to remedy the situation? A meeting was called in Sibu for all Dayak leaders and NGOs to attend and recommendations were sent to the state government to ensure NCR land can be purchased by any Dayak/Bumiputera anywhere in Sarawak.
“A bill was tabled (based on its recommendations) in DUN to allow NCR land to be an item of trade. It was passed. Now NCR land can be bought and sold to any Sarawak Bumiputera. Consequently, NCR land has increased in value.
“The beneficiary is the Dayak community,” he said.
As such, Masing said the issue of both ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ could be dealt with in similar fashion.
Source : Peter Sibon @ The Borneo Post Online