State PKR will seek a review of the Federal Court’s decision on Tuesday that both ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ had no force of law in Sarawak.
Its chief Baru Bian, also Ba Kelalan assemblyman, believed there were grounds for the decision to be reviewed while asserting that such ruling affected every community rather than only the Ibans in the state.
“Many people may not have realised the impact of the ruling. In fact, it will affect all communities in Sarawak because ‘menoa’ is not confined to the Ibans of Sarawak but the whole concept is that if we go along with the decision of the court, customs of the other communities similar to ‘menoa’ may not be legislated.
“It has far-reaching consequences to all communities including the Malays with the concept of ‘cari makan’. As such, we will see a review in court,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Also with him at the conference was state PKR secretary general Nicholas Bawin, who claimed that the state Attorney General (AG) ‘has been the stumbling block in the amendment of the Majlis Adat Ordinance 1977’.
Nicholas, who was deputy president of Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (Mais), said the council had tried to amend the Adat Iban but was not able to get past the hurdles it faced.
Way back in 1997, he said the council had conducted a series of dialogues with community leaders for the purpose of amending the Adat as allowed under Section 3(c) of the Majlis Adat Ordinance 1977.
“The concept of pulau galau and pemakai menoa featured prominently in those discussions and strong recommendations were made to have them included in the Adat.
“During my time as deputy president of Mais, the first draft of the proposed amendments was completed in 2002. I am certain that pulau galau and pemakai menoa were in the first draft but despite my persistence, the state AG did not seem to take the matter seriously or urgently.”
Nicholas said his contract with the council was terminated in 2005 and therefore had not been involved in the subsequent discussions.
However, he managed to acquire a copy of the draft amendment a few years later.
“In that version (updated as at 2009), only pulau is mentioned. In any event, the proposed amendment was never approved by the state AG.”
He said he welcomed the recent statement by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing and hoped that the state cabinet minister would talk seriously to the state AG and legal advisor about the matter.
He added that Masing ought to be aware of Section 3 of the Majlis Adat Istiadat Ordinance which was amended in 2002 to insert this proviso: “Provided that, the Majlis shall, before giving any advice under this subsection, consult the State Attorney-General whose opinion on any legal issue that may be contained or raised in the advice shall be taken into consideration by the Majlis”.
“I hope that with the input of Tan Sri James Masing, the government will finally respect the rights of the natives of Sarawak,” added Nicholas.
On Thursday, Masing urged Mais to recommend to the state government the proper definition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ which at the moment remains ambiguous.
State PKR vice chairman and Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and its Wanita chief Nurhanim Mokhsen were also present at the press conference.
Source : Lim How Pim @ The Borneo Post Online