An Assemblyman has suggested that Dayak intellectuals and NGOs hold a public forum on Adat having the force of law on pemakai menoa (territorial domain) and pulau galau (communal forest) land.
These are two of the three native customary rights (NCR) land categories.
The other is temuda (cultivated land).
Samalaju Assemblyman Majang Renggi believes the public forum can help resolve the issues on pemakai menoa and pulau galau. “The Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS) should take the leading role.”
Majang, according to the Borneo Post which reported his statement, was commenting on Deputy Chief Minister James Masing’s reaction on a Dec 20 Federal Court ruling that Adat does not have force of law on pemakai menoa and pulau galau, but only temuda.
The Federal Court held that pemakai menoa and pulau galau were incidental to temuda.
Masing had said the court had come to this conclusion because the MAIS – the definitive authority on the status of the land – had not come up with a clear definition on the status of these lands.
Majang, a PRS vice-president, said: “NGOs and other Dayak groups should hold a public forum to make recommendations to the Sarawak Attorney-General.”
The outcome of the deliberations during the public forum, he said, could be tabled in the Sarawak Assembly. “In this way, Adat will have the force of law on NCR land which are pemakai menoa and pulau galau.”
The assemblyman believes the present Adat on pemakai menoa and pulau galau, while recognising them as NCR land, was “vague” on customary law having the force of law.
He called for efforts to work out proper guidelines spelling out, based on practices and customs, the size of pemakai menoa and pulau galau.
“It has to be reasonable and practical so that it will be accepted by other communities as well,” Majang was quoted as saying.
Majang hopes the Sarawak government will resolve the issue of Adat on pemakai menoa and pulau galau having the force of law.
“Being denied those rights by the court was definitely a big blow and a humiliation for the Orang Asal,” he said.
Meanwhile, former MAIS deputy president Nicholas Bawin said: “The state AG has been appealing against the natives’ victories in court,” he said. “It’s the government that’s the problem.”
The Dec 20 ruling followed a claim by Tuai Rumah Sandah Tabau of Rumah Sandah in Ulu Machan, Kanowit, and eight others. They claimed that Adat had the force of law on 2,712 hectares of pemakai menoa land which they own.
Source : @ FMT Online