The lack of concern of the Dayak community over their customary land rights has caused them to lose their ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest reserve).
This was stated by State PKR secretary Nicholas Bawin in his Facebook posting on Tuesday, who questioned whether the Dayak community realised the importance of preserving their pemakai menoa and pulau galau,
“If only we care whatever our forefathers had established and handed down to us, by the practice of our customs and traditions, we could have maintained and kept our pemakai menoa and pulau galau.
“However, it seems that we chose to ignore and as a result, we lost pemakai menoa and pulau galau so easily through the process of land code amendments, which silently became the tools of land grabbers.”
According to Bawin, who was formerly deputy president of the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak, Sarawak Land Code 1958 had been amended many times in the past.
“The amendments gave advantages and benefits to the rich, well-to-do and to those in power and in authority and made it easier for the land grabbers to take away our NCR (native customary rights) lands.”
He said the Private Member’s Bill pertaining to Land Code amendments introduced by Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian should have the support of the Dayak state elected representatives because it concerned the rights of every NCR land owner.
“However, they chose not to support it and this is where they missed the point.”
Bawin hoped that the Dayak leaders’ meeting with the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem after the New Year holidays would settle the issue of pemakai menoa and pulau galau.
Additionally, he hoped that Section 5(2)(f) of the Sarawak Land Code which was amended in 2000 could be reinstated.
The Federal Court, on Dec 20, ruled that native custom ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ had no force of law in Sarawak. In a majority 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 NCR over ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.
Meanwhile, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Bary (PBDSB) president Cobbold John Lusoi supported Bawin’s statement that pemakai menoa and pulau galau and the amendments on Sarawak Land Code 1958.
“Such circumstances had resulted as a ‘masterkey’ to open doors for the land grabbers opportunists to take away Dayak’s NCR land to this very day.”
He said it was sad that the Dayak’s ‘couldn’t care-less attitude’ had brought the NCR land issue to this present situation with the Federal Court ruling that ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ had no force of law in Sarawak.
“Not many are aware about the importance of both ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ as well as the significance of it to the community, as sadly, it seems that majority Dayak chose not to do anything about it, especially those in authorities.
“It is due to huge majority of ‘do not bother’ attitude among the Dayak community that had caused the recognition of both customary land being denied and rights being taken away.”
Cobbold said if only the Dayak community cared about what their forefathers had established and handed down to them, through the practice of their own Dayak customs and traditions, they could have easily maintained and kept the two categories of land just as their forefathers had done before.
“But unfortunately, the Dayak community in general, had chosen to remain silent, as such, their rights over both of the said land had been slowly whittled way by the authorities through the many processes of Land Code amendments.”
He also echoed Bawin’s statement that the Private Member’s Bill tabled by Baru to amend the Land Code should have the support of all the Dayak’s assemblymen because it protect the rights of every NCR land owner in general.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Dr Dusit Jaul when contacted hoped that the state government would handle and resolve this issue with wisdom bearing in mind that this government claimed to be ‘rakyat’ centric.
“Looking at it from societal point of view, the Federal Court’s decision on pemakai menoa and pulau galau, had created widespread anger among the Dayak Community. This is very obvious if you listen to coffee shop talk among Dayaks and also from their postings in the social media.”
Dusit believed that the only way forward to resolve the issue of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ was for the state government to amend the Sarawak Land Code to include pemakai menoa and pulau galau as NCR land.
Source : @ The Borneo Post Online