Hornbill Unleashed

July 17, 2017

Bawin concerned about natives losing cases on NCR issues

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Image result for Nicholas BawinThe indigenous people of Sarawak lost at least seven cases in the Court of Appeal last week on the issue of their native customary rights (NCR) to land based on the concept of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.

According to former Majlis Adat Istiadat deputy president Nicholas Bawin, the Court of Appeal based their decision on the Federal Court judgment in the Tuai Rumah Sandah case in December last year.

“Although I had been made to understand that the TR Sandah decision was not a decisive judgment as there was, in fact, a split in the judgments on the issue of whether the concept of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ is recognised in law, it appears that the Court of Appeal felt compelled to follow the decision of the head of the panel in that case,” he said in a press statement recently.

Nicholas, who is state PKR secretary, said he was aware that an application had been filed to review the Federal Court’s decision on TR Sandah’s case, but in view of the uncertainty of the date of hearing, and more importantly, of the outcome of that review, it is imperative that the Sarawak government act without delay to amend the Land Code so that the rights of the indigenous people to their ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ are recognised.

“This will be subject to evidence, of course. An amendment to the Land Code would remove any uncertainty as to the recognition of the concept of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.”

He therefore urged Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, as head of the taskforce set up by the government to advise the government, to expedite the recommendations, that is to amend the Land Code so that the recognition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ will be formally legislated.

“This is the only way to remove all uncertainties and put to rest the fears and worries of the people.”

Having been given a huge mandate by the people of Sarawak, Nicholas said the government is duty-bound to protect the rights of the various indigenous communities.

“In my opinion and that of the legal experts in this matter, there is a straightforward and simple solution to this problem that has caused much distress and loss to the people. I suggest that the government convene an emergency sitting of the State Legislative Assembly to pass an amendment to the Land Code.

“Waiting for the November sitting may cause more people to lose the rights to their lands as there are still cases to be heard in the High Court and the appellate courts.”

Source : The Borneo Post Online



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