Chong wants Adenan to be more serious on NCR over land
Chong (left) during a press conference yesterday, accompanied by state DAP deputy chairman Leon Jimat Donald.
KUCHING: State Democratic Action Party (DAP) is urging Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and the state government to stop paying mere lip service on defending native customary rights (NCR) of landowners.
Instead, its chairman Chong Chieng Jen said, the state government should take positive moves to amend the Land Code to give legal effect to the concept of ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest reserve).
He pointed out that the Sarawak BN government was solely to be blamed for the Federal Court ruling on Tuesday that the native customs of pemakai menoa and pulau galau had no force of law in Sarawak.
Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said he had three main reasons for attributing the blame for the Federal Court ruling on the Sarawak BN government.
Firstly, he said the Federal Court was only interpreting the law passed by the legislature, adding that it was the legislature that refused to enact laws giving the concept of pemakai menoa and pulau galau the force of law.
“BN has been the government of Sarawak since the formation of Malaysia. There is no reason that for a period of 53 years, the BN government cannot come up with a clear provision of law giving the concept of pemakai menoa and pulau galau the force of law,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Secondly, Chong said the dispute arose because the state government granted to private companies provisional lease of land covering those land which were also subjected to pemakai menoa and pulau galau.
“This clearly shows that the state government itself does not recognise the concept of pemakai menoa and pulau galau. Otherwise, it would not have issued to private companies Provisional Lease of land covering pemakai menoa and pulau galau.”
Finally, he said the decision of the Federal Court was made in a case where the state government was a litigant party.
“If the state government is of the view that pemakai menoa and pulau galau have the force of law, the state government can easily concede to this point of law without the Court having to make decision on it. The Court makes the ruling on the state government’s argument that pemakai menoa and pulau galau have no force of law.”
Given the above three reasons, Chong said it was not the Federal Court to blame but the Sarawak BN government for the position of law that pemakai menoa and pulau galau had no force of law and thus could not create native customary rights over land.
“In fact, it is a simple process to remedy this position. The state government needs only to table an amendment to the Land Code to expressly provide for the legality of pemakai menoa and pulau galau.”
He said it was regrettable that the Sarawak BN government, with all its resources and expertise, refused to do that but instead had Masing “crying crocodile tears”, attributing the present Dayak predicament to “lack of clear definition of NCR status that leads to Court’s decision”.
“Again, this is proof that the so-called local parties are the ones oppressing Sarawakians,” Chong added.