KUCHING:A Sarawak deputy chief minister said there can be no limitless “pemakai menoa” (territorial domain) and that there needs to be limitations on such native customary rights (NCR) land.
Describing “pemakai menua” as NCR land but with limitations, Dr James Jemut Masing added: “You cannot have ‘pemakai menua’ from sunrise to sunset. That is impossible because there are other people living in Sarawak apart from the Dayak community.”
He agreed that “pemakai menua” is where the Dayak community hunt, forage and fish but that this needs limitation, according to a report in The Borneo Post.
“If there is no demarcation between ‘pemakai menua’ it will be a fight among longhouses. Therefore, there must be a body that defines to what extent is the ‘pemakai menua’. We are not the only stakeholders of land, so let us not be too ‘Dayak-centric’ when looking at ‘pemakai menua’,” The Borneo Post quoted him as saying.
Masing gave an assurance that he would speak to Chief Minister Adenan Satem on the Dayak community’s wish for the State Land Code to be amended to include “pemakai menua” and “pulau galau” as NCR lands.
“There must be a force of law that will define what is ‘pemakai menua’,” he said.
Masing was speaking to reporters after presenting minor rural project grants to 22 recipients from non-governmental organisations, religious institutions, associations and village development and security committees at his office in Masja Complex here yesterday.
Masing gave definitions for “temuda”, “pulau galau” and “pemakai menua”.
“For ‘Temuda’, it means any land cleared before 1958 is NCR land. There’s no dispute on it. On the other hand, ‘pulau galau’ is undisputed as NCR land as the very definition of ‘galau’ means it is NCR land.”
“Pemakai menua”, he said, was “NCR land but with limitations”.
He clarified that his party, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), would not be submitting a memorandum on Adat — customary law — having force of law on all NCR land.
“I am part of the government,” he said. “So, I can talk to the chief minister. There’s no need for a memorandum.”
He added that it was only those who were not part of the government who had to submit memorandums.
After 2000, the state assembly excluded “pulau galau” and “pemakai menua” from the Sarawak Land Code. The ownership of the NCR land lots became “redundant” in the eyes of the state government. However, the natives still claim their right to these lands based on ancestral inheritance. Apparently, this is recognised by the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (Mais).
At the same time, the same land is being given by the state government to companies and developers through provisional leases (PL).
The Federal Court ruled on Dec 20 that Adat had no force of law on these two types of land as they were not mentioned in the Sarawak Land Code. -FMT