Sarawak govt to table comprehensive Land Code changes next May

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUCHING, Nov 17 ― A comprehensive amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to territorial domain and communal forest reserves will be ready for tabling in the May 2018 sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.

He urged the indigenous communities, Dayak non-governmental organisations and interested individuals should let the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land task force look at the issues holistically and thereafter work out proposals to amend the Land Code to resolve the current problems.

“In the meantime, I would like to appeal for patience from all parties,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly meeting.

Uggah said the state government is committed to resolving all issues relating to NCR and will table the Bill to amend the Land Code. Read more

Protesters give Sarawak three months to amend land code

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Nicholas Bawin addresss the peaceful assembly at the Old Court House on November 13, 2017. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Nov 13 — The organisers of a rally here today gave the Sarawak state government three months to respond to calls for amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to native customary rights land issues.

They demanded Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also the NCR land state task force chairman, to be seen doing something concrete within the three months’ period.

“We want action before the next sitting of the state assembly or else more assemblies will be held until our demands are met,” chief organiser Nicholas Bawin told reporters at the Old Court House where the peaceful assembly was held.

In a memorandum submitted to the state government following the peaceful assembly, the organisers want amendments to the land code to include giving recognition to territorial domain (“pemakai menoa”) and communal forest reserves (“pulau galau”), the definition of “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” must be based on the definition of the council of Dayak customs and traditions, the court must be empowered to exercise out NCR lands out of the provisional leases or licences of planted forest, and NCR land must be excluded from the definition of state land.

The issuance of document of title should also not be indefeasible against NCR land, they said.

The organisers also want the state government to put a moratorium on all appeals on NCR land cases, with a view to withdraw them upon the amendments of the Sarawak Land Code. Read more

Civil society groups to rally for Land Code amendment

Source: The Malaysian Insight

A SLEW of civil society groups will hold a rally in Kuching on November 13 to pressure the Sarawak government to speed up an amendment to the state’s Land Code.

The rally, to coincide with the sitting of the state legislative assembly, follows two major court decisions that had gone against Sarawak’s Dayak landowners’ interests.

One of the rally leaders, Nicholas Mujah, who is secretary of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia), said the proposed site of the Perhimpunan Aman Solidarity Orang Asal (the indigenous people’s solidarity and peaceful gathering) was the waterfront, on the side of the Sarawak River opposite the state legislative assembly.

Mujah said a memorandum would be submitted to the legislature during the gathering. Read more

‘Sarawak native land ruling does not cover other states’

Source: FMT News

Each region is governed by its own statutes, says former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram. Pic form FMT News.

Each region is governed by its own statutes, says former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram. Pic form FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The native communities of Sabah and the peninsular states remain unaffected by a recent Federal Court ruling that defeated a bid to enable the Dayaks of Sarawak to apply native customary rights (NCR) on virgin forests, according to a retired judge.

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said the land laws were different for the three regions.

“The decision will not have a binding effect as Sarawak is governed by its land ordinance while Sabah and the states in Malaya are guided by their own statutes,” he said.

Last Dec 20, the Federal Court allowed the Sarawak Government’s appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that recognised “pemakai menoa” (territorial domains) and “pulau galau” (communal forest reserves) as NCR land.

The Court of Appeal had affirmed a 2011 High Court ruling in favour of Tuai Rumah Sandah and seven other landowners in Ulu Machan, Kanowit. Read more

In pivotal decision, Dayaks lose right to claim forests as communal area

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Dayak landowners, who come from all over Sarawak, with a banner outside Kuching High Court complex, giving their support to the headman Sandah anak Tabau and seven other landowners in Kuching December 20, 2016. — Pictures by Sulok Tawie for MMO.

The Dayak landowners, who come from all over Sarawak, with a banner outside Kuching High Court complex, giving their support to the headman Sandah anak Tabau and seven other landowners in Kuching December 20, 2016. — Pictures by Sulok Tawie for MMO.

KUCHING, Dec 20 — The Dayak people cannot apply their native customary rights (NCR) on land to claim virgin forests as their territorial domains and communal forest reserves, the Federal Court decided today in a crucial judgment that affect tens of other related disputes.

In a 3-1 majority decision, the apex court allowed an appeal by the Forest Department and the state government in a case filed by headman Sandah anak Tabau and other seven other NCR landowners over an area in Ulu Machan, Kanowit.

Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Mohd Raus Shariff, in a written judgment, said there is no law in Sarawak that gives the force of law to customary rights claims by the Dayaks over virgin forests as NCR lands. Read more