KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― The Sarawak government recognises the terms “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” as native customary rights (NCR) land, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said.
But he added that there needs to be consensus and a “right definition” for the two terms to ensure they are accepted by all, The Borneo Post reported on its website today.
“Adenan and I recognise pemakai menoa and pulau galau but there must be a definition. So we have to find a right definition,” he was quoted saying, referring to his predecessor, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
“If we want to amend the Land Code, it must be consistent. If our law is wrong, how do [you expect] people to recognise our law? If it’s not acceptable by all, then this is not a law. We cannot have the law of the jungle,” he reportedly added.
Abang Johari said his deputy Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas is now working with community leaders on an acceptable solution by all groups.
Uggah who is also the state minister of modernisation of agriculture, native land and regional development was tasked with handling the NCR issue and currently heads a committee on “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” committee.
He had previously promised a solution by year end.
Abang Johari said once there is a consensus on the definition, the state government can then legislate it for the long term.
The term “pemakai menoa” refers to territorial domain while “pulau galau” has been used to refer to communal forest reserve.
In a landmark 3-in majority decision last December, the Federal Court ruled that Sarawak’s Dayak people cannot apply their NCR on land to claim virgin forests as their territorial domains and communal forest reserves.
The then Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Mohd Raus Shariff had said in his ruling that the Sarawak Land Code, Tusun Tunggu (Codified Customary Laws), Iban Adat 1993 and a number of Rajah Orders only recognise cultivated land called “temuda” as NCR land.