DNC urges support to further recognise native land rights

Longhouse harmony: Paul tells the government to recognise Dayak customs and native land rights.

KUCHING: The Dayak National Congress (DNC) is urging all indigenous elected representatives to voice their support for further recognition of native land rights.

“We beseech the Sarawak government to recognise the Iban Adat of pemakai menoa, pulau galau and similar customs,” said DNC vice-president Paul Raja in a statement following a forum co-organised with the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association.

“All Dayak assemblymen, MPs and ministers must voice their support for the recognition of the Iban Adat (on land) and similar the Dayak customs,” he said.

Paul said DNC was setting up a committee to pursue a “Intervener Proceeding” in the Sarawak government’s appeal at the Federal Court against the recognition of the two types of claimed native land.

“We shall apply to the Federal Court to intervene in the appeal... We wish to point out that this ‘Intervener Proceeding’ we intend to pursue is important to the community. Our pemakai menoa and pulau galau are important and parcel of our native land rights. The deprivation of these two rights will tantamount to deprivation of right to life of the Dayak community.”

The DNC vice-president urged elected representatives to push the state government led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to widen the recognition of native land.

In May last year, when Adenan was giving his first winding up address in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly as Chief Minister, he expressedly said the two categories of native land claims would not be recognised.

He said back then that the state government would not amend the Land Code to recognise pemakai menoa and pulau galau as native customary rights land.

Adenan said the state’s land administration system was based on the principle that native rights customary land was “temuda”, or land which had been cleared, occupied and cultivated by native persons.

DNC will hold another gathering on June 13 at its headquarters at Batu Kawah New Township here on the new committee.

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