KUCHING: The Sarawak Land Code might be amended again soon – judging by what the Chief Minister is saying – to change the cutoff year for native customary rights (NCR) recognition.
Tan Sri Adenan Satem said it was his “personal opinion” the existing cutoff of 1958 was too far back.
“We recognise the position of NCR, provided (it is) before a point in time. In our case, it is 1958, though personally I think that part ought to be amended because 1958 is more than half a century ago,” Adenan said at the launch ceremony of the book “Sarawak Law Series: Land Code (With Annotations)” yesterday.
“It would have been well in 1960 to say that the land must be cultivated before 1958 but now so many years have passed. Perhaps it is time to change the customary date. That is my personal opinion,” he explained.
The last amendment to the Land Code was in November last year. The Sarawak Legislative Assembly passed a bill allowing the “transferability or dealing of NCR land and enable landowners to transfer or temporarily lease their land for monetary consideration”.
Basically, it allowed bumiputra from Sarawak to buy NCR land outside their ethnic group or community.
At the book launch, held at the Assembly Complex’s ballroom, Adenan spoke about the last amendment, saying it was to add value to NCR.
“A long time ago, land was valued only for agriculture purposes. Land wasn’t looked upon as a commercial commodity. There was no monetary value to land other than for agriculture cultivation but circumstances have changed.
“Land is not just property and sentiment, the thing about land is that it doesn’t ‘rust’... not like a car that depreciates. Between a car and land, I would choose land because it appreciates in value,” he said.
The new book is the first in a series of reference text focusing on Sarawak’s legislation. It was a collaboration between LexisNexis and the Sarawak Attorney-General’s Chambers.
LexisNexis is the leading publisher of legal, tax and regulatory content. Its Malayan Law Journal Reports is in its 83rd year of publication.
“Malaysia is an important jurisdiction for LexisNexis but about three years ago we noticed east Malaysia content was a ‘white space’ for us. Therefore, with considerable planning, we have brought the best-in-class legal information to east Malaysia’s legal community,” said Ella Wang, managing director at LexisNexis South-East Asia.
Adenan was pleased with the compendium, saying without clear references, navigating Sarawak’s unique Land Code was like being lost in the wilderness.
Next in the Sarawak Law Series is an annotation of state prosecutions.