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Ibans warned of ‘people with agenda’

 | July 17, 2013

The Dayak community, especially the Ibans, is told to welcome a Federal Court decision which recognises the existence of NCR land.

KUCHING: A former president of the Sarawak Council of Native Customary Laws has taken Dayak leaders with ‘hidden agendas’ to task for the furore over a federal court ruling disallowing the transfer by sales and purchase agreements of native customary land.

Sidi Munan said the Dayak community, especially the Ibans, should instead welcome the court decision which recognises the existence of NCR land

“We should be thankful to the Federal Court for finally recognizing our native customary rights over land.

“To me, the most important decision of the courts is the recognition of our NCR land, and this decision will once and for all erases the government’s perception that ‘all land not surveyed or any land not issued with a land title, including land under NCR claim is government land’,” Munan said.

He said asking to amend the adat and land laws on NCR land would eventually put the community “in a disadvantageous position.”

Munan was responding to calls by several Dayak leaders to amend the adat and land laws on NCR land.

The calls came about following last week’s Federal Court decision in the Bisi Jinggot case.

The court had ruled that NCR land cannot be transferred by sale and purchase agreements, nor can a native customary rights so acquired over the temuda (farm land) by a native be sold to another person who does not belong to the same community.

The decision also affects Dayaks entering into joint venture with persons outside their community.

“If these people want the adat and land laws changed then they have to be specific as to what sections of the laws to be amended.

“You cannot simply say amend the adat and the land laws. We need to sit down and study the judgments of the courts including the Federal Court, the adat and land laws.

“If need be, there should be a forum to be organized by an independent body so that both leaders of the government and leaders of the Dayak communality including those from SADIA (Sarawak Dayak Iban Association) can attend and freely express their feelings and concerns.”

“Reviewing the adat and land laws without going into details could put the community in a disadvantageous position later on as there are certain people who really wished for them (natives) to fight the court’s decisions.

“These people are still eyeing our NCR land,” Munan said without being specific as to who “these certain people” were.

Government is not stupid

Sidi, said however, should there be an amendment or review, the Dayak community should urge the government to relook at Section 5 (3) (4) of the Land Code which extinguishes native customary rights and where the burden of proof of ownership is on the land owners.

“The burden of proof should be on the government if it wants the NCR land.

“The government cannot presume all land is state land. It must prove it is state land,” he said, pointing out that the landowners had been there generations after generations.

If the government disputed their existence, then it should be the one to provide proofs, he said.

Munan said that the government had also been using Section 6 of the Land Code to take away NCR land and converted it to other similar initials – NCR land (native communal reserve land).

“All land reserves including native communal reserve land are under the purview of the government, and any time the government wants the land, it will just take it like that without paying compensation.

“Why pay compensation, when you have already lost your native customary rights over the land after you agreed for your land to be perimeter-surveyed.

“The government is not that stupid,” Sidi said.

Also read:

Court ruling on land worries Dayak


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