Baram PKR chief calls for Sarawak government to have political will for total reform to ensure a just society in line with the state's multi-religious, multi-ethnic population.
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR believes the call for a Dayak to be appointed state attorney-general (AG), in the wake of a Dec 20 Federal Court ruling, must be kept in perspective.
Baram PKR chief Roland Engan said appointing a Dayak as state AG must mean holistic reform in Sarawak, The Borneo Post reported.
“It does not only mean incorporation of customs in Sarawak, especially those affecting native customary rights (NCR) land, in legislation.
“What Sarawak needs is holistic reform. That means reforms in law, politics, economy and society,” he was quoted as saying by the Kuching-based daily.
Engan was commenting on a paper by lawyer Abun Sui Anyit calling for the appointment of a Dayak as state AG to address, among others, the “failings” in the Sarawak Land Code.
Abun had claimed that only a Dayak would be able to understand the culture of the natives and their Adat (customary laws), customs and traditions.
Engan, instead, called for a government in Sarawak that had the political will for total reform.
“The present government must have the political will to reform everything under its jurisdiction so as to ensure a just and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious society in Sarawak,” Roland said.
Revisiting the Dec 20 ruling, Engan said the question of the Dayak people not practising the “pemakai menoa” (territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (communal forest) NCR customs did not arise.
The issue for the Federal Court, he pointed out, was whether Adat — customary law — on these customs had force of law. The Federal Court decided Adat didn’t have force of law on “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau”, holding the customs as incidental to “temuda”.
The Federal Court held that Adat had force of law only on “temuda” while agreeing that “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” were NCR land as well.
Roland had stood as a PKR candidate in the 13th general election for the Baram parliamentary seat in 2012 and in the last state election for the Telang Usan state seat, but very narrowly lost on both occasions to BN candidates.