Sarawak will defend native customary land rights

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LUNDU: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has given his assurance that the state government will continue to defend native customary rights (NCR) land.

He said this when reading the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto for the Tanjong Datu state by-election at its launch here today.

At a media conference later, Abang Johari, who replaced the late Adenan Satem as the new chief minister 28 days ago, said the state government would study in depth the land issues related to pemakai menoa (territorial domain) and pulau galau (communal forest reserve).

Asked to comment on Ba’kelalan state assemblyman Baru Bian’s statement that the Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau Committee should also comprise representatives of NGOs, Abang Johari said he was open to views on the issue.

Baru hailed the setting up of the committee as good news for Sarawak Bumiputera communities.

About a week prior to his death, Adenan said he was willing to listen and consult with all communities on resolving the pemakai menoa and pulau galau land issue.

Last December, the Federal Court ruled that pemakai menoa and pulau galau land was a custom and practice but not enshrined in law.

In the judgement, the highest court allowed the appeal by the Sarawak state government and set aside the High Court’s ruling that recognised the pemakai menoa and pulau galau as NCR land in Sarawak.