Calling natives squatters unjustified – Dayak graduates

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KUCHING: The labelling of Sarawakian natives as squatters in the controversial video clip by Global Witness is uncalled for and unjustified.

In saying this yesterday, Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Dr Dusit Jaul stated those making the disparaging remark in the video clip should not use the word ‘squatters’ until proper documentation of the land status was made and completed.

“How can anyone claim that the natives are occupying land illegally based on a land code which was only legislated in 1958?” questioned Dusit.

He also said it was a fact that the native ancestors were pioneers who helped open up new lands in Sarawak.

“They have been occupying and opening up virgin forests for hundreds of years. The Ibans used the term ‘Ngerumpang Menua’ which means clearing and opening up new lands,” said Dusit.

He also said to strengthen their stake on the land, the early natives relied on hard work, determination and persistence to clear and open up the land.

Meanwhile, Dusit also said that in the early 1960s, surveying teams charted their maps and conduct surveys via helicopter rides and film cameras.

“These are the least accurate instruments to record land sizes and locations unlike satellite mapping which we have today,” Dr Dusit noted.