KUCHING: Dayak elected representatives, regardless of political affiliation, have been asked to carefully study the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak Ordinance 1977.
State PKR chief Baru Bian claimed this was necessary should they wish to help the natives protect their rights over ancestral land due to an amendment for Proviso 3.
“The Ordinance was very good for it provided for the establishment of a council known as Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (Mais) whose role was to advise the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on all matters relating to the customary law and adat of the various natives of Sarawak other than Malays or natives who professed Islamic religion, and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto,” he told a press conference yesterday.
According to him, the council should be the authority on adat in Sarawak by virtue of Section 3 of the Ordinance but this was amended in 1996 and Mais is subject to the State Attorney General.
“In my opinion, it is not appropriate to make the council subject to the State Attorney General,” he said.
He called on all Dayak leaders to propose that Proviso 3 in the Ordinance be further amended.
“My point is this, why the government did not accept the view of the then-chairman of Mais Tan Sri Gerunsin Lembat on the definition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ when the Ordinance has made it very clear that the council is the authority on adat in Sarawak by virtue of Section 3 of Ordinance 1977,” he said.
“The argument of the government was that ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ were not being codified (no written record) and this is where the Dayak leaders can play their role by giving the right advice to the cabinet and chief minister.”
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing had recently called for Mais to be the authority over land issues in the state.
This was also supported by the PRS Youth wing.