Tuesday, September 24

CM to meet Dayak leaders on ‘pemakai menoa’, ‘pulau galau’

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem will meet Dayak leaders soon to discuss the Federal Court’s recent decision on ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial domain) and ‘pulau galau’ (communal forest reserve).

However, no date has been set for the proposed meeting.

“With reference to the recent decision on ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ by the Federal Court, the chief minister will call for a meeting with Dayak leaders after the new year holidays,” said the Chief Minister’s Office in a statement on Christmas Day.

Adenan is now on a week-long working visit to Australia.

On Dec 20, the Federal Court ruled that both ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’ had no force of law in Sarawak.

In a three-to-one decision, the apex court allowed the appeal by the state government and set aside the orders of the Court of Appeal and High Court that recognised native customary rights (NCR) over ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’.

On Dec 23, state PKR chief Baru Bian said he would seek a review of the court’s decision.

Baru, who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman and a lawyer, asserted that the ruling affected every community in the state, including the Malays, with the concept of ‘cari makan’.

“Many people may not have realised the impact of the ruling,” he said.

“It will affect all communities in Sarawak because ‘menoa’ is not confined to the Ibans of Sarawak. The whole concept is that if we go along with the decision of the court, customs of the other communities similar to ‘menoa’ may not be legislated.”

On the same day, state PKR secretary-general Nicholas Bawin claimed that the state Attorney General (AG) had been the stumbling block in efforts to amend the Majlis Adat Ordinance 1977.

“The state AG has been the one appealing the natives’ victories in court. It is the government that has been the problem.”

Nicholas, who was a former deputy president of Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS), said the council had tried to amend the Adat Iban, but in vain.

Meanwhile, on Dec 22, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing urged MAIS to recommend to the state government the proper definition of ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pulau galau’, which at the moment remains ambiguous.