Tuesday, March 19

Group hopes to finalise memorandum to Chief Minister’s Office

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KUCHING: A group of Dayak intellectuals and leaders of several Dayak-based NGOs are confident that they can finalise the much-awaited memorandum on how to solve issues surrounding their native customary rights (NCRs) over Pulau Galau and Pemakai Menoa.

The memorandum will be presented to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) once it is endorsed by participants of the NCR Land Forum held at a hotel here last Jan 7.

The group’s spokesman, Dr Charlie Dudang, hopes the memorandum will be ready soon after their meeting here tonight (Jan 26).

“I am calling on all subject matter experts on land and Dayak Adat (customs) to come over to the meeting to endorse and validate the memorandum. The experts can be lawyers, NCR defenders and experts on Adat. All are welcome,” he said when contacted on Tuesday afternoon.

The group remains positive on the outcome of their proposal to the state government following comment from newly appointed Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg that he would like to meet Dayak leaders on the matter.

This was followed by statements from deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing on separate occasions that they would also talk to Abang Johari on the issue soon.

On Jan 7, the NCR Land Forum resolved that they needed to fine-tune the draft of their resolutions to the state government to make the memorandum more presentable.

The Jan 7 forum was attended by about 300 participants from the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities. Among the notable participants were Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Bukit Goram assemblyman Jefferson Jamit Ungat, Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian and Krian assemblyman Ali Biju as well as political secretaries to the chief minister Edwin Banta and Nicholas Kudi and community leaders including Datuk Paduka Anthony Nait, Sidi Munan, Datuk Anthony Nuek and Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.

The forum was held following the Federal Court ruling late last year that Pulau Galau (communal forest reserve) and Pemakai Menoa (territorial domain) had no or were not given the force of law.

This prompted the Dayak group to pass resolutions to call upon the state government to get these lands codified as NCR in statute.