KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak wants to meet Chief Minister Adenan Satem to discuss the NCR land issue and to update him on the matter.
In a letter to Adenan, PKR advises the Chief Minister to personally read the court judgements on NCR land and not rely solely on the State legal consultant.
The letter stated the reasons for the meeting and may have implied that Adenan did not read the rulings of the courts on the NCR land issue.
The rulings affirm that ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ were part of NCR land.
Adenan seems to have relied on the submission of legal consultant J.C. Fong which was repeatedly rejected at all levels of the courts.
“We have written to Adenan to brief him on the latest decision of the Court of Appeal (on Sarawak Malay NCR land) and to (seek a meeting) to hand over the rulings so that he can personally read them and will not rely too much on the state legal consultant,” said lawyer Baru Bian.
Baru Bian who is Sarawak PKR Chief and State assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, said they expect to meet Adenan towards the end of July.
PKR was upset when Adenan told the state assembly during the May sitting that Baru wanted to introduce motions to amend the definition of NCR land to include ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ in the belief that the courts recognised ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’.
The state’s land administration system, according to the chief minister in the state assembly, was based on the principle that the NCR land is ‘temuda’ or land which had been cleared, occupied and cultivated by native persons.
‘Pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ are land further away from the longhouses.
Adenan told the assembly that the state government would not amend the Land Code to recognise ‘pemakai menua’ and ‘pulau galau’ as NCR land.
Adenan’s statement, and one which apparently set the stage for the letter, convinced PKR that the Chief Minister had not read the judgements.
“He did not read it but is just relying on Fong to update him,” said Baru.
According to Baru, the chief minister should read the Federal Court rulings himself or seek the advice of the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjun.
“He (Richard) is the best person for the Chief Minister to turn to,” he said.
Besides Fong’s arguments being seen as kamikaze and “always against NCR”, he is also accused of telling the federal government during a presentation that ‘pemakai menua’ is Baru Bian’s concept and not Iban adat.
Adenan’s response to the letter is expected to shed light on Fong’s continued tenure with the Sarawak Government and its stand on NCR land.
The Sarawak Government, by one estimate, is battling some 400 cases in the courts involving NCR land.
Much of the land involved was occupied over a 33 year period, during the previous Taib Mahmud administration, by large plantation companies from Peninsular Malaysia.
The amount involved may run into billions of ringgit.