No objection from cops over Dayak’s peaceful assembly over NCR land issues

Deputy chairman of the organising committee Nicholas Bawin says all Dayak landowners are invited to come for the peaceful assembly at the Kuching Waterfront, November 1, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie
Deputy chairman of the organising committee Nicholas Bawin says all Dayak landowners are invited to come for the peaceful assembly at the Kuching Waterfront, November 1, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Nov 1 ― The police have no problem with the Dayak community’s peaceful assembly here on November 13 to express frustration over many unresolved issues relating to native customary rights (NCR) land, organisers said today.

Deputy chairman of the organising committee Nicholas Bawin said Kuching district police chief ACP Abang Ahmad Abang Julai conveyed the message in a meeting with them on Monday.

“Therefore, we are happy that the police are giving their cooperation for us to hold the assembly at the Kuching Waterfront,” he told reporters.

Bawin, who is a former deputy president of the Council of Customs and Traditions of the Dayak community, invites all the Dayak landowners to come to the assembly and listen to speeches by community leaders and NCR land lawyers.

He said since the Federal Court's ruling in Tuai Rumah (headman) Sandah anak Tabau's case last year, the Dayak landowners have lost all the NCR land cases involving territorial domain (pemakai menoa) and communal forest reserves (pulau galau) before the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Bawin said the apex court's ruling in TR Sandah that the territorial domain and communal forest reserves have no force of law has affected other NCR land disputes before the court lower.

Separately, three Dayak-based non-governmental organisations have appealed to the state government to withdraw all pending appeals against the decisions of the High Court and CoA in recognising territorial domain and communal forest reserves as NCR lands.

“The state government, instead, should establish a mechanism and tribunal to settle all NCR land disputes,” Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association, Dayak National Congress and Pemansang Dayak said in a joint statement.

They said that the government must not leave the problem it has created for the court to resolve, because the court only interprets existing laws.

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