Baru Bian to continue struggle in defending NCR land in Sarawak

Baru Bian speaking during his first ‘Vision of Hope’ video entitled 'Why I Get Into Politics' that was posted on PSB’s YouTube page yesterday. — Picture via Borneo Post
Baru Bian speaking during his first ‘Vision of Hope’ video entitled 'Why I Get Into Politics' that was posted on PSB’s YouTube page yesterday. — Picture via Borneo Post

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LAWAS, Dec 5 — Ba Kelalan incumbent Baru Bian said he will stick to his struggle to defend the native customary rights (NCR) land of the indigenous people in Sarawak through the political platform.

“The struggle to defend NCR landowners and land for indigenous people in Sarawak is one of the reasons I entered or joined politics.

“I became a lawyer when the indigenous people’s struggle over their NCR land began. Restrictions on logging sites and plantations were organised by NCR landowners who had been encroached upon,” Baru said in his first Vision of Hope video entitled “Why I Get Into Politics” lasting over six minutes that was posted on PSB’s YouTube page yesterday.

Baru, who is Parti Bersatu Sarawak’s (PSB) Ba Kelalan candidate, accused the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government of failing to respect traditions and rights of natives, adding that the GPS government would file appeals in court against NCR land owners if they win their cases in the court.

A longtime NCR land activist, Baru said changes can only happen to stop the unfair land policy if there is a political strength with involvement of the people.

“Our first victory was in 2001 in the Nor Nyawai case where the High Court and later the Court of Appeal as well as the Federal Court affirmed that indigenous people have rights over or over their NCR land known as ‘Pemakai Menoa’ and ‘Pulau Galau’.

“This (Pemakai Menoa or Pulau Galau) is in the Iban language but the concept is the same in other indigenous languages such as Orang Ulu and others,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Baru said Sarawak needs a government that respects and recognises the customary rights of the indigenous people in Sarawak.

“That is why I continue my struggle through the political arena,” said Baru, who is Selangau MP.

Baru is expected to face a five-cornered fight to defend his Ba Kelalan seat in the Dec 18 state election.

He will be challenged by GPS’ Sam Laya, Martin Labo from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Peter Asut from Parti Bumi Kenyalang and independent candidate Agnes Padan who is also the former PKR Sarawak Wanita chief.

All the five candidates are from the Lun Bawang community where both Baru and Agnes are from Long Semadoh, which is located about a four-hour drive from Lawas town. — Borneo Post

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