Federal Court ruling no bearing on Land Code

KUCHING: The application for review of Tuai Rumah Sandah’s case resulting in the Federal Court’s dismissal of the review application on Wednesday (September 11) was purely academic, said a political secretary to the chief minister, Susan Chemerai Anding.

“It has no bearing on the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 and its corresponding rules the Land (Native Communal Title) Rules 2019, both of which represent the governing law applicable to the issue of ‘Pemakai Menoa’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ (PMPG)/Native Territorial Domain (NTD) rights of the natives in Sarawak,” she said.

“Whether PMPG has the force of law has been answered loud and clear when the Sarawak through the Land Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 passed by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) on July 12 last year gave legal recognition and force of law to PMPG (now known as NTD).”

Hence, she pointed out that irrespective of the outcome of the judicial review, the DUN of Sarawak has already given legal recognition and force of law to PMPG.

“In fact the Sarawak government has done more than just giving force of law to PMPG. It made a radical move under this amendment ordinance, by giving natives proprietary rights to their PMPG/NTD through the issuance of Native Communal Title (NCT) under the new Section 6A,” she stated.

According to Susan, natives now can apply for the PMPG/NTD using Borang NTD A with supporting documents and evidence, as provided for under the Land (Native Communal Title) Rules 2019 which came into effect on August 1.

She added that Borang NTD A can be obtained from the Land and Survey Offices throughout the state as well as at district offices and online.

“PMPG/NTD applied for and approved will be issued with a provisional Native Communal Title (NCT)which will become a final title upon completion of survey and registration.

The NCT is in perpetuity and indefeasible.” Susan stated that the enactment of this ordinance and rule meant that PMPG rights and issues in Sarawak are now settled law.

“The discussion on PMPG should move away from the past rhetoric so that natives can move on and begin the task of claiming or asserting their PMPG/NTD rights over their ancestral land through the avenue provided by the government,” she said.