KUCHING: State PKR chairman Baru Bian has expressed disappointment with the decision of the Federal Court to dismiss a review application by the native plaintiffs in the Tuai Rumah Sandah case.

He, nevertheless, said he fully respected the discretion given to the Court to make such a decision under the law.

“With this review dismissed, it means the issues which we hoped to clarify and determine, which is whether Pemakai Menua and Pulau Galau (NCR over land in Sarawak) has the force of law, remains unanswered.

“I am still of the view that the Nor Anak Nyawai case is still the law on this matter, which answered the question in the affirmative.

Baru Bian

“It therefore means that we as natives of Sarawak must continue to assert and claim our said rights over NCR lands until another Federal Court’s case decides clearly that Nor Anak Nyawai is overruled,” he said.

Baru, who is also Works Minister and Selangau MP, was reacting to a Federal Court’s ruling yesterday which upheld an earlier court decision not to grant rights to claimants from two villages in the state over their NCR land.

In a 4-1 majority decision by a five-member bench, the Federal Court held that there was no basis for a new panel of the Federal Court to review the earlier court’s decision.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed and Federal Court judges Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh decided the majority decision while Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah dissented.

Baru said he was aware that a few cases on the same issue had been given leave by the Federal Court to be argued further but were postponed awaiting Tr Sandah’s decision in the Federal Court.

Now that this decision to dismiss could be perceived as in fact having ‘no decision at all’ on the issues at hand, he sincerely hoped that the pending cases be allowed to be ventilated fully before the Federal Court soon in order that a very clear decision is made.

“This is particularly urgent and necessary in the light of the dissenting judgment of Tan Sri David Wong CJSS who himself is a Sabahan.

“His Lordship not only dissented against the majority’s decision on the legal nature of the review but also disagreed on the Federal Court’s decision in the Kerutum Case on the definition of a judge having a ‘Bornean experience’ when hearing appeals from the two Bornean States,” he added.