Malaysia: DAP wants Sabah land law amended

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    Will the Sabah allow a motion to amend the State Land Ordinance 1931 as its interpretation has caused an uproar in the state in relation to native customary rights on land?

    KOTA KINABALU: Sri Tanjong assemblyman Jimmy Wong is hoping to move a motion in the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting calling for an amendment to land laws in the state to protect native rights. Wong, who is also state DAP chief, said the Sabah Land Ordinance (SLO) 1930 should be amended to make clearer what constitutes Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and state land following a recent statement made by the State Attorney General Roderic Fernandez that there is no more NCR land after 1931.

    “If all those in government are sincere, they will support the tabling of this motion to amend the law to protect the natives of Sabah,” Wong said. “Hopefully this amendment will give a clear procedure in alienating land. We do not want the Director of Land & Survey to use his discretionary power to approve or disapprove land applications.

    Wong however is worried that he will be barred from moving such a motion saying that he was told that only the chief minister could move a motion on matters dealing with land. Sabah DAP, he said, has nevertheless pledged to take up the NCR or “tanah adat” issue as long as the BN government refuses to respect and honour it. Wong reminded the BN state government under Chief Minister Musa Aman that NCR is one the safeguards which convinced the local people to be part of the Federation of Malaysia.

    “In Keningau, the natives went even further by engraving and inscribing the three safeguards of respecting their culture, customary land and freedom of religion. Unfortunately these three basic safeguards have been trampled by the BN government,” he said. Meanwhile, Sabah DAP secretary Dr Edwin Bosi said the statement by Roderic that there is no more NCR land after 1931 is a wake-up call for the indigenous people of Sabah.

    “As far as we are concerned, Roderic speaks for his political master and therefore, it is the responsibility of the government of the day to propose the cut-off date for NCR. We want to see if the government is brave enough to propose this motion,” he said. He said Sabah DAP would hold a protest on March 9 at the Penampang padang calling for the resignation of the state attorney general.

    Source: FMT News