Monday, 30th November 2009
Sarawak Dayak National Union former president and one of PKR Sarawak advisors Daniel Tajem has called for a committee to revamp native laws to be codified into a proper system of edicts.
He suggested that the committee should comprise officials from SDNU, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association, Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association, Tun Jugah Foundation, Dayak Cultural Foundation, other Dayak NGOs as well as those from the Sarawak Council of Native Laws and the Dayak Chair of the University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).
"Something must be done now to upgrade our native laws, so that the setting up of the committee is not only fitting, but timely," he said.
He was commenting on a suggestion made by Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjun who said that the current set of native laws should be "refurbished" so that they could keep up with the times and modernization.
Customs, usage and practice
Tajem who is a lawyer and former Sarawak DCM said: "Dayak Adat (laws) are based on customs, usage and practice.
"The system of native laws and family laws has been written by the Sarawak Council of Native Laws, but there are still some of them (laws) that have not been included in the Dayak Adat," he said.
"If the native laws are not upgraded, reviewed or developed, they may not be respected by those who are strangers to the system and their non-recognition will lead to disrespect and exploitation through misreading of the customs," he said.
Malanjun in his remarks last week had also said that the native courts in Sabah and Sarawak are still active today.
Agreeing with Malanjun, Tajem expressed concern that the government of today had disregarded the native customs such as the native customary rights over land, the rights of inheritance and succession, family laws, and so on.
He said that "It is the duty of the government of the day to protect and safeguard the native laws.
Tajem quoted a number of examples such as grabbing of the NCR land and leasing them to big business concerns for the planting oil palm that ignored native law and customs.
"They do not respect the decisions of the Court which recognises the rights of the natives over land, pemakai menua, pulau galau and temuda," he added.
"Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban"