Native Title ruling in Sagong Tasi and other cases not accepted by government
Published: 05 September 2014
It’s confirmed. The accepted standard in the Sagong Tasi, Adong Kuwau and Madeli Sallehcases, amongst other notable native title judgments in Malaysia – that customary (native) title can be attained by common law principles – is NOT accepted by the government.
The lawyers for the Pahang State Government and the Federal Government intimated this during the hearing of the appeal brought forward by the Semaq Beri in the Kampung Mengkapor case yesterday. The Orang Asli plaintiffs in this case had lost their land rights claim in the Kuantan High Court on 29 October 2013.
One of the grounds for the current appeal is that the High Court judge failed to consider the precedents in the Sagong Tasi and Adong Kuwau cases and treated the matter as a purely land matter under the National Land Code and in accordance to the Aboriginal Peoples Act.
For the past year or more, it had become apparent to those in Orang Asli land rights advocacy that there seemed to be a concerted and determined attempt to challenge all Orang Asli land rights cases with much vigour and loyalty to the government, so as to reverse the decisions in Adong Kuwau and Sagong Tasi.
Reactions of government representatives at public consultations and at discussions on the report of the Suhakam Inquiry into the Land Rights of the Orang Asli/Orang Asal, also attest to this.
But now we have firm confirmation: The government is not going to let the courts say that the Orang Asli have customary rights to their proven traditional territories.
The current appeal continues on 9 October 2014 when the Senior Federal Counsel is expected to argue his case as to why the Kuantan High Court judge was right in not considering the Sagong Tasi and Adong Kuwau precedents in her judgment.
COAC | 5 September 2014
Yoges explaining some technical matters to the Semaq Beri during a break in the Appeal proceedings on 4 September 2014.