Tanggapan salah MB Perak mengenai undang-undang berkaitan dengan hak tanah adat Orang Asli (BM/ENG)

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Photograph: Peka Malaysia Facebook

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Badan Peguam Malaysia memandang berat laporan media baru-baru ini mengenai kenyataan yang dibuat oleh menteri besar Perak bahawa tiada tanah adat atau warisan di Perak memandangkan tanah-tanah ini tidak diiktiraf oleh Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak dan undang-undang berkenaan.

Dalam hal ini, pendapat menteri besar bahawa Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak dan undang-undang bertulis mestilah dengan nyata mengesahkan tanah adat Orang Asli sebelum tanah-tanah itu diiktiraf secara undang-undang adalah salah dari segi undang-undang.

Tafsiran ‘undang-undang’ di dalam Perkara 160(2) Perlembagaan Persekutuan dengan jelasnya termasuk “common law” yang menggabungkan prinsip-prinsip undang-undang tempatan yang terkandung di dalam keputusan-keputusan mahkamah-mahkamah Malaysia.

Selama lebih daripada 20 tahun, Mahkamah Persekutuan dan Mahkamah Rayuan Malaysia telah berkali-kali mengiktiraf kesinambungan hak Orang Asli di Semenanjung Malaysia ke atas tanah dan sumber yang dipegang oleh mereka berdasarkan adat, penggunaan dan undang-undang mereka dengan syarat bahawa mereka telah sebelumnya dan secara berterusan menduduki, menggunakan dan menikmati tanah dan sumber sedemikian menurut tradisi mereka sendiri (lihat Kerajaan Negeri Johor v Adong Bin Kuwau [1998]; Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]).

Bercanggah dengan justifikasi yang diberikan oleh menteri besar Perak, hak sedemikian boleh didapati wujud oleh mahkamah tanpa pengiktirafan rasmi oleh badan eksekutif dan perundangan negeri disebabkan oleh kedudukan istimewa perlembagaan dan undang-undang Orang Asli (lihat Kerajaan Negeri Johor v Adong Bin Kuwau [1998]; Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]; Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli v Mohamad Bin Nohing (Batin Kampung Bukit Rok) dan rayuan lain [2015]).

Adalah juga jelas bahawa prinsip undang-undang hak tanah adat Orang Asli di atas telah didapati terpakai di negeri Perak (lihat Kong Chee Wai v Pengarah Tanah Dan Galian Perak [2016] (disahkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan di dalam Kong Chee Wai & Anor v Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Perak, 24 Oktober 2016).

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Oleh yang demikian, Badan Peguam Malaysia mengingatkan kerajaan negeri Perak untuk lebih berhati-hati dan bertindak secara berhemah sebelum membuat kenyataan awam mengenai hak perundangan yang diberikan kepada Orang Asli.

Badan Peguam Malaysia juga mengulangi seruannya kepada kerajaan negeri Perak untuk menghormati kewajipan perundangan dan fidusiarinya untuk melindungi tanah Orang Asli (lihat Kong Chee Wai lwn Pengarah Tanah Dan Galian Perak [2016] (yang disahkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan di dalam Kong Chee Wai & Anor lwn Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Perak, 24 Oktober 2016); Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]) seperti yang dibuat di dalam kenyataan media bertarikh 26 Februari 2019 dan 25 Mei 2019, dan untuk:

  • mengenakan, sebagai tindakan interim, suatu moratorium ke atas pewujudan kepentingan terhadap mana-mana tanah dan sumber, dan ke atas penerusan pengeluaran sumber dan aktiviti penguatkuasaan di dalam kawasan yang didakwa sebagai kawasan adat Orang Asli, sementara menunggu penyelesaian tuntutan kawasan adat komuniti Orang Asli yang terjejas
  • mengambil semua langkah yang berpatutan – termasuklah tindakan perundangan – untuk mencapai semangat dan niat Deklarasi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu mengenai Hak Orang Asli, 2007 (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007)

Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor ialah yang dipertua Badan Peguam Malaysia.

English version

Perak MB’s erroneous assumptions on law regarding Orang Asli customary land rights

The Malaysian Bar views with concern recent media reports on the Perak menteri besar’s suggestion that there are no Orang Asli customary or ancestral lands in Perak as these lands are not recognised by the Perak Constitution and law.

In this regard, the Menteri Besar’s contention that the Perak Constitution and written law must expressly sanction Orang Asli customary or ancestral land before they are legally recognised, is legally erroneous.

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The definition of ‘law’ in Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution expressly includes the common law, which incorporates principles of domestic law developed through the Malaysian courts.

For more than 20 years, the Malaysian Federal Court and Court of Appeal have repeatedly recognised the continuity of the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli’s right to lands and resources that the Orang Asli have held based on their own customs, usages and laws – provided that they have been in prior and continuous occupation, use and enjoyment of such lands and resources in accordance with their own traditions (see Kerajaan Negeri Johor v Adong Bin Kuwau [1998]; Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]).

Contrary to the justification provided by the Perak menteri besar, such rights can be found to exist by the courts without formal recognition by the state executive and legislature due to the special constitutional and legal position of the Orang Asli (see Kerajaan Negeri Johor v Adong Bin Kuwau [1998]; Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]; Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli v Mohamad Bin Nohing (Batin Kampung Bukit Rok) and another appeal [2015]).

It is also equally clear that these legal principles on Orang Asli customary land rights have been found to apply to the state of Perak (see Kong Chee Wai lwn Pengarah Tanah Dan Galian Perak [2016] (affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Kong Chee Wai & Anor v Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Perak, 24 October 2016).

Accordingly, the Malaysian Bar reminds the Perak state government to exercise due care and diligence when making public statements on the extent of the legal rights afforded to the Orang Asli.

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The Malaysian Bar also reiterates its call upon the Perak state government to honour its legal and fiduciary duty to protect Orang Asli lands (see Kong Chee Wai lwn Pengarah Tanah Dan Galian Perak [2016] (affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Kong Chee Wai & Anor v Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Perak, 24 October 2016); Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Sagong Bin Tasi [2005]) as made in its earlier statements on 26 February 2019 and 25 May 2019, and to:

  • impose, as an interim measure, a moratorium on the creation of any land and resource interest and the continuation of resource extraction and enforcement activities within areas claimed to be Orang Asli customary areas, pending the resolution of the affected Orang Asli community’s customary territorial claims
  • take all appropriate measures – including legislative measures – to achieve the spirit and intent of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)

Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor is president of the Malaysian Bar.

This piece dated 31 July 2019 is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only. 

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