Friday, July 1, 2022

Tabling of Sarawak Land Code Bill amendment within the state’s jurisdiction

Secara Rawak

THE tabling of the Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill is within the state’s jurisdiction as there is no provision for it under the Ninth Schedule either federal, state or concurrent list.

The Bill empowers the state government to regulate and control the use of land for carbon storage and the use of airspace spectrum above the land.

GPS chief whip Datuk Ibrahim Baki said there was nothing unconstitutional about the Land Code (Amendment) Bill.

“How and where are we being unconstitutional when we are asserting our sovereignty rights as per MA63?

“Chong Chieng Jen might have been confused or simply trying to confuse the people by saying that the Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill, tabled and passed recently might run afoul of the Federal Constitution,” he said in his maiden speech on Thursday when he responded to the DAP-Padungan assemblyman, who claimed that the Bill might run afoul of the Federal Constitution.

Firstly, the Bill is to align the state’s Land Code as per the National Land Code.

Secondly, because there is no provision regarding the spectrum under the Ninth Schedule either federal, state or concurrent list.

“So, because there is no provision, it is a residual matter and falls under Article 77 of the Federal Constitution which reads: The Legislative of a State shall have power to make laws with respect to any matter not enumerated in any of the Lists set out in the ninth Schedule, not being a matter in respect of which parliament has power to make laws.”

Ibrahim, who is Satok assemblyman, said this provision clearly shows that the State Legislature has constitutional and competent authority to pass the appropriate law.

Chong made the claim when debating on the Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill, which was tabled by Deputy Minister of Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali on Wednesday.

Sharifah Hasidah said the Bill aimed to secure opportunities for new sources of revenues for the state.

It was also to safeguard the state’s constitutional and legislative authority over land use in the state including land which is part of the Continental Shelf within the boundary of the state.

Ibrahim lamented that perhaps Chong was also trying to play to the gallery as the amendment relates to the Sarawak Land Code, inter alia on the definition of land which is an item under our State list.

“Kita bukan mahu tambah tambah (We do not want to add more). We just want what’s ours,” he added.

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