My first impression of Sungai Batik was that it was perfect for a weekend
getaway from the dust and noise of the city. There were magnificent trees
towering into the sky. There was a burst of brilliant red blooms in the midst of
luscious greenery. A stream nearby gave the whole scene a touch of romance;
and the Dayak children in their rustic attire blended perfectly into the scene.
This forested area was once large – the home of the Dayak for generations.
The Dayak are gentle, jungle people who are shy of strangers. Their affinity for
the forest comes naturally since it has been their home, work place, playground,
and ‘shopping and trading’ place. At one time, all their daily needs – clothing,
ornaments, food, medicine and shelter – came from the richness of the forest.
These people could roam, hunt and gather for their daily needs from the
abundant flora and fauna, taking only what they needed, without depleting the
resources that nature provided.
Now all that has changed. The Dayak communities and the rainforest
environment on which they depend are continuously threatened by several
issues and problems. Underlying all the main problems facing the Dayaks today
is the lack of recognition of their land rights. Under the Sarawakian land code,
the Dayaks do have certain rights to land but these rights are not clear and have
The Essay on Clear Forest Lands
Afforestation is the process of establishing a forest on land that is not a forest, or has not been a forest for a long time by planting trees or their seeds. Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by ...
never been adequately defined.
Logging is being carried out indiscriminately on the customary land of the
Dayaks. In addition, without the knowledge of the Dayak communities, some of
their land has been given to private companies to be developed into plantations.
This is part of the state government’s plan to convert 1.5 million hectares of
native customary land into oil palm plantations. Some of the native longhouse
communities are staging peaceful protests to stop the operation of such
companies. Besides that, the government, after targetting one million hectares
of land for industrial tree plantations, has acquired some of the Dayak’s native
land as site for the pulp and paper mills. The Dayaks are challenging this and
have recently filed a case in the high court.
Meanwhile, the government has also aggressively promoted the
development of the tourism industry in the state. Again the customary land
rights of the Dayaks have been affected by several schemes whereby land has
been taken to develop hotels and resorts with golf courses. The Dayak lifestyles
are being treated merely as tourist attractions with their longhouses being
targeted as tourist destinations. The Dayaks feel that their culture is being
systematically violated and abused.
All the activities affecting the Dayak native land have led to extensive
destruction of forest resources. Developers are cutting down forests to put up
buildings and roads. The jungle resources have drastically been reduced.
Outside traders are increasingly demanding more jungle products, so
contractors appear frequently to collect harvests of honey, petai, durian and
The Term Paper on Aboriginal Land Rights Native Title
[1. 0] ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS [1. 1] Establishment of Native Title Three basic requirements were enunciated to establish Native Title in Mabo No 2 (1992) 175 CLR 1: 1. There must be an identifiable group, 2. There must be traditional rules and customs, 3. Traditional rules and customs must be in existence so that the group's connection to the land has been substantially retained If any of these ...
other fruits. These jungle products are then bartered or sold to city traders who