Dr Ramy Bulan

Director of the Centre for Malaysia Indigenous Studies & Professor of Law at the University of Malaya

Active in Country: Malaysia

DTP Alumna: 2011 Indigenous Peoples Program - Philippines



Dr Ramy Bulan joined DTP’s 2011 Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Advocacy Program in the Philippines to learn more about practical advocacy and media skills, and to network with other professionals in the field.


Ramy, a member of the Indigenous Kelabit community, is the Director of the Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies and a Professor of Law at the University of Malaya. She is also Regional Coordinator of the National Working Group for the Forest Stewardship Council. With a PhD on traditional land rights in Sarawak, she continues to research and advocate for Indigenous land rights both nationally and internationally.


In Sarawak, Malaysia, the Indigenous Kelabit claim a native customary right to land that they have occupied for centuries. But they are struggling with the Malaysian and Sarawak governments, as well as private corporations, which have taken much of their traditional territory – often without consultation or compensation.


“I have been privileged to get alongside of the villagers of the Kayan and Kenyah native communities in their dispute with IOI-Pelita over customary rights to the land. After 16 years of legal battles the case has reached a stalemate in the courts and there is a real need to build capacity to enable the villagers to negotiate with IOI. But as the dispute drags on, disagreement is growing among the villagers themselves and the question of who rightly represents them at the negotiating table becomes an issue”


Profile was part of 2015 DTP's 25th Anniversary Exhibition