- At the Perak State Assembly
ANY decision to give land titles of 999 years or permanent titles to new villagers is against the Federal Constitution.
Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu (PH-Chenderiang) said the 53rd National Land Council meeting on April 25, 1997, has set the leasehold for new villages to at least 60 years or not more than 99 years.
“The decision binds all states in the peninsula as provided under Article 91 (5) of the Federal Constitution.
“Therefore, any plan to give titles of 999 years or permanent titles to new villages contravenes the Constitution,” he said in his winding-up speech during the state assembly sitting on Monday.
Ahmad Faizal was replying to several DAP assemblymen who were considering giving land titles to villagers from Planned and New Villages.
“But since the state and Federal Governments are under Pakatan Harapan, this matter will be brought up to the Federal Government for consideration through the National Land Council,” he added.
Ahmad Faizal said there were also opinions that there should be leeway for special circumstances.
“However, the term ‘special circumstances’ is not provided under the National Land Code,” he said.
He cited the case of Leong Poh Shee vs Ng Kat Chong in a Special Court in 1966, whereby the court decided that “special circumstances” as under Section 76(aa)(iii) of the National Land Code was defined as “the circumstances as distinguished from ordinary circumstances”.
“It must be something exceptional in character, something that exceeds or excels in some way which is unusual,” he added.
On the request by Leong Cheok Keng (PH-Malim Nawar) and Sandrea Ng (PH-Teja) to give land titles and permits to farm operators in their respective areas, Ahmad Faizal said the operators need to apply for them.
“Those requesting for state land need to fill out Scheduled Form (1), attached with a plan of the area.
“No state land can be toiled on without a permit from the state. Those found to have encroached onto state land will have action taken against them under the National Land Code,” he said.
He also said farm operators could apply to rent the land from the state Agriculture Development Corporation (PPPNP) and state Development Corporation (PKNP).
“For those renting PPPNP and PKNP land and only given three years, I understand that it is too short for any return on investment or projects, so the best way is to extend the rental period through negotiation to achieve a win-win situation.
“State land cannot change hands, be encroached upon and given to any individual on a whim as it will affect the size of the reserved land, or land bank,” he said.
“Land is a precious asset of the government. If the state gives land to those who encroached upon it, this will open the floodgates to more encroachment activities and have a long-term effect on the state’s plan for development and housing as well as other plans in the future,” he added.
On the question by Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor) on whether the state would continue with the plan to turn Pangkor into a Tax Free Island, Ahmad Faizal said the plan was still on.
“The list of tax-free items and implementation of Pangkor as a tax-free island is still being studied by the Finance Ministry.
“The state is committed to support any efforts to turn Pangkor into a major tourism destination in Malaysia,” he said.
Ahmad Faizal also requested for information from the public on a land issue involving RM19mil in allocation from the Federal Government that was raised by A. Sivasubramaniam (PH-Buntong).
“We found that the allocation was given to MIC through Tekun Nasional for a chilli farming project involving 129 Indian youths.
“The chilli farming project was not implemented,” he said.
“The allocated land has been split into several grants and sold by a company.
“We are asking anyone with information about the status of the project to come forward with information,” he added.
He also said any discrepancies would be reported to the enforcement agencies for further action.
“The state is serious on this matter as it involves public funds,” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?