JOHOR BARU: The High Court here has ruled that the Federal and Johor governments have failed to protect the land ownership rights of the orang asli in two villages.
High Court judge Justice Teo Say Eng ordered both governments to compensate villagers of Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Temon and Kampung Orang Asli Bakar Batu Perling for releasing portions of the 137.5ha-orang asli land to developers and individual buyers.
Under the order, both governments have to pay the villagers according to the market value of the land.
Speaking outside the courtroom, lawyer S. Yogeswaran said that although the orang asli had a right to the land, the court could only order the governments to compensate the villagers as the land now belong to buyers who purchased the land from the state government.
"The compensation will not be paid by the current land owners but by the state government who released the land to the buyers without paying off the orang asli in the first place," said Yogeswaran, who is one of the lawyers acting for the villagers.