Johor orang asli issue to be settled


JOHOR BARU: The Johor government is committed to ending the plight of an orang asli group that has yet to receive compensation for land eviction despite winning two legal cases.

Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal said the state government would discuss the matter in the next executive meeting and find the best solution.

“At the moment, we are still in the process of gaining more information.

“The issue started under the previous government and we have only started gaining insight on the matter recently,” he said when met during a Hari Raya open house.

He said the state government would also find out why the matter had been dragging on for years despite a court order.

“We will investigate why the matter has yet to be resolved and look for ways to improve the current procedures to ensure this will not happen again,” he said.

Asked if action would be taken against officers who had failed to abide by the court order, Dr Sahruddin said the state government would first need to review the case thoroughly.

It was earlier reported that an asli group, which had won two legal cases against the government after being evicted from their land 26 years ago, has filed a suit seeking full compliance of a court order for compensation.

This came after the order to compensate had yet to be fully enforced despite the fact that the Johor Land and Mines Department lost the case in the High Court in 2010 and again at the Court of Appeal in 2012.

Their plight began in 1993 when the state government directed the settlement to relocate from Stulang Laut, where they had been staying for hundreds of years, to Kuala Masai.

The relocation took place in 2003. Two years later, the orang asli took the government to court following a series of events, including the demolition of a church they had built in Kuala Masai.

In the judgment in 2010, High Court judge Justice Zakiah Kassim ruled that the land where the orang asli community used to reside in Stulang Laut, which had since been developed and known as “The Zon”, belonged to the community.

Zakiah said that since the orang asli had been removed from the land, the state government should compensate them according to the market value.

The court also ruled that the act of demolishing the church was unlawful and ordered the orang asli to be compensated accordingly.

To date, only a meagre sum has been paid for the demolition of the chapel.


   

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