IPOH: Awarding land titles is the prerogative of the state government and not the Federal Government, says Dr Abdul Aziz Bari (pic).
The Perak executive council member said that only states have the power to award land titles.
"According to the Federal Constitution, the National Land Council (NLC) only acts as an advisory and it is up to the state to set the leasehold. The NLC has no capacity to give any order.
"This leasehold is what we promised the people in Perak Pakatan Harapan's manifesto and we are fulfilling it," he told reporters at the state secretariat building here on Wednesday (Dec 11).
On Dec 4, Perak Opposition leader Datuk Saarani Mohamad issued a statement reminding the state government not to violate the Federal Constitution by giving 999-year leasehold titles to new villages, which he claimed was against the law.
He said that NLC had fixed that the lease for land in new villages should not exceed 99 years under Section 76(aa)(iii) of the National Land Code 1965.
Saarani was commenting on the issue, which was raised by Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming during his speech at the state party convention held on Nov 24.
Aziz, who is also state DAP vice-chairman, said Saarani's statement could incite racial sentiments and confuse the public.
"I would like to stress that this is not a demand made by DAP but rather to fulfil the state Pakatan manifesto," he said.
"We (the government) can't simply take any land belonging to the Malays and give it to the Chinese," he said.
Aziz added that all races would benefit from the awarding of land titles, not just the Chinese community.
"We have experts saying that awarding land titles has economic benefit. The price of the land will increase and it will boost the economy.
"The people in new villages have been living there since the Malayan Emergency and it will be unjust if we did not give them titles. We always talk about social justice and I think this is one way of accomplishing it," he said.