Malay group: The Chinese didn’t ask for freehold titles in new villages

John Bunyan
Perak Malay Solidarity Organsation president Kahar Md Yassin (centre) speaks during a press conference held at Tower Regency Ipoh August 20, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Aug 20 — Several state Malay NGOs questioned today the need for the state government to award freehold titles in new villages, Perak Malay Solidarity Organisation claiming that Chinese settlers there had not demanded such.

The Malay group’s president Kahar Md Yassin also claimed bestowing freehold titles to new villages will offend the Malay community, pointing out that even the national security forces pensioners did not get any freehold title despite requesting them several times.

“Based on our check, the Chinese in new villages only wanted titles for the land. They did not demand for the permanent land titles.

“Therefore, we believe there are certain parties who wanted to play racial sentiments for political gains,” he told reporters at the Tower Regency Hotel here.

Kahar also said the Malay community cannot afford to pay the land premium if it was raised from 99 years to 999 years, or freehold.

“How many Malays actually wanted this permanent title? Can anyone guarantee that the Malays will not pawn the land to others?” he asked.  

President of a group called Perak Malay NGO Front, Mohd Salleh Khan Mohd Jaafar, also demanded DAP’s state exco Abdul Aziz Bari and state DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming retract their statements, and stop pressuring Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu over the matter.

“Their statements — which contradicted Faizal’s statement — saying that there is nothing in the Federal Constitution that prevents state government from issuing freehold titles, could invite lots of political and racial problems,” he said.

“We want the decision on the freehold title should be discussed and agreed by National Land Council (NLC) in order to avoid confusion among the public,” he said.

Around 50 people from 35 NGOs in Perak attended the press conference here to oppose the suggestion of issuing freehold titles in new villages.

Meanwhile, Perak Youth Council president Aswannudin Hariffudin has backed Faizal’s stance in not bestowing permanent land titles, claiming such a move will raise land price and making houses unaffordable for youths.

“Our council, which represents about 35 youth associations in the state had conducted a study and found that the price of housing had increased due to the high price of land.

“If the leasehold land, which is cheaper, is changed to permanent title (or 999 years) then the price of the house will also increase. Thus, the younger generation cannot afford to buy a house in the future,” he said in a statement.

Aswannudin said the decision by state government to limit the land title to 99 years was rational.

“Section 76(a) sub-section (iii) of the National Land Code clearly states that permanent title can be only given in three conditions. Which is for the Federal Government or public enforcement, public usage, or if local authority believes that there is a special condition that should need for the change,” he explained.

On August 13, when winding up during the state assembly, Ahmad Faizal claimed it was against the Federal Constitution to bestow permanent titles to new villages.

He cited a NLC decision in 1988 to double the leasehold period from 30 to 60 years to support this claim.

Ahmad Faizal also said that any matter regarding the freehold title would be referred to the NLC to be discussed.

Another of his excos, constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari, previously disputed this by noting that no such restriction existed in the Federal Constitution.

Perak Pakatan Harapan had pledged to issue the freehold titles as part of its election manifesto.

Related Articles Where’s the promised freehold titles? Former PPBM veep asks Perak government DAP, Amanah plotting to remove Perak MB? Leaders say nonsense, slander DAP did not pressure Perak MB on permanent ownership status for new villages, says Nga