NGO threatens to sue Perak government if it issues freehold titles

Sylvia Looi
Gagasan Melayu Perak (GMP) president Datuk Mohamed Razali Khalid said GMP was in the process of suing against the former Perak government’s move to give freehold titles to 11 recipients at Gerik in 2008. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, Sept 3 — The Perak government will be taken to court if it insists on issuing freehold titles, a non-governmental organisation has warned.

Gagasan Melayu Perak (GMP) president Datuk Mohamed Razali Khalid said in 2008, GMP had sought a High Court declaration that the move was unconstitutional when the former Pakatan Rakyat state government gave freehold titles to 11 recipients in Gerik.

“But we did not proceed with the move as Barisan Nasional, which took over the state in 2009, stopped giving freehold titles,” he said.

Speaking to reporters here today, Razali said GMP did not agree with the present Pakatan Harapan state government’s move in issuing freehold titles just because it was stated in their manifesto.

“As what the Prime Minister said, the manifesto is not a bible,” he said.

Agreeing with Perak Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu that it was against the Federal Constitution to give freehold titles, Razali said the move would only deplete the state’s landbank.

“Not only that, it will also affect the state’s coffers as the state’s source of income was from land, minerals and water,” he said.

He said it was much safer economically to give 99 years tenure.

“If generally the people are happy with just 99 years, why rock the boat?” he asked.

To a question, Razali welcomed Ahmad Faizal’s suggestion that a workshop be held to discuss the best way to implement the issuance of land titles. 

“It is a good idea and if we are given an opportunity to participate in the workshop, we will prepare a working paper on why giving 99 years title is better than giving freehold titles,” he said.

“We are consistent in our stand that giving titles beyond 99 years is against the Federal Constitution,” he added.

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.

However, one of his excos, constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari, disputed this and said there are no such restrictions in the Federal Constitution.

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