IPOH, Aug 23 — Perak executive councillor Abdul Aziz Bari expressed today support for Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s decision to refer the award of state freehold land titles issue to federal decision-makers.
The state education, technology, science and environment committee chairman agreed that the matter should be referred to higher authorities, namely the national Pakatan Harapan (PH) council for a decision.
“This is not a matter for the government or machinery at our level. Our level is about implementation. We’re talking about policy now so it is for them.
“The matter is now basically politics. When it comes to whether the matter should proceed, be put on hold, or if more details should be put in place — this should go back to the PH council,” he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya Aidiladha event in Sungai Rapat here.
Yesterday, Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal asserted that the issue should be referred to the federal level, namely the National Land Council (NLC) which is chaired by Prime Minister and PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said this would be the best way to decide between the two schools of thought on the issue.
However, Ahmad Faizal said the matter would first be discussed during a special workshop that would determine the best ways to implement the PH manifesto in Perak--including the issuance of land titles.
Abdul Aziz said he welcomed the workshop idea, adding that the manifesto needed to be fulfilled.
“I believe the mentri besar also wants to fully carry out the manifesto. The difference of opinion that we had was only about the Federal Constitution.
“This has been manipulated by irresponsible parties, and the Opposition has turned it into a racial issue. The issue of new villages has been repeated over and over without mentioning the issues of planned villages and Felda settlers, who are mostly Malay,” he said.
He denied that his remark was aimed to pressure the MB to give away land to the ethnic Chinese, blaming such allegations on the “evil propaganda of the Opposition”.
Ahmad Faizal contended last week that issuing freehold land titles would be unconstitutional, adding that the matter would be referred to the NLC.
However, Abdul Aziz said there was nothing in the Federal Constitution that prevented the Perak state government from issuing permanent land titles to new villages.
This led Ahmad Faizal to warn state executive councillors against airing differences of opinion in public.
Despite this, both men were seen smiling and shaking hands warmly at the event here today.
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