IPOH, Aug 20 — A lawyer has challenged Perak Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu to remove members of his executive council who were involved when Pakatan Rakyat awarded free-hold land titles in 2008.
Lawyer Cheang Lek Choy named A. Sivanesan and Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as those who did what Ahmad Faizal claimed to be unconstitutional.
He added that current Perak Speaker Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming should also be removed to prove the MB’s claim.
“If you are saying they have approved something which is unconstitutional, don’t you think you should remove them?
“Don’t you think you should recommend that Nga and Ngeh should be removed from their posts?” he told Malay Mail here recently.
“These people are not stupid. They were in government when the decision was made to award freehold titles. How can it be unconstitutional?”
Cheang also wrote an open letter to Ahmad Faizal on social media recently, in which he raised the same issues.
He further claimed that around 70 land titles were approved to new villagers in Gerik after Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won Perak in 2008.
A second batch did not go through as the now-defunct PR was ousted from power before it could be done.
“But if wasn’t for the three assemblymen who jumped, people would still be getting freehold titles,” he said, referring to the defections that allowed Barisan Nasional to regain control of the state.
He also rejected attempts to paint the issue as racial in nature, saying that issuing the titles would benefit those in planned villages that are 80 per cent Malay.
The lawyer questioned the current resistance to issuing the titles, noting that laws have not changed since 2008.
He also concurred with state executive councillor Abdul Aziz Bari’s argument that the National Land Council’s (NLC) decisions were not binding to the state.
“I feel this move has been a total let down. I don’t know what has happened” he added.
Perak Pakatan Harapan’s election pledge to issue freehold titles to Felda settlers as well as residents of planned and new villages has become a controversy for the new government.
During his winding up speech to close the Perak state assembly on August 13, Ahmad Faizal reportedly said bestowing permanent titles to new villages would be against the Federal Constitution.
He cited the NLC’s 1988 decision that leaseholds for new villages would be increased from 30 years to 60 years, to support his claim.
The MB further asserted that going against the council’s decision was tantamount to a breach of the constitution.
Ahmad Faizal then said the matter will be referred to the NLC for further deliberation since the state and federal government are aligned.
However, Abdul Aziz issued a statement the next day saying that there were no provisions in the Federal Constitution preventing the state government from issuing permanent land titles to new villages.
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