In a new precedent-setting case, the Kota Bahru High Court granted the claim by the Temiars of Pos Belatim to their customary lands. Justice Dato Haji Zainal Azman bin Abdul Aziz ruled that the Kelantan state government was wrong in making a decision to alienate the customary lands of the Temiars for a Ladang Rakyat project to be managed by a private company.
Based on evidence provided in the applicants’ affidavits and testimony in trial, the judge was satisfied that the Temiars have resided in the area for a long time, practiced their customs on it, and have their system to manage their land.
In brief, based on existing legal precedents, the judge ordered that the settled and planted areas of their customary lands are to be granted full title under the National Land Code.
For the forest areas that they use for foraging, hunting and those regarded as sacred, these lands are now to be gazetted as an Orang Asli Reserve.
The court asked that the state begin the survey work within a month, and for it to be completed within six months.
He also ordered costs of RM50,000.00 for the plaintiffs.
The Temiars were represented by Lim Heng Seng, Dr. Yogeswaran Subramaniam, Tan Hooi Ping and M. Rajkumar. All acted on a pro bono basis, and are allied to the Bar Council’s Committee for Orang Asli Rights (COAR).
Full report to follow soon. Photos by Colin Nicholas.
COAC | 23 April 2017