Malaysia: Temiars in court for their land

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    One bus load of (self-paying) Temiar will be in the Kota Baru High Court on Monday 30 May 2016, for the start of the land rights case of Pos Belatim in the Gua Musang district of Kelantan.

    This is the retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal in November 2014 when the panel ruled that the high court judge erred in his decision to throw out the case when it was first heard in April 2014.

    Angah Along of Kampung Chermal in Pos Belatim speaking to reporters in 2013.
    Angah Along of Kampung Chermal in Pos Belatim speaking to reporters in 2013.

    The Temiars of Pos Belatim are seeking, among other declarations, a Certiorari Order from the court to stop the Kelantan State Government from carrying out the project and from giving their land to a private corporation.

    In 2011, the Temiar living in the 7 villages of Pos Belatim discovered that their traditional lands have been contracted out by the Kelantan State Government to be developed by the company as an oil palm plantation on a 99-year lease.

    Aerial view of Kampung Sempadik, close to the Perak border, one of the villages in Pos Belatim.
    Aerial view of Kampung Sempadik, close to the Perak border, one of the villages in Pos Belatim.

    Such a practice is already widespread in Kelantan as part of the state’s effort at land reform and agricultural development under the Ladang Rakyat concept. The majority of the Orang Asli in Kelantan however do not agree with this project as it means they will lose much of their land and even their identity as Orang Asli.

    Besides, all this was done without their agreement or consent.

    The community filed a Judicial Review in 2011 against the Kelantan State Government and its Land Administrator, who were responsible for alienating the Temiars’ customary territories to the state-owned Ladang Rakyat Development Corporation.

    However, the judicial review was thrown out by the high court in April 2014. The Temiars appealed the decision and the Court of Appeal ordered the retrial.

    Representing the Orang Asli on a pro bono basis are Lim Heng Seng, Tan Hooi Ping, Dr. Yogeswaran and Rajkumar.

    Source: COAC