PUTRAJAYA, Dec 23 – The federal government has put a damper on Perak’s Pakatan Rakyat government’s plan to award freehold titles to villagers in the state, by saying the move violates the National Land Code.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that state governments could only issue freehold titles for land intended for federal and public use.
“However the Perak state government has voiced its intention to award freehold titles for planned and new villages in the state.
“As we are all aware, the National Land Council was formed according to the Federal Constitution for the purpose of coordinating the national land policy for uniformity. Therefore, the council decided that a special meeting be convened in the near future to discuss the matter,” said Najib after chairing the National Land Council meeting here.
He added that the move by the Perak government is unconstitutional and has to be agreed to by the council.
“As far as the policy and the constitution are concerned, it cannot be done unilaterally. It has to go through the National Land Council, and the decision must be adopted by the council,” said Najib.
When asked the Perak government’s reasons for presenting the proposal, Najib said: “They have their reasons but whatever it is, it cannot go against the national land policy.”
Early this month, Perak state executive councillor Ngeh Koo Ham reportedly said 149,000 people living in 349 planned and 134 new villages in the state could now apply for their freehold titles, adding that the titles would be issued within two weeks.
Ngeh also claimed that the move did not violate the National Land Code,
saying that the state government had consulted a former Court of Appeal judge and a panel of experienced lawyers.
Soon after it won Perak in the March general election, the PR government had announced the plan to award land titles to new villagers, in what was a popular move seen as an attempt to reward voters there.
The federal government’s move to block the plans will certainly result in more friction between PR state governments and Putrajaya.