Time To Review Land Acquisition Act PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 March 2014

5 Mac 2014 :

Joint Press Release (Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas & Malaysians for Beng Hock) -

Time To Review Land Acquisition Act

 

Time To Review Land Acquisition Act

 

 

We condemn the arrest of a Pengerang villager during a grave counting exercise in Pengerang, carried out by contractors under the guard of polices on 24th February 2014. Police, by all means, should immediately drop charge of obstruction against the youth.

 

The young villager was simply exercising lawful rights of peaceful assembly, questioning the moving and destruction of the graves. Decision for relocation of graves was brought in front of court for judicial review and the process is underway. Therefore, grave counting exercise was clearly an intrusion and contempt of court.

 

This project is propelled by Malaysia Petroleum Resource Corporation (MPRC), an objectively-formed government wing under the domination of Prime Minister Department and led by Minister Idris Jala. For the past 3 years, other than unilateral ‘briefings’, government has failed to consult local communities and deprive them of their rights to obtain free, prior and informed consent .

Thus, we call upon MPRC chairman Idris Jala to put the project on hold, initiate a cautious consultation process and dialogue with local communities. Failing to do so, will only demonstrate the selfishness of federal government which puts development and profit before the welfare of people.

 

In fact, the incident happened in Pengerang shares similarity to demolition of Hakka Village in Mantin, Kampung Tanjung Tokong in Penang and construction of Baram dam in Sarawak. Force eviction of people from their ancestral land is equivalent to rejecting their right to land. Losing the land causes destruction of historical site, extinction of traditional culture and loss of jungle resource for the case of indigenous people in Sarawak.

 

We are of the view that there is an urgency to carry out amendments to the law Land acquisition act. The current provision gives unquestionable power to government during the acquisition of lands for public purpose or for benefit of economic development. It must be amended with stern restriction to avoid erosion of people’s right to land.

 

While the act states that the applicant of land acquisition should negotiate with property owner, it does not spell out the responsibility of the government in involving local community during decision making process since they are stakeholder who would be most affected by the acquisition plan.

 

Public hearing must be held by government prior to commencement of acquisition and a consultative committee that includes the community representative must be formed.

We anticipate discussion and approval of reforms in the coming parliamentary session. The issues relating to land justice have long been overdue in the past few decades; people are suffering the losses of their ancestral lands. Respect Pengerang villagers’ right to land, injustice must put to an ends!

 

 (For media enquiry please contact Theva at 010-2402159 or Yap at 012-2658448)

Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 September 2014 )
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