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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Even as the size of Malay reserve lands in Johor increases, the state Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said these lands will also be seized from non-Malay owners.
Khaled did not provide the details of the Johor state government’s planned action plans to take back the land or give details of the size of land involved, but said this showed his administration’s commitment to growing Malay reserve land.
“This shows that we did not neglect our responsibility in defending or increasing the size of Malay reserve land,” he was quoted saying at the state assembly yesterday by the New Straits Times (NST) daily.
According to Malay-language dailies Sinar Harian and Berita Harian, Khaled was referring to Malay reserve land that had changed hands from Malay owners to non-Malays through takeovers of company or changes in shareholdings.
Khaled also told the state assembly yesterday that the defence and preservation of Malay reserve land will be a main agenda of his state administration, the two Malay dailies reported.
According to Sinar Harian, Khaled said one of the proactive steps his government was taking was to ensure that conditions are fulfilled before someone is allowed to cancel the status of Malay reserve land.
He highlighted that Johor had increased its Malay reserve land by 18 per cent from 87,563 hectares in 1957 to 432,157 hectares as of last September.
He zoomed in on the booming Iskandar economic region — Johor’s current hotspot for foreign investment and new developments, saying that Malay reserve land there had itself grew by 12 per cent instead of shrinking during the same period.
Iskandar Malaysia now has 23,517 hectares as of last September instead of the 1,921 hectares during Malaya’s year of independence.
Section 7 of the Malay Reservations Enactment (Federated States) 1935 bars the disposal of reserve land to non-Malay owners, while Section 8 of the same enactment also prohibits the transfer of ownership to non-Malays.
Article 89 of the Federal Constitution states that any land that was a Malay reserve before Merdeka may continue as a Malay reservation.
The power to gazette land as Malay reserve lies with the mentri besar, on the advice of the state rulers.