IPOH, Aug 14 — There is nothing in the Federal Constitution that prevents the Perak state government from issuing permanent land titles to new villages, a Perak state official asserted today.
State Education, Technology, Science and Environment Committee chairman Abdul Aziz Bari reiterated that the power to issue land titles lies firmly in the state’s hands.
He also said there was nothing in the Constitution that said giving away freehold titles was illegal or prohibited.
“There is no way the National Land Council chaired by the federal minister can take that away. If you say the manifesto cannot be implemented because of the Constitution, its wrong. If you say the content is against the Constitution, it’s also wrong,” he told a press conference.
“Article 91(5) of the Federal Constitution merely talks about the power of the council to regulate policies about the utilisation of land for mining, agriculture and forestry. There is nothing to do with alienation.”
This comes after Perak Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu reportedly said bestowing permanent titles to new villages would be against the Federal Constitution, during his winding-up speech in the Perak state assembly yesterday.
Ahmad Faizal said the National Land Council (NLC) had, on January 8, 1988, decided that leasehold for new villages would be increased to 60 years from 30 years.
However, Abdul Aziz asserted that the council only plays an advisory role and did not have the power to dictate or impose the state’s direction on alienation.
Abdul Aziz pointed out that the Pakatan Rakyat government had issued permanent land titles when they came to power in 2008, adding that this showed how the move could actually be carried out.
The constitutional law expert said the move would not come at any cost to the state government, adding that the land would only be used for housing.
“We aren’t giving land to big companies. We’re giving the land for houses, so what is the problem? It won’t be costly to us like abolishing tolls.
“Umno supporters have also been criticising me, calling me a macai DAP (DAP flunky) who is fighting for this land to be given to Chinese.
“The majority of the land will still go to Malays. What they said shouldn’t be said in the New Malaysia,” he said.
While his stand appeared to oppose Ahmad Faizal’s statement, Abdul Aziz said he was not trying to point fingers at any individual.
Abdul Aziz was also asked what the statement meant for Pakatan Harapan’s unity as a coalition, as a final stand on the matter had not been finalised.
He replied that the matter had not been discussed so far.
“I’m going on the moral ground and I’m trying to enlighten. I’m not trying to say he is wrong.
“We want to have an accountable, transparent government and this is something that we promised in the manifesto. Of course, we must be united on policy but we cannot be united against the law,” he said.