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IPOH, Aug 19 — Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said he was able to issue freehold titles to villages during his abortive stint as Perak mentri besar in 2008, amid controversy over the state government’s refusal to do so again now.
The state Investment and Corridor Development Committee chairman added that he converted 11 leasehold titles to freehold then, in Kampung Baru Kuala Rui, Gerik.
“However, I can’t comment on the current land title issue in the state. I’m just telling what I did 10 years ago.
“Anything regarding the current land issues has to be referred to Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu,” he said.
The former MB added that he gave out the titles after consulting legal experts and said plans had been in place to issue the titles to new, planned as well as Orang Asli villages.
He added that most would have been given to planned villages, with around 112,000 freehold titles and half of which would have gone to Malay residents.
However, Mohammad Nizar said he could not change the land titles for all these villages as Barisan Nasional (BN) took over the state in 2009.
On Monday, when winding up during the state assembly, Ahmad Faizal claimed it was against the Federal Constitution to bestow permanent titles to new villages.
He cited a National Land Council decision in 1988 to double the leasehold period from 30 to 60 years to support this claim.
Another of his excos, constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari, previously disputed this by noting that no such restriction existed in the Federal Constitution.
Perak Pakatan Harapan pledged to issue the freehold titles as part of its election manifesto.