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GEORGE TOWN, March 11 — The evicted tenants of the Taman Manggis people’s housing project flats cannot sue the state government under the Specific Relief Act 1950, lawyer Rajivan Nambiar said today.
He explained that the state government is protected under Section 8(3)of the Specific Relief Act 1950.
“Where tenants are dispossessed of property by any government, which in this case would include the State Government of Penang, section 8(3) states that no legal action can be brought against any Government in Malaysia,” he said when contacted today.
Rajivan said if the tenants were to take legal action against the state government under the said Act, they must take into account Section 8(3) which facilitates the administration of local governments.
He said this was despite the fact that Section 8(1) of the Act gave tenants the right to take legal action if they were dispossessed of their accommodation without a court order obtained under Section 7(2) of the same act.
“Thus, in light of sections 8(1) and 8(3) of the Specific Relief Act 1950, the fact that the state government did not have a court order when they took possession of the houses is irrelevant,” he said.
Seven of the eight evicted tenants, who had camped on the ground floor of Komtar since last Wednesday, had engaged a lawyer to represent them.
Their lawyer, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, said the eviction was illegal and conducted without a court order.
“The eviction was against Section 7 (2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950 and Article 13 of the Federal Constitution,” he told reporters last week.
When contacted, he said he is now preparing the summons document to be filed against the government for the eviction.
When asked about Section 8(3) of the Specific Relief Act 1950, he said he will deal with it in court.
The state government evicted 22 tenants from the PPR units in George Town to make way for others in its long waiting list.
While most agreed to move out, eight stubbornly refused to vacate the premises.
They have camped on the ground floor of Komtar after their units were locked last week and have refused to budge despite being given offers to stay in a hotel until they find another place and time to remove their personal items from the units.