Emergency Ordinance allows Agong to take temporary possession of any private property

The recently gazetted Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 grants powers to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or anyone authorised by him, to take temporary possession of any land, building or moveable property. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The recently gazetted Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 grants powers to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or anyone authorised by him, to take temporary possession of any land, building or moveable property. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR Jan 15 — The recently gazetted Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 grants powers to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or anyone authorised by him, to take temporary possession of any land, building or moveable property.

The gazettement is dated January 14, but takes retrospective effect from January 11, the day Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah issued his proclamation of Emergency under Article 150 (1) of the Federal Constitution to safeguard the country from the economic threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.    

“For so long as the Emergency is in force, notwithstanding any provision in the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the King may take temporary possession of any land, building or movable property or part of any land, building or movable property and may give such directions as appear to him necessary or expedient in connection with the taking of possession of that land, building or movable property,” Section 3(1) in the Ordinance read.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong or anyone authorised by him can also remove any restriction on the land using the Ordinance, and use it for any purpose deemed fit, but the owner or occupier of the land, building and moveable property can continue using their properties unless ordered otherwise.

“While any land, building or movable property is in the temporary possession of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong  under this section, the land, building or movable property may, notwithstanding any restriction imposed on the use thereof, whether by any written law or other instrument or otherwise, be used by, or under the authority of, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for such purpose, and in such manner, as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong thinks expedient,” Section 3(2) read.

The owner, or occupier of the land, building or moveable property which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or those he authorises who intend to takeover using the Ordinance must also; if requested, furnish details or information of the said property to the authorities “which may reasonably be demanded of him in connection with the execution of this section, as may be so specified.”

The owner may also be prevented from occupying his or her said property, under the Ordinance, which reads;

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, so far as appears to him to be necessary or expedient in connection with the taking of temporary possession or use of the land, building or movable property in pursuance of subsection (2). 

“(b) may by order provide for prohibiting or restricting the exercise of rights of way over the land or building, and other rights relating thereto which are enjoyed by any person, whether by virtue of an interest in the land or building or otherwise.”

According to the Ordinance, compensations would also be left to the discretion of the Yang di-Pertaun Agong’s assessment, and the assessment shall be final and conclusive and shall not be challenged or called in question in any court on any ground. 

Anyone who fails to comply with this demand as directed by the Agong is considered to have committed an offence and will be punished if convicted with a  maximum fine of RM5 million, or jailed up to 10 years, or both. 

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a state of Emergency which he claimed was to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

Under the Emergency declaration, Parliament and state legislative assemblies will not be allowed to meet, until such a time as decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The Dewan Rakyat was scheduled to meet for the first time this year from March 8 to April 8.

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