Federal Court rules native land cannot be restored after lease conversion

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUCHING, Oct 13 — Native customary rights (NCR) land cannot be returned to the native owners once converted to Lease of State Land, the Federal Court ruled today.

“The effect of this conversion is that the disputed lands are no longer provisional leases but a lease proper and are entitled to the protection of Section 132 of the Sarawak Land Code, which title stands good against the whole world,” Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Shariff said his written judgment.

The judgment read out by Federal Court deputy registrar Edwin Paramjothy  Michael Muniandy here was on a case brought by headman Nyutan Jami, Ganga Guma and Langga Kama representing 183 villagers who sued the Land Custody and Development Board, Nirwana Muhibbah Sdn Bhd and state government.

The board and Nirwana are the registered co-proprietors of Lot 2 Block 6, Lot 166 Block 5 and Lot 7 Block 3, all of Melikin Land District, under the provisional leases issued by the state government that were later converted to Lease of State land.

This decision overrules the previous High Court and Court of Appeal rulings in favour of the native owners. Read more