The Orang Asli will given way, rightly by the Selangor Government

PRESS STATEMENT
22 APRIL, 2009

SELANGOR GOVERNMENT ENDS LAND ACQUISITION DISPUTE WITH TEMUAN TRIBE IN SAGONG TASI CASE

SHAH ALAM: The State Executive Councilors’ Meeting today decided to withdraw the State Government’s appeal to the Federal Court with respect to the Sagong Tasi case involving the acquisition of 38.477 acres of the Temuan tribe’s customary lands at Bukit Tampoi, Dengkil in 1995.

Accordingly, the State Legal Advisor will inform the Federal Court tomorrow of the State Government’s intention to withdraw from the case.

The State has also taken into account the concerns raised in the Court of Appeal judgment in respect of the gazette of Orang Asli land and has formed an Orang Asli Land Taskforce – which will be launched on May 4, 2009 – to address land-related issues.

The Pakatan Rakyat Government in Selangor hopes that the decision will foster a stronger working relationship needed to address all the problems of the Orang Asli who have been marginalized from mainstream development. The State Government believes in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and will continue to treat the Orang Asli community with the respect they deserve and that should have been accorded to them from the very beginning.

TAN SRI ABDUL KHALID IBRAHIM
SELANGOR MENTERI BESAR

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S’gor pulls out from fighting Orang Asli case
Apr 22, 09 3:59pm Malaysiakini.com
The Selangor government has decided not to challenge the landmark court judgment which recognised the right of a group of Orang Asli to their customary land in Bukit Tampoi, Dengkil.
MCPX
In 2005, the Court of Appeal upheld the Shah Alam High Court’s judgment that Sagong Tasi and six others from the Temuan tribe be compensated under the Land Acquisition Act 1960 for the loss of their 38-acre customary land in Bukit Tampoi.

The court dismissed the appeal by the federal government, the Selangor government, the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and United Engineers Malaysia Berhad (UEM) who argued that native customary and ancestral rights are not equivalent to propriety rights under common law.

Both UEM and MHA have been ordered by the court to pay damages for trespassing on the ancestral land to build a highway to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The two were also ordered to pay exemplary and special damages for the harsh treatment meted out to the Orang Asli when being evicted from their land.

On hearing the judgment, 350 Orang Asli who had gathered outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya jumped for joy.

But their jubilation was short-lived as the four appellants have since gone to the Federal Court – the country’s highest court – in the bid to reverse the judgment.

Gov’t wants to protect their rights

But today, the executive council of the Selangor government, one of the four appellants, has decided to pull out from the case.

“Accordingly, the state legal advisor will inform the Federal Court tomorrow of the state government’s intention to withdraw from the case,” said Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said that his state government will set up an Orang Asli Land Taskforce, to be launched on May 4, to address such land-related issues.

“The Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor hopes that the decision (to withdraw from the case) will foster a stronger working relationship needed to address all the problems of the Orang Asli who have been marginalised from mainstream development.

“The state government believes in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and will continue to treat the Orang Asli community with the respect they deserve and that should have been accorded to them from the very beginning.”

The federal government has argued that prior to the tribe’s settlement in Bukit Tampoi 210 years ago, the land was already owned by the Selangor sultanate and therefore they could not have held native or customary rights status.

“The decision of the Appeals Court was therefore fundamentally flawed as the status of the land, which was part of the sultanate land, was not properly considered in the judgment,” senior federal counsel Mary Lim told the Federal Court.

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