23 July 2007

Land switched in death

The Sun

R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez

PETALING JAYA (July 22, 2007): If the Sabak Bernam Land Office records are anything to go by, a man who died in 1951, walked out of his grave 26 years later to sign the necessary papers to transfer his Malay Reserve land to a third party of Chinese descent.

Raja Hussin Raja Hassan who acquired the land in 1917 died on April 25, 1951. But records show that the land had been transferred to See Lim Poh on April 1, 1977.

Now, Raja Hussin’s grandson, Zainal Aabidin Jamaluddin, wants to get back what he says is rightfully his, but the Sabak Bernam Land Office says the "old records" of ownership cannot be traced.

But he has photocopies of the original title where he claims are some discrepancies.
Raja Hussin had inherited 13 lots comprising over 10 acres of Malay Reserve Land in Sabak Bernam from his father Raja Hassan Raja Dol in 1917. (the latter was given the land by virtue of his lineage to the State Ruler).

Raja Hussin proceeded to obtain a Letter of Administration from the Kuala Lumpur Supreme Court in 1946.

When he died in 1951, Raja Hussin’s son Idris continued with the petitions to obtain the necessary documents. This was an endevour that lasted until 1977 when the family discovered that the land has since been alienated to See.

Raja Hussin had in the 1940s allowed See to cultivate coconuts on that land.

Zainal Aabidin says the Sabak Bernam Land Office has since claimed through a letter on Aug 8, 2000, that it could not trace the original grant/land title which lists Raja Hussin as the owner.

A title search on the lots revealed that the land belongs to one See who has since sub-divided them equally among his six children.

Today, that land forms part of the Sungai Besar township and houses a supermarket and bus station.

"I had on several occassions tried to obtain the land titles but the Land Office was very unco-operative," said Zainal Aabidin who has since lodged several police reports against the Land Office.

He said he was offered another piece of land outside the township which is lower valued.

"That land is now worth millions. All I want is what rightfully belongs to my family," said Zainal Aabidin.

An extract of two lots of the land obtained last month lists Sin Chai Leng and Sin Chai Chew as respective owners.

Lawyer Derek Fernandez, who specialises in planning and land law, said only the sultan has the authority to change the status of Malay Reserve Land.

"However, it can only be done in accordance with the National Land Council’s policies on Malay ownership of land, wherein a replacement of similar status and value must be given to the owner whose land is taken from him.

"Even so, the removal of Malay Reserve Land must be done in the interest of Malays," said Fernandez.

He said anyhing otherwise would be in violation with the land rights of Malays.

Fernandez added that a Malay could lease his Malay Reserve Land to a non-Malay to derive profit, but not sell the land to him.

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