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 Local

A Kinabatangan village is taking a stand against corruption

7th December, 2017

By MICHAEL TEH

KOTA KINABALU: A group of 99 villagers of Kg. Tenegang Besar, Kinabatangan on Monday lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police, against the Registrar of Land Titles and the director of Lands and Surveys Department.

The alleged that the duo were responsible for transferring their native land titles, totaling 99 lots, to an apparently non-native individual who then subleased it to a plantation company without their knowledge and consent.

The said incident allegedly happened in January 2002. The titles were subsequently transferred in May 2008 to another apparently non-native individual. The dealings were discovered in October 2015.

The said reports were lodged in Sandakan with the presence of their lawyer, Rahimah Majid of RM Jarin and Co. This was the third time the affected land owners lodged a report with the police over the said matter. The first time was on 4 July, 2016 and the secondon 5 January, 2017.

Through their lawyer, they also filed a claim in the High Court against the said parties.

In their statement of claim, they noted that they submitted their Land Applications (LAs) to the Lands and Surveys Department sometime in 1976 and the individual Native Titles for the total 100 lots of lands were subsequently issued in 2001.

“The Plaintiffs claimed that they were unaware of the issuance of and did not sign for the acceptance or receipt of the individual titles. They were also not aware of the transfer to the individual concerned and that they did not sign the memorandum of transfers of the respective individual titles to the said individual.

They further claimed that when the 100 individual Native Titles were issued on or about 2001, twenty-five (25) of the land applicants had passed away but their said Native Titles were alleged to have been signed and accepted by the said 25 deceased applicants who were also said to have signed their memorandum of transfers.

“They claimed that Ninety-nine (99) of the 100 individual Native Titles belonging to them were fraudulently collected and or unlawfully released and handed over by the Director of the Lands and Surveys Department to parties that were unauthorized by them,” said Rahimah.

She noted that the said 99 Native Titles were then unlawfully transferred on or about 04.01.2002 without the knowledge or consent of the affected landowners and or the other then registered owners.

The said land titles were subsequently unlawfully subleased to the company and later transferred to another individual who was also a director of the said company on or about 16.05.2008 without the knowledge and or consent of the affected landowners.

“The Plaintiffs also accused the Lands and Surveys Department of having breached its statutory duty under the Land Ordinance, for: 1). failing to notify them to collect the original documents of the said 99 Native Titles; 2). Failing to handover and or failing to deliver the original documents of titles to the said 99 Native Titles to them, and or beneficiaries of the then successful applicants of the said 99 Native Titles; Releasing and handing over the said 99 Native Titles to person or persons not lawfully authorized by them and or the then successful applicants of the said 99 Native Titles,” said Rahimah.

The Plaintiffs also claimed that there was a conspiracy to deny them the lawful ownership of the said 99 native titles.

“Representatives of the Plaintiffs had visited the Lands and Surveys Department at Kota Kinabatangan, Kinabatangan, several times in 2015 and were told on each occasion by the staff, servants and or agents of the department that there were no such titles to the said 99 Native Titles at the said office,” Rahimah noted.

She went on to note that 45 of the Plaintiffs had applied to lodge private caveats on the affected lands on 29.07.2016 at the Lands and Surveys Department at Kota Kinabatangan, Kinabatangan, but the staff, servants and or agents of the department failed, refused and or neglected to register the said private caveats and failed, refused and or neglected to provide the relevant memorial numbers.

The Plaintiffs thus considered this as part of a conspiracy by the staff, servants and or agents of the Lands and Surveys Department to deprive them of their rights and ownership of the said 99 Native Titles.

The Plaintiffs further claimed that upon the inquiries by their representatives at the Lands and Surveys Department at Kota Kinabatangan, Kinabatangan, they discovered and has reasonable reason to believe that the staff, servants and or agents of the department have intentionally and or deliberately misplaced and or destroyed some if not all the original documents of title to the said 99 Native Titles together with the relevant Memoranda of Transfer and other documents relating to the transfers of the same to the sibling of the director of the oil palm company involved, and the subsequent transfer to the said director, and have mala fide issued replacement titles to the said 99 Native Titles.

The Plaintiffs thus reiterated that the abovementioned incidents were part of a conspiracy by the staff, servants and or agents of the said department to deprive them of their rights and ownership of the said 99 Native Titles.

“In their statement of claims the Plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the purported transfer of the titles of the said 99 Native Titles, firstly to the first named individual on 04.01.2002 and the subsequent transfer on 16.05.2008 be declared invalid, null and void.

“The Plaintiffs are also seeking for a declaration that the purported sublease of the titles of the said 99 Native Titles to the said plantation company on 14.01.2002 be declared invalid, null and void and of no effect,” said Rahimah.

   
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