IPOH: May 8, 2008 By Brenda Lim
The Perak government has frozen all applications for state land, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said.
He said previous decisions to award such land to private individuals and companies would also be cancelled, especially in cases where there were elements of victimisation.
This decision was made following numerous complaints to the state government that squatters and farmers were being evicted from the land they had lived and worked on for the past three to four decades.
Mohammad Nizar cited the example of farmers and fish rearers in Malim Nawar, Kampar, who were suddenly obstructed from entering the land they had worked on for some 40 years and informed that another party had been given ownership of the land.
There were also similar complaints in Langkap and Kamunting.
"It's not that we are consenting to illegal settlement of the land, but we will study the matter case by case," he said after chairing the executive council meeting here yesterday.
He said a major portion of the meeting was spent rejecting land distribution decisions which did not comply with state government guidelines.
In addition, the menteri besar said the state government would not entertain requests by private individuals and companies for reduced premiums for state land, especially if the applicants were wealthy and prosperous.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Nizar announced that only those who lived in villages, as proven by the addresses on their MyKad, would be allowed to vote or contest in elections for village heads.
Elected village heads would only receive a RM200 monthly allowance from the state government and would not be tasked with handling many projects or appointing contractors for the respective projects, as was the practice under the former state administration.
He said the limited incentives would prove the sincerity of the village heads to serve their community.
"In the past, it was a coveted post. Now the post is about being entrusted with responsibilities, as there are not many incentives for them."
He added that village elections would return the rights of villagers to decide on their own representatives