Published on March 5, 2014
There is and shall be vested solely in the State Authority the entire property in – All State land within the territories of the State; All minerals and rock material within or upon any land in the State …
Section 5 “State Authority” means the Ruler or Governor of the state
This case made a distinction between the definition of the State Authority in the NLC and the practical definition of State Authority. Court: “State authority under the Code is defined, the purposes of the State of Selangor, as the Ruler. For practical purposes, this means the Ruler acting upon the recommendation of the Exco of the state.”
Section 5 "State land" means all land in the State (including so much of the bed of any river, and of the foreshore and bed of the sea…) other than (a) alienated land; (b) reserved land; (c) mining land; (d) any land … relating to forests”
Section 51 (1) (a) land above the shore-line; and (b) foreshore and sea-bed. (2) Land above the shore-line shall be classified as town land, village land and country land. Section 5 "shore line" means the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides; "foreshore" means all that land lying between the shore line and the low-water mark of ordinary spring tides;
Section 49 Where the shoreline encroaches on alienated land, the area affected by the encroachment becomes State land. However, the boundaries of the alienated land are not affected by the retreat of the shoreline. Re Sithambaran Chettiar The retreated area belongs to the proprietor as stated in the title.
Section 40: All State land and all minerals and rock material on land vest solely in the State Authority.
Section 41: State Authority has powers of disposal over State land, All minerals and rock material, Reserved land, Mining land
Section 42 Powers of disposal By way of alienation Otherwise than by alienation
Section 43 Natural persons other than minors Corporations having power to hold land Sovereigns, governments, organisations… Bodies empowered to hold land under the law Section 433B Non-citizens and foreign companies may acquire land only with approval of State Authority
Section 46 (1) Alienated land will revert to the State under several circumstances. (a) upon the expiry of the term (b) upon the publication in the Gazette of forfeiture for non-payment of rent or breach of condition; (c) death of a proprietor without successors, and the abandonment of title by proprietors; and (d) upon the surrender of land by the proprietor
The law of adverse possession upholds the estates in land of persons who have no formal ownership. Adverse possession is ‘possession as of wrong’ but long possession matures the wrong into a right. As a result, if you occupy somebody’s land without his permission, you are a “squatter” and you remain so, no matter how long your illegal occupation might have been.
The NLC does NOT recognise adverse possession. Against the State or against a private landowner.
Squatting on State land is a crime Section 48: “No title to State land shall be acquired by possession, unlawful occupation or occupation under any license for any period whatsoever”. Therefore, unlawful occupation of State land even after a longtime would not enable the occupier to obtain title to the land. Section 425: Unlawful occupation of State land is an offence
Squatting on private land: Gives rise to the tort of trespass Section 341 “Adverse possession for any length of time…shall not constitute a bar to the bringing of any action for the recovery thereof by the proprietor …” Therefore landowner may bring an action against the squatter at any time.
Facts: The appellants came to Perak and opened up a jungle area in Kg Gajah. Other settlers also settled in the area. The Government resettled some settlers to the land that the appellants were occupying. The appellants were given notice to vacate the land. The appellants claimed that they were entitled in law and equity to be in possession of the land that they pioneered and occupied.
Appellants’ grounds of support: The DO had promised them 3 acres of padi land subject to successful interviews. Utusan Malaysia published an article stating that the State Director of Lands and Mines promised each pioneer settler 5 acres of padi land. Government of Perak: The appellants had no cause of action in law or equity as they were squatters.
1. 2. 3. Federal Court: The appellants had no cause of action in law or equity as they were squatters Section 48 is against them The only way to obtain State land is by way of NLC.
Yap Chong Lan & Ors Lesco Development Corporation Sdn Bhd The Collector
The collector had no power to bind the state authority in making the commitment which had been made. It was the state authority which had power to alienate land. Therefore he took the view that the collector had no authority to give the assurance that was given. Section 48 prescribed that no title to state land shall be acquired by possession, unlawful occupation or occupation under any licence for any period whatsoever, Section 78(3) provided that the alienation of state land shall take effect on the registration of a register document of title. And as Lesco Development Sdn Bhd had been alienated the land, they were rightfully entitled to the ownership and the consequential rights.
The forefathers of the appellants and other unnamed occupiers were pioneer settlers of the agricultural land in dispute. The appellants alleged that between 1971 and 1976 they and the others made application to the state authority for titles of the said land. the Selangor State Executive Council had approved the alienation of the said land to the appellants Following the policy of the state government that only genuine and landless farmers would be given the land, only temporary occupation licences (‘TOL’) were granted to the farmers, on the understanding that separate titles to the land would be issued provided they continued to cultivate the land and remained with landless status.
The appellants contended that after the expiry of the TOL period in 1984, since they and the other farmers had satisfied the conditions imposed by the respondent they have acquired legal right or expectation to be issued with land titles. The respondent however thought fit to hand over the lands to the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (FELCRA). The respondent on behalf of the state government applied summarily under O 89 of the Rules of the High Court 1980 for possession of the land without even offering any compensation relating to the eviction of the appellants and others from the land.
For the purpose of the summary procedure under Order 89 of the Rules of the High Court, a distinction should be made between squatters simpliciter who have no rights whatsoever and occupiers with license of consent. (Order 89 RHC: Where a person claims possession of land which he alleges is occupied solely by a person or persons (not being a tenant or tenants holding over after the termination of the tenancy) who entered into or remained in occupation without his licence or consent or that of any predecessor in title of his, the proceedings may be brought by originating summons…)
See also Shaheen bte Abu Bakar v Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor  4 MLJ 233 Lebbey Sdn Bhd v Chong  5 MLJ 368 Kabra Holdings Sdn Bhd v Ahmad bin Sahlan  2 CLJ 817
Ali inherits a piece of land from his late mother 5 years ago. At that time, Ali was pursuing his accountancy degree at the International Islamic University. Last month, Ali approached his elder sister, Mala and asked for the land title of the lot of land which was allocated for him. Unfortunately, Mala told him that there was no land title for the lot but Ali has nothing to worry about since everybody in their family knows that the land is his. In fact, the headman of the village, Pak Ngah also acknowledges their ‘ownership’ over the land since they have been working and occupying the land for the last 18 years. Last week, Ali went to the nearest land office and asked for a copy of the land title for the said lot. He was informed by the land office staff that the state of Selangor has frozen all land alienation application till after the general election. Ali was confused and angry since his case is not about new application but more about confirming and acknowledging his right over a piece of land in which he and his family have put all the efforts to revive the virgin land.
1. 2. 3. Advise Ali as regards to his rights and interests over the land, if any. (5 marks) Advise on Ali’s status on the land if he continues occupying and working on the land without having any title on the land. (5 marks) Would your answer be different if Ali’s father had received a letter from the District Officer stating that their application for land alienation has been granted? (5 marks)
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