Kinabatangan Villagers Lodge MACC, Police Reports Over Loss Of NT Land

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Some of the affected villagers with Rahimah Majid, centre, their lawyer outside the Sandakan police station on Monday where they had lodged reports against the Sabah Land and Survey Department on Monday.

By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KINABATANGAN: Some 99 villagers from Kampung Tenegang Besar, near here, have lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as well as the police, against the Registrar of Land Titles and the Director of Lands and Surveys Department over alleged cheating.

Through their lawyer, Rahimah Majid of RM Jarin and Co, the villagers also filed a claim at the High Court against the said parties involved.

The villagers are claiming that the two defendants had allegedly transferred their native land titles (of 99 lots) to a non-native individual who then subleased it to a plantation company, without their knowledge and consent.

They believe the incident allegedly happened in January 2002, while the titles were subsequently transferred in May 2008 to another non-native individual.

The irregular dealings were only discovered in October 2015 and on Monday the affected villagers lodged the reports in Sandakan in the presence of their lawyer,.

RAHIMAH MAJID

This is the third time the affected land owners have lodged a report with the police over the said matter. The first time was on July 4, 2016 while the second report was lodged on January 5, 2017.

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 the said titles and did not sign for the acceptance or receipt of the individual titles,” Rahimah said in a statement Wednesday.

“They were also not aware of the transfer to the individual concerned and that they did not sign any memorandum of transfers of their 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 of the applicants had passed away but their said Titles were allegedly ‘signed’ and accepted by them (deceased applicants) who were also said to have signed their memorandum of transfers.”

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According to Rahimah, the villagers also claimed that 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.

She noted that the said 99 Native Titles were then unlawfully transferred on or about January 4, 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 May 16, 2008 without the knowledge and or consent of the affected landowners.

The Plaintiffs are also accusing 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. that the Department had failed to hand over and or failed 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

3. 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.

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

Rahimah further noted that 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.

She went on to note that forty-five of the Plaintiffs had applied to lodge private caveats on the affected lands on July 29, 2016 at the Lands and Surveys Department at Kota 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, she added.

The Plaintiffs further claimed that upon the inquiries by their representatives they discovered and have 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 first named individual on January 4, 2002 and the subsequent transfer on May 16, 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 January 14, 2002 be declared invalid, null and void and of no effect,” added Rahimah.