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Land status appeal hits a snag

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DISAPPOINTED:After their 30-year quest to get freehold land titles hits yet another snag, Taman Cuepacs residents are going all the way to the top for help

TAMAN Cuepacs Segambut residents' 30-year quest to revert their leasehold land into freehold has hit yet another stumbling block as the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office recently rejected the residents' appeal.

Segambut Barisan Nasional coordinating chairman Jayanthi Devi Balaguru announced that the FT Land and Mines Office director Mohd Afif Mohd Fadzil sent her a letter dated Feb 24 stating that the application was rejected after being weighed in a land exco meeting on Feb 9.

The letter, which she received by post in early this month, also did not indicate that it was forwarded to the FT minister who had directed a study into the case in August.

Residents' association chairman Abdul Alim Salih, who learnt about rejection through a phone call from Jayanthi, said he was disappointed with the one-paragraph reply which did not include any details on why the application was rejected.

"We waited  30 years for a black-and-white document from the FT Land and Mines Office and this is the reply we get. There is no reason for the rejection --  just a statement on how and when the application was rejected," he said.

The residents booked their homes on freehold titles advertised in the early 1970s, but received leasehold titles instead when the project was completed in the late  '70s

Later Taman Megah, Kepong and Taman Emas, Segambut, that flanks the neighbourhood were given freehold titles.

It was recently discovered that four  lots within Taman Cuepacs with leasehold titles were bought over by Taman Megah developers and subsequently converted to freehold titles.

"We are willing to accept their decision to reject our appeals if they  explain why," he said.

To add insult to injury, a developer was advertising factory lots at the Business Park near the railway tracks with freehold titles.

"It irks to see double standards when it is constantly said that land in FT is scarce," he said, adding that the residents were sick and tired of waiting, and would be taking the matter up with the Prime Minister soon.

At the meeting there were also calls by residents to stage a peaceful protest with the required permits before handing over a memorandum to the Prime Minister.

S. Thavagnanam, 74, said, "I  served the government for 38 years and this is what I get in exchange. The best part is I may live another 10 days or 10 years,  as this matter is still  drawn out."

He also agreed with many residents that if the matter was not resolved now, their children were likely to abandon the struggle after their deaths.  

Jayanthi said the government should fast-track the longstanding issue.  "They should issue a approval letter for the title reversion before it is too late," she said, adding that the National Land Code  can be used to process this application.

She said that a number of developers won cases against separate land offices in the country for converting freehold land into leasehold land.

In the case of the Federal Territories Land and Mines Director versus Sri Lempah Enterprise in 1979, where their development was given a conditional approval if they agreed to surrender their freehold status, the Federal court in no uncertain terms held that the government made a mistake. The Federal Court decided it was a breach of the National Land Code 1965, and that it was against the Federal constitution to convert freehold land to leasehold.  Jayanthi expects to facilitate the meeting between residents and the Prime Minister soon.

Abdul Alim Salih says residents waited for thirty 30 years for a black-and-white document from the FT Land and Mines Office


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