Former Perak official seeks court order to publicly gag state excos on 999-year land ownership

John Bunyan

Aswannudin Hariffudin (second left) and Perak mentri besar’s special officer Mohd Jaffery Mohd Zainol (second right) in front of the State Secretariat Building in Ipoh January 15, 2020. — Pictures by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Jan 15 — A former Perak government officer has filed for an injunction to stop Pakatan Harapan (PH) state officials from publicly commenting on the award of land ownership for a period of 999 years.

Aswannudin Hariffudin, formerly an officer in the state education committee under Barisan Nasional-rule, said discussions on the matter should not be aired in public pending an official explanation and solution.

“The land issue is a state agenda. By right, all state excos should talk about this matter in the same tone and from the same angle, but what happened here is that each has their own view and explanations,” he told a press conference in front of the State Secretariat Building here.

“In the end, the people are confused and do not have a proper understanding on the land issue. What is the direction of the state government in this matter? We don’t know,” he said.

Aswannudin, who is also the president of Perak Youth Council, said he filed an affidavit for his court order against the state government at the High Court here yesterday, stressing that the application was made in his personal capacity.

He said he also handed over a copy of it today to the Mentri Besar’s special officer Mohd Jaffery Mohd Zainol.

Aswannudin said the state government is obliged to explain its criteria for the land ownership eligibility.

“What makes those receivers so special until they are granted such land ownership? Are they national heroes?

“There are many soldiers who had sacrificed for the country, police who had sacrificed to keep the state safe and the civil servants who have worked hard to develop the state, but they seem to be forgotten,” he said.

Aswannudin Hariffudin speaking to the press on the 999-years land ownership issue in front of the State Secretariat Building in Ipoh January 15, 2020.

He also said the state government should reveal how much such land would cost if the leased titles were changed to freehold.

“If this 999-year freehold land title was granted, can the youths and young adults could afford to buy a house and can those who receive the land title afford to pay the land tax?” he asked.

Aswannudin claimed land ownership to be a basic need and should not be used as political leverage.

The 999-year land titles are a state PH electoral promise to long-time tenants of properties dubbed “new villages” first established after World War Two to counter communism.

Last month, Perak Education, Technology, Science and Environment Committee chairman Abdul Aziz Bari said the state government is expected to be able to issue freehold land titles soon as promised in the Perak Pakatan Harapan manifesto in the 14th General Election.

Abdul Aziz was reported saying that a decision would be announced before Chinese New Year this year, which falls on January 25.

However, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has since said the state government will raise the matter with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the National Land Council.

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