Dialogue: The land problems of the people in Johor

Some ninety people attended a dialogue session titled ‘ The land problems of the people in Johor’ organized by the Johor People’s Complaint Centre (Pusat Aduan Rakyat Negeri Johor) in Good Hope hotel, Skudai, here, this afternoon.

The objectives of the dialogues session were to gather and compile all land related problems in Johor, to summarise the various proposals in resolving the stated problems and finally to form a joint committee named ‘Gabungan Selamatkan Tanah Rakyat Johor’ (Tanah).

Majority of the participants who attended the dialogue session have land related grievances with the district and/or state land department where some of the cases dated as far back as in the 1990’s.

The participants were from the various districts in the state of Johor and as far as Tangkak, Senggarang (Batu Pahat), Macap (Kluang) and Mersing.

A 51 year old smallholder from Macap, Kluang, Mohd. Khalil Talkah, told the panelists that he has been paying his six acres land assessment tax regularly to the district land office between 1972 to 1990 but later, he discovered that his land has been given to another party.

Another smallholder Chan Ah Meng, 48, who hails from Bukit Serampang, Tangkak,  told the panelists that he represented eleven other smallholders have toiled the land between fifteen to twenty years. 1996.

“ We have applied to land office for the agricultural land between 1986 to 1996 without success and lately they have found out that the land which they have applied for were given to others,” Chan claimed.

One participant complained that a lawyer who handled his land sale cheated him in the land deal where his land title name has been transferred to the new owner but have not paid for the land as agreed and appealed to the panelists for assistance.

Due to the overwhelming respond, each participant is only given five minutes to voice their land related grievances but due to time constraint, ten more participants were unable to voice out but their grievances were noted by the panelists.

The dialogue panelists headed by Suhaizan Kaiat, includes Zulkefly Ahmad, Hassan Karim, Mazlan Aliman, Ustaz Azam Abd Razak and Mohd Faizul Mohd Salleh.

National novelist Pak Samad later joined in the dialogue session at the tail end and presented a poem in support of the initiative undertaken by th Johor People’s Complaint Centre (Pusat Aduan Rakyat Negeri Johor) .

To the surprise of those present at the dialogue, a group of eight from Pengerang made a shocking presentation of their land plight through great oratory skill and banners protesting against the forced acquisition of their land by the state government to develop the controversial RM 60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project (RAPID).