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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perak defends decision to give freehold titles

Cordial greetings: Najib shaking hands with Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin after he chaired the 64th National Land Committee Meeting in Putrajaya yesterday.

IPOH: The Perak Government has defended its decision to offer freehold titles to new and planned villages.

State senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the power related to land rested on the state government.

“The National Land Code is a governing code for administrative purposes only,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He said the state had discussed special circumstances in awarding freehold titles such as public or government projects and projects that were of public interest.

“The new and planned villages come under special circumstances,” he added.

Explaining the reason behind

the awarding of freehold titles to new and planned villages, Ngeh said the Pakatan Rakyat government wanted to rectify the past injustices done to those living in these villages.

“They did not go into the villages voluntarily but were forced to move into them and they were not given basic amenities.”

“They suffered a lot,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Penang government said it will meet and discuss whether to continue with its plan to allow owners of low and medium-cost flats to convert their leasehold titles to freehold without paying a land premium.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement that state governments could only issue freehold titles for land intended for federal and public use.

Lim said an announcement on the matter would probably be made today.

“We need to consider carefully whether we are going to implement the policies or re-propose them at the next National Land Council meeting,” he said, noting that the state took the matter “very seriously”.

By The Star (by Sylvia Looi and Christina Chin)

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