An NGO has urged the Perak Land and Mines Office to restore the status of some Malay reserve land transferred to non-Malays and companies.
The Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) said the office's move to instruct a non-Malay company to replace the reserve land with another plot was at odds with the law.
"The law states that Malay reserve land can be returned, and the ownership of the land restored through Sections 380, 417 and 419 of the National Land Code 1965," MHO secretary-general Hishamuddin Hashim said when handing over a memorandum to the office yesterday.
This followed reports that 3,214 hectares of Malay reserve land in Sitiawan were owned by a non-Malay company, in addition to other lots that had been transferred to non-Malays.
Perak Land and Mines Office director Mohamad Fariz Mohamad Hanip was subsequently reported as ordering the company to replace the land with non-Malay reserve land under its name in Teluk Intan and Tapah.
Fariz said the land converted to Malay reserve land was only about 15% of the total land owned by the company in Sitiawan.
The status of Malay reserve land in Sitiawan entered the limelight after ownership was transferred to a non-Malay through sale from a Malay to a non-Malay company.
MHO had on May 15 submitted a memorandum on the matter to the Perak Land and Mines Office director.
Hishamuddin said the transfer of Malay reserve land was also against the Malay Reserve Land Enactment 1933 which states that any transaction is null and void if the land is transferred to a non-Malay.
"In fact, under the Malay Reserve Enactment 1933, the Malay reserve land that came into existence in 1933 cannot be amended or abolished except through a debate in Parliament," he said.
He said the initial measure to impose restrictions by entering a registrar's caveat for the land involved to prevent the transaction or transfer of ownership did not address the problem, as non-Malay land owners would face difficulties as a result of buying land with restrictions.
He urged the Perak Land and Mines Office to protect the Malay reserve land in Sitiawan as provided by under law.