Tun Salleh Abas represents Kelantan against Putrajaya

Tun Salleh Abas represents Kelantan against Putrajaya

PUTRAJAYA: Kelantan has roped in former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas to represent it in an Orang Asli land encroachment case filed by the federal government.

Media reports indicated that Salleh would be making his appearance with counsel Khoo Guan Huat when applications are heard before judge Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh at the Kota Bharu High Court on July 21.

Former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas who would be representing the Kelantan government in this case.

A lawyer from the prosecution team, David Ragumaren has also confirmed that Salleh had already appeared for this case during a case management exercise on May 8, reported a news portal.

Salleh who was Lord President of the then Supreme Court was removed from his position through the establishment of a judicial tribunal at the height of the 1988 judicial crisis.

Five other Supreme court judges including Tan Sri Dato Dr Eusoffe Abdoolcader were suspended.

The precedent case against the PAS led Kelantan government was initiated by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas in January this year to protect the native land rights of the Orang Asli.

Among others the Pakatan Harapan federal government is seeking an injunction to stop private companies from encroaching native lands for commercial activities.

The state government, Kelantan Land and Mines Department director, Kelantan Forestry Department director along with companies were named in the suit.

The five are Fleet Precision Sdn Bhd, Koperasi Kijang Mas Negeri Kelantan Bhd, KPG Maju Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Ringgit Saksama (M) Sdn Bhd and M7 Plantation Bhd.

This is because the state government and agencies granted logging licences to the private entities that enabled to venture into alleged native land land of Temiar Orang Asli in Pos Simpor, Gua Musang.

The forest land has been cleared to make way for durian and rubber plantations.

The Attorney General Chambers in its claimed that this decision deprived the Temiar community of their native land and resources. It has led to widespread erosion, pollution and damages to the ecology and landscape of Pos Simpor.

In the originating suit, Thomas claimed that the Temiar were not consulted, denied compensation and deprived of their land and resources.

He also insisted that the state government is bound by paramount and non-delegable duty to protect and preserve the welfare of the Temiar native people.

Kelantan would be applying to strike out the suit on 21 July on the basis that the federal government has no legal standing. The second ground that the state government is putting forth is that the high court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Fiat prosecutor Gurdial S Nijhar

There are three applications that the court would need to consider as follows:

  • The application for a stay by the state government, state director of lands and mines, and state director of the forestry department to file their defence pending disposal of the striking-out application;
  • Putrajaya’s application against he five entities to stop them from entering the land pending disposal of the suit; and
  • The intervener’s application by the penghulu of Pos Tohoi, as his rights will be affected if the court allows the declarations sought by the federal government.

Thomas has given a fiat license to former law professor turned lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijhar to represent the federal government along with Ragumaren. 

Senior federal counsel Kamal Azira Hassan and federal counsel Saffiyah Omar too will make up the team representing the federal government.

Tags assigned to this article:
native customary land rightsorang aslitemiar