Waythamoorthy to mediate Orang Seletar land case against Johor gov’t, Putrajaya

Modified 11 Sep 2019, 11:21 am

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy is mediating the 2012 land case involving the Seletar Orang Asli against the Johor state government and the federal government.

Waythamoorthy said the Court of Appeal has been informed that he, as the minister in charge of the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), has agreed to serve as a mediator in the hopes of reaching an amicable solution.

In 2012, 188 members of the Seletar tribe in South Johor filed a class-action suit against the Johor state government, federal government and developers over their claim on native customary land in and around Kampung Orang Asli Bakar Batu and Kampung Sungai Temon, Johor.

The land in dispute is located at the Danga Bay region of the Iskandar Development Corridor in Johor.

Waythamoorthy said the first meeting was held yesterday and also attended by Johor Land and Mines Department, state legal advisor office, members of the Seletar community as well as their solicitors.

He added that many “outstanding issues have been mutually agreed on" by the relevant parties to the case, with a few matters left to be resolved.

“I am happy to note that progress was made in our discussions and certain follow-up actions were identified to be taken.

“Both parties look forward to reaching an amicable solution which will be acceptable to all concerned,” he said in a statement.

It was reported that the Johor High Court initially ruled in favour of the Orang Asli in the case and ordered the state government to pay compensation.

However, the Seletar filed an appeal as they sought to recover their land instead of receiving compensation.

Stuland Laut land dispute

This is not the only major legal action taken by the Orang Laut Seletar.

In an unrelated case, 51 families from the community have been seeking compensation for their ancestral lands in Stulang Laut since 1993.

The prime land located where the shopping centre "The Zon" now stands was worth an estimated RM23 million in a 2005 valuation based on an estimate of land prices in 1993.

However, the compensation offered by the Johor government in 2018 was just RM255,000 or RM5,000 per family.

Despite winning two court battles in 2010 and 2012, and a statement on June 5 by Johor Menteri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal promising a quick resolution, that case has yet to reach a conclusion. 

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