Pay up Orang Asli compensation, MP urges Johor

51 Orang Asli of the Seletar tribe have sought court action to force payment of compensation for being relocated from Stulang Laut to Kampung Orang Asli Kuala Masai. (Bernama pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor state government has been urged to take immediate action to pay nine-year-old arrears of compensation due to members of the Seletar tribe of Orang Asli who were relocated from their village.

Hassan Karim, MP for Pasir Gudang, hoped that the menteri besar, Dr Sahruddin Jamal, would take immediate action.

The displaced Orang Asli were successful in obtaining a court order that they be paid compensation.

“The order was issued in 2010, but the old government failed to comply with this court order, so the new government should be positive and respect the law. “I hope, if possible, this case can be resolved immediately even before the case management is held. There’s no need to wait for the hearing,” he said.

This morning, members of the tribe filed an application for a writ of mandamus, a court action that will compel the Johor land authorities to pay compensation.

The group of about 50 Orang Asli, led by Kelah Lah, 38, and Khalip Bachik, 57, were relocated from the original village in Stulang Laut to Kampung Orang Asli, Kuala Masai.

In 2008, they took legal action against the Johor director of lands and mines, Johor Bahru City Council, and the director-general of Orang Asli Affairs and were granted a High Court decision in their favour two years later.

The High Court ruled in 2010 that the Orang Asli should be compensated in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act 1960, and such compensation must be determined by the Johor Bahru Land Administrator.

Their lawyer, Tan Poh Lai, said High Court judge See Mee Chun had allowed an application by the Orang Asli for a judicial review. A date will be fixed for the hearing.