Until a Notice That Possession Has Been Taken of Land (Form K) is issued – which is normally a few weeks after payment of compensation is made – the State Authority can at any time withdraw the acquisition. For example, this could happen where the national project for which the land was initially scheduled to be acquired has been cancelled.
What happens in the event the compulsory acquisition is withdrawn?
- A notice of withdrawal will first have to be published and gazetted by the State Authority. Once the notice of withdrawal has been gazetted, all proceedings taken or being taken to acquire ceases to have effect.
- Following that, a notice will be issued and served on the proprietors affected. Said notice will state that the acquisition of said land had been withdrawn and that the proprietors are required to attend an enquiry before the Land Administrator to put forth any claim for compensation for losses incurred by reason of the acquisition, such as relocation costs, loss of revenue or damages paid to terminate relevant contracts.
- In some instances, particularly if the compensation claimed is substantial, the enquiry process is similar to the process relating to the acquisition of land as summarized in our previous article here, that is:
- The proprietor may be directed to appoint a valuer (if one hasn’t already been appointed) to prepare and submit a valuation report setting out and quantifying the losses claimed for. At the same time, the Land Administrator will also instruct the Jabatan Penilaian and Perkhidmatan Harta to prepare a valuation report.
- The Land Administrator then considers both reports and will determine the amount of compensation to be awarded and this may be informed verbally during a subsequent enquiry or in writing by way of a notice.
- All decisions of the Land Administrator will be served on the proprietors in a Form LB notice, which is similar to the Form H notice, wherein the proprietor will be required to indicate whether he: (a) accepts the award without any objections; (b) accepts the award under protest; or (c) does not accept the award. Compensation that is less than RM 5,000.00 is final and no objection can be made if the objection relates only to the amount of compensation.
- If the award is accepted, the Form LB has to be signed and returned and the compensation amount will be paid in accordance to the proprietor’s desired method of payment as indicated in the same form.
- Again similar to the process of challenging an award of compensation following an acquisition of land, if the award is accepted under protest or not accepted, the proprietor has 6 weeks (assuming he was present at the enquiry) to file an application for the matter to be referred to the Land Reference Court for the Court’s determination as to whether the award ought to be increased.
- The appeal avenue from the Land Reference Court is also the same, i.e. only decisions of the Land Reference Court in respect of “issues of fact on ground of quantum of compensation” are final and in all other instances, the normal appeal route to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court is available.
- Upon the withdrawal of acquisition, a memorial or an endorsement will be entered onto the land title of the affected lands to reflect the same.
Th’ng Yan Nie is an associate in the dispute resolution practice group at Donovan & Ho. She has a wide range of experience in litigation matters including contractual and commercial disputes, compulsory land acquisition, debt recovery and strata and property management issues.
Donovan & Ho is a law firm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our practice areas include employment law, dispute resolution (litigation and arbitration), corporate and tax advisory, and real estate/conveyancing. Have a query? Contact us.