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Land acquisitions are common, particularly in developing countries as lands are often needed by the governing authorities to, for example, improve public infrastructure or national developments.  When land is acquired by the government from private landowners for such economic development projects, this is referred to as “compulsory land acquisition”.  Here is a brief overview on the land acquisition process in Malaysia.

  1. It is likely that the first time you become aware your land or the land that you are occupying is being acquired will be through the receipt of a notice entitled “Borang E Pengambilan Yang Dicadangkan : Notis Siasatan” (Proposed Acquisition: Notice of Enquiry), which purpose is to give you notice of the land acquisition as well as of the date and time of an enquiry which is held by the Land Administrator to determine the amount of compensation to you be awarded to you for the acquisition of your land.  Prior to the issuance of Form E, the government would have to comply with other procedural and legal requirements which we will not cover in this overview.
  1. If you have grounds to challenge the acquisition of your land (such as where the acquisition was not done in accordance to law or where the purpose of the acquisition is questionable) you will have to seek legal advice immediately to commence judicial review proceedings, which has to be done within 3 months from the service of the Form E notice.
  1. If there is no challenge towards the land acquisition, you will have to attend the enquiry at the place and time set out in the Form E. At the enquiry, typically the Land Administrator will direct that you appoint a valuer who will then prepare a valuation report setting out your losses arising from the land acquisition (such as the value of the acquired land, cost of relocating and loss of business) for the purposes of determining the amount of compensation to be awarded to you. At the same time, the Land Administrator will also instruct the Jabatan Penilaian dan Perkhidmatan Harta (JPPH) to prepare a valuation report.
  1. Once both reports are before the Land Administrator, he will then determine the amount of compensation to be awarded and the decision will typically be informed to you at the final enquiry followed subsequently by another notice entitled “Borang H Notis Award dan Tawaran Pampasan” (Notice of Award and Offer of Compensation).
  1. If you are satisfied with the amount of compensation awarded to you, you would need to sign and return the Form H notice indicating so. The compensation amount will then be paid into the bank account you would have provided to the Land Administrator during the enquiry process.
  1. However, if you are not satisfied with the amount awarded, you will still have to sign and return the Form H notice but would have to indicate that you either accept the award with an objection or that you do not accept the award. You will then have 6 weeks (assuming you were present at the enquiry) to file your application for the matter to be referred to the Land Reference Court (which is made up of either a High Court judge alone or together with two Court appointed assessors) for the Court’s determination as to whether the award ought to be increased. At this point, it is important that you have legal representation to ensure that the necessary deadlines are met and that the grounds of your objection are properly set out.
  1. Decisions in respect of “issues of fact on ground of quantum of compensation” of the Land Reference Court are final. In all other instances, the normal appeal route to the Court of Appeal and then to the Federal Court is available.

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About the author: 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.

 

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