JOHOR BARU: Villagers from two orang asli kampung celebrated after the Johor Baru High Court ordered that they be compensated.
The 110 orang asli families stand to gain a huge sum of money.
In his judgment, High Court judge Datuk Teo Say Eng ruled that the federal and state governments had failed to protect the land ownership rights of the villagers in Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Temon and Kampung Orang Asli Bakar Batu Perling.
He ordered both governments to compensate the villagers according to the land’s market value for releasing portions of the 137.5ha land to developers and individual buyers.
The villagers co-counsel S. Yogeswaran told reporters outside the courtroom that the court only ruled on compensation, as the land now belonged to the buyers who had bought it legally.
“The compensation will have to be paid by the government who released the land to the buyers without compensating the orang asli,” said Yogeswaran who worked on the case on a pro-bono basis with four other lawyers.
The orang asli Seletar or sea people, from both villages filed a suit four years ago against the federal and State governments, Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), developers and individuals owners for encroaching onto their land, which also destroyed their ancestral cemetery.
Kampung Sungai Temon village head Salim Palon said the villagers were satisfied with the outcome but wanted to appeal to regain their land ownership rights.
“Our villages have been around for nine generations and we make a living from fishing with traditional methods.
“We orang laut (sea people) depend greatly on our land for a living,” he said.
Source: The Star Online