Appeal Court rules Selangor state bodies’ forced private land acquisition illegal

In landmark decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that the forced acquisition of 26 acres of private land by the Selangor state government and the five state bodies, including the Selangor Islamic Religious Department was unlawful and clearly constituted mala fide (bad faith), The Star Online reported on Friday.

The court stated that there must be strict adherence to the procedural requirements and steps in law that public bodies must fulfil before forcibly acquiring private land.

The decision stemmed from the case lodged by landowner and developer United Allied Empire Sdn Bhd (UAE) accusing Jais and the other state bodies of abuse of power for the unlawful acquisition of the land in Bestari Jaya in 2013.

In allowing UAE’s appeal, the panel led by Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim described the response by Jais and the other defendants as “a curious mix of bare denials, contradiction of themselves,” said Justice Abang Iskandar, adding that the evasive conduct clearly constituted bad faith.

The case clearly was one of the procedural impropriety, said the court in the 36-page judgment.

The appealiate court also granted all 24 reliefs that UAE had sought, including a court order complelling the Selangor bodies to declare their actual intentioin for acquiring the massive plot of land.

The High Court in December rejected UAE’s application for a judicial review to quash the acquisition decision.