Sunday, 13 May 2012

Orang Asli armed with legal means to save chapel

 

The Malacca High Court yesterday granted leave for Heerby Siam to initiate judicial review proceedings against the Alor Gajah Municipal Council's decision to demolish a chapel built on Orang Asli customary land at Kampung Machap Umboo.

Judicial Commissioner Ahmad Nafsy Yasin allowed Heerby from the Temuan Orang Asli tribe leave to seek the relief.

"The court found there were substantive issues of fact and law to be determined for a substantive hearing to be held to hear the application," ruled Ahmad Nafsy.

The chapel is a place of worship for Orang Asli Christian residents of Kampung Machap Umboo.

Last year Heerby was served with the demolition notice dated Sept 20, by the council's building department, declaring that the structure had violated Section 70 of the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act 1974.

She filed a judicial review application seeking permission to initiate proceedings as the land where the chapel sits was approved by the state authority as an aboriginal reserve under the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954 in 1960 but still to be gazetted over 40 years later.

Shake of the legal fist
According today's court ruling Heerby can initiate a judicial review to seek the following relief:
  •  A certiorari order to quash the notice of demolition,
  • A writ of mandamus to compel the Malacca state government or its agencies to take all the necessary steps to gazette the land known as Kampung Orang Asli Machap Umboo as aboriginal reserve land,
  • A declaration that the failure to take all necessary steps to cause the gazetting of the said kampung is deemed a breach of the constitutional, statutory and/ or fiduciary duties of the Malacca state government or its functionaries and such actions are contrary to the legifunctionaries and/or an act contrary to Heerby's legitimate expectation,
  •  A declaration that it is the constitutional, statutory and/or fiduciary duty of the Malacca state government to take all necessary steps to protect Kampung Orang Asli Machap Umboo from being encroached and/or trespassed upon by non-Orang Asli people and,
  • A declaration that the Heerby is a native customary title holder and/or native customary communal/community title holder in respect of Kampung Orang Asli Machap Umboo.
Heerby is represented by lawyers Steven Thiru, Victoria Ng, Yiow Kheng, Yoges Subramaniam and Aaron Mathews. Senior federal counsel M Kogilambigai from the Attorney General Chambers represented the respondents.

The substantive hearing for the judicial review application is to be heard on a yet to be decided date.

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