Signature drive to appeal to National Land Council

Himanshu Bhatt and Humayun Kabir, The Sun

A PKR state assemblyman has launched a signature campaign to appeal to the National Land Council (NLC) to allow Penang people who live in low-cost flats to convert their land to freehold.

Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin said today about 120 volunteers were helping him in the campaign in Bayan Baru, where his constituency is located.

The campaign was launched yesterday.

Sim said Bayan Baru has the largest concentration of low- and low-middle cost units in the state, with 54 such housing blocks.

He said he was asked by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to come up with the signature initiative.

Sim said the campaign was important to relay the reaction of the grassroots to the statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak last week that the state governments cannot convert leasehold properties to freehold without getting approval from the NLC.

The announcement will hamper the efforts by the state government to have leasehold residential housing converted to freehold, as well as waiving premiums for conversions involving low and low-medium cost units.

Sim said the petitions with the signatures will be sent to Chief Minister's office for further action in about a week.

The petition has also been set up online at

In IPOH, senior state executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told theSun the National Land Council (NLC) appears to have no legislative powers over state land matters according to Article 91(5) of the Federal Constitution.

He said reading Section 76 of the National Land Code together with Article 91 of the Federal Constitution, it is clear that the Perak government is empowered  to implement the planned conversion of leasehold titles to freehold.

The state government has been reported to have allowed the conversion, from leasehold to freehold, for about 65,000 lot owners in planned villages and 55,000 lot owners in new villages.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was reported in the media on Dec 24 as saying that there a policy that the states cannot make unilateral decisions on issuing freehold land titles without getting the approval of the NLC.

In a faxed statement, Ngeh said: "The action of the Perak state government does not contravene any statutory provision and there is no statutory provision in the Federal Constitution or the National Land Code which prohibits the conversion exercise by the Perak state government.

“The body that is duly vested with powers to decide whether a leasehold or freehold title should be issued is a state authority and not the NLC. “So, there is no need for the Perak state government to wait for any decision by the NLC."