Shah Alam High Court  / 3 February 1999


Seven Orang Asli have sued the concessionaire of elite Highway and the State and
Federal Governments, for the loss of their land and dwellings when the land was
acquired three years ago.

The Orang Asli from Bukit Tampoi, Sepang named the Selangor Government, United
Engineers (M) Sdn. Bhd, Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia and the Federal Government
as defendants.

The High Court fixed February 18 to hear the evidence of one of the seven
plaintiffs, Sagong Tasi, to establish the question of the Orang Asli's customary
rights to the land.

Judge Datuk Faiza Tamby Chik also fixed June 22 and 23 for the actual hearing of
the case.

The seven - Sagong Tasi, Tunchit Penjak, Dabak Chabat, Kepal Kepong, Sani
Saken, Senin Angan and Tukas Siam - are asking for a declaration that they
are the owners of the land by custom, the holders of native titles to the land, and
the holders of usufructuary rights on the land.

They are also claiming compensation for breach of their legal rights under the law
and the Federal Constitution, with interests and costs, special damages and other
relief as deemed just by the court.

They are also claiming damages of between RM500 and RM1,400 a month for the
loss of income from crops and fruit trees from April 1996 until the date of decision,
future loss of income from the crops and fruit trees from the date of decision until
new crops reach maturity, the loss of dwelling and resettlement costs.

The seven Orang Asli were issued notices by the administrator of the Sepang Land
Office in February 1996 to vacate their and for land for the construction of the

Their dwellings and crops were subsequently destroyed on March 20, 1996.

They are represented by Datuk Dr. Cyrus Das, K. Chandra (Ms.) and Koo Patrick,
while the Selangor State Government was represented by Federal Counsel Nik
Suhaimi Sulaiman and the Federal Government by Federal Counsel Hasbullah

In their statement of claim, the Orang Asli said that their customary and propriety
rights over the land which they and their forefathers have occupied and cultivated
for along time were not extinguished by any law.

Thus, any provision of law purporting to to impair or restrict or not recognising their
rights was void and of no effect.

Press Release courtesy of Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)