Court also ruled that judicial commissioner had erred in facts and law
PUTRAJAYA — January 17, 2017: The Court of Appeal has declared the acquisition of 26 acres of land from a developer by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to build a mosque in Batang Berjuntai to be unlawful.
A three-man panel led by Justice Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim today allowed the appeal by United Allied Empire Sdn. Bhd. (UAE) to overturn a high court dismissal of its judicial review application.
He held that judicial commissioner Datuk Azimah Omar had erred in facts and in law when she dismissed the company’s application.
According to Abang Iskandar, the judicial commissioner did not appreciate the evidence laid before her, leading to a plainly wrong decision.
The judge described the matter as a fit and proper case for the appellate court’s intervention and granted the 24 reliefs sought by UAE as well as assessment of damages.
The panel which also comprised Datuk Zamani A. Rahim and Datuk Zaleha Yusof also awarded UAE RM100,000 in costs for the proceedings at both courts.
The respondents – the Selangor director of lands and mines, Kuala Selangor land administrator, Jais and the Selangor government — were ordered to pay RM50,000 while the Selangor Islamic Religious Council and Selangor Zakat Board have to pay RM50,000.
In its application, UAE alleged that the acquisition was mala fide (in bad faith) to create a land bank for the religious authorities in Selangor and wanted the compulsory acquisition of its land to be revoked.
UAE submitted the approval to develop its 26-acre land and provided one acre for a mosque in 2013 in Batang Berjuntai, now known as Bestari Jaya.
Instead, the Selangor government compulsorily acquired the entire 26 acres purportedly to build the mosque.
Last November 25, Selangor’s assistant legal adviser Naziah Mokhtar submitted to the appellate court that the mosque’s component was a mosque, religious school and burial site, so to merely interpret the site as only a mosque was incorrect.
UAE’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan told reporters that today’s judgment has made changes to the law relating to land acquisition, adding that the decision clarified the legal position of the land owner’s rights. — Bernama