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Court gives nod for land owners to challenge MRT land acquisition

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has granted the application of judicial review for the land acquisition for nine plots of land in Jalan Bukit Bintang area for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

Applicants TS Law Corporation Sdn Bhd, LTS Properties (M) Sdn Bhd, LTS Resources Holdings (M) Sdn Bhd, LTS Capital Sdn Bhd and Pedoman Cekap Sdn Bhd had collectively asked the court to declare amongst others the acquisition proceedings of the land for the MRT Project as unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal and null and void.

Lawyer Su Tiang Joo, who represented the applicants, said on Thursday, Sept 15 that leave had been granted for judicial review.

"We have also got the stay of the acquisition proceeding until the disposal of the substantive application for judicial review. Right now as it stands, we will have to file the application for substantive review within 14 days," said Su when met outside court after the hearing in chamber.

"But of course, during the interim, it was fair as the applicants are concerned. They are more than happy to sit down with the authorities to see as to how the matter can be resolved.

"I don't think it is the land owners' intention is to try to disrupt the proceeding for the benefit of the public. But they have to weigh it against their interests."

However, he added that because the application to acquire land has been issued, the judicial review proceeding will commence.

Asked if the applicants will seek to settle out of court, Su said it is not something that they would discount.

"They are not saying that we will take the judicial review proceedings and challenge it all the way. The applicants are prepared to sit down with the acquiring authority and the government of Malaysia to see how best to resolve the matter," he added.

Su said the leave was granted because the judge found the application not to be frivolous. He added that the judge found that it is premature at this juncture to decide whether the acquisition of is bad faith on the part of the acquiring bodies.

"But based on the materials before him now, he is saying it is not frivolous and it is an application that should be heard on its merits," said Su.

Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim gave the judgement in chamber.

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