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  • Dr Navin C Naidu

Land Law and Legislative Legerdemain

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Throughout the history of English land law the operative concept has been possession, not ownership.
— K. Gray & S. Gray, British law professors

There is no law of “ownership” of land in England and Wales, only a law of “possession”. Two totally different imported concepts that have aided the coloniser to transform possession into occupation and ultimately ownership using legislative doublespeak that espouses double standards.

Malaysia today is morbidly stuck in the rut of awkward technicalities (read: bad law) with recourse only to the common law that never fails to fudge our statutes. Quote a statute and rest assured some hundred-year-old badly or oddly decided cases would trump it.


The imported concept of land titles is a recurring menace. Christian Scriptures forbid the taking of land for purposes of ownership (Leviticus 25:23).


The Holy Quran at 20:6 and 67:15, and the Hadith, make it abundantly clear as to actual and real ownership of land that forbid taking over the property of others through unlawful means by the individual or by the government.


A paper land title with official stamps using antiquated legal fictions blur the lines caused by feudal era English concepts. We need unambiguous Malaysian land laws based on adat. De jure must be set aside by de facto imperatives that the Borneo States proved and entrenched in their land laws.

Global aboriginal peoples consider land sacred. The logic is simple — the land does not die and get buried into humans, but humans die and are buried into the land. Dust unto dust and unto dust to be … You don’t own the land for the land will inevitably own you some day.


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