KUCHING: The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the government’s appeal to reverse a High Court’s decision which ruled that 15 respondents are the rightful owners of a land in Ulu Sebangan, Simunjan.
The three-judge panel comprising Datuk Mohamd Ariff Md Yusof, Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer affirmed the High Court’s decision that the respondents had the legal status of the customary right and dismissed the appeal with cost of RM10,000.
Cross appeal made by the respondent was also dismissed with cost of RM5,000.
The villagers had, on May 21, 2012, won the suit against the plaintiffs for encroaching into their NCR land of 3,305 hectares.
They filed the suit on Nov 1, 2010 seeking the declaration of ownership over their land besides seeking compensation for loss and damages as a result of alleged illegal logging activities and the construction of logging roads.
The villagers claimed that their land was damaged as a result of the construction of roads and extraction of timber from the land, which was not a licensed area.
They said their rivers were also polluted which badly affected their farms, and hunting and fishing grounds.
Baru Bian represented the respondents while State Legal Counsel Joseph Chioh represented the plaintiffs.