Data source
Date of text
23 Feb 2012
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
[2012] MYSSHC 30
Court name
High Court in Sabah and Sarawak
Datuk Clement Skinner
agroforestry, deforestation, forest conservation, Forest ecosystems, forest management, indigenous peoples, property right

In this case, the plaintiffs, a group of indigenous people, complained that the defendant had cleared for oil palm cultivation without their authorization. The defendant objected by saying that the plaintiff had no right over the land as it was not registered as indigenous land.

Consequently, the plaintiffs requested the court issue an order preventing the defendants to trespass over their land and to compensate them for the loss of the trees that were cut in the clearance operation.

After studying the question of the plaintiffs’ ownership right over the land, the court concluded that even though the land was not registered, traditions legitimized the plaintiffs’ claim over the land and granted them a native customary right over the lands. Consequently, their rights over the land have been registered within the map of the competent authority, and ordered the defendant to withdraw all his agricultural material within 30 days and to compensate the plaintiffs for the damages caused on his land.