Thanbyuzayat original landowners fight for justice
November 5, 2014
The judgment handed down by the Thanbyuzayat Farmland Management Body ruling in favor of the new landowners over the original landowners is not just, and the original owners, with the support of the Mon State Member of Parliament, plan to report the case to the upper authorities, according to a local source.
In the first week of October, 2014, the Thanbyuzayat Farmland Management Body (FMB) called upon both the original land owners and the new land owners to begin the investigation of their land dispute. The FMB found that the original landowners failed to provide strong evidence of their claim to the land, while the new owners provided good testimony; the FMB released its official judgment of the case on October 10, 2014, resulting in a favorable ruling for the new landowners.
“The decision of the Thanbyuzayat Farmland Management Body has no justice, so we have to report the case to the upper authority,” said the original landowner Nai Shoke, of Wae Rat Village, Thanbyuzayat Township.
Similarly, Mon State MP Nai Tala Chan (Nai Aung Nine Oo) finds the Thanbyuzayat FMB ruling to be completely unfair, and in support of Nai Shoke, the MP stated, “I have already reported the case to the district-level [authority], and I have already prepared to present the case in the next [Mon State] parliament meeting.”
The disputed land was confiscated by the military during the military regime, which then sold the land to multiple new landowners. The original landowners reported the case to the Thanbyuzayat FMB in the second week of October, and the government body’s decision ruled in favor of the twenty-four new land owners.
“There are two [methods] of judgment [regarding] land dispute. The first one is the government deciding [upon a case] according to their own laws. The other one is that decision is made according to local tradition [customary law]. Now, the FMB decided the case according to the [new] farmland law, so the original owner had to be sacrificed. Even [though] the original owners lost the lawsuit this time, they should be in unison to bring the case to a fair trial again,” said a Coordinator of the Farmland Education Project.
Notably, President U Thein Sein has instructed that Members of Parliament present at the investigation of the land dispute, but the FMB failed to call upon the MP to monitor the farmland investigation process, said an MP.
“Including this time, the FMB called the landowners four times already, [but] the body never informed us [Members of Parliament]. I contacted them [the FMB] after I heard the news of the investigation, but they didn’t call me. They judged the case as they like. We can’t accept this condition; the landowners can’t accept the decision,” said the MP.
The October 10th judgment released by the Thanbyuzayat FMB included the statement that those who wish to do so can appeal to their respective District FMB within thirty days from the date of the Township FMB’s decision.