Compulsory Land Acquisition Part 1 – Concept and Process

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The Federal Constitution guarantees one’s right to ownership of property where private property cannot be compulsory acquired unless there is such law that allows the acquisition, accompanied with adequate compensation being paid to the deprived owner. By this, we should take note that our constitutional rights of ownership are not absolute.

With the implementation of Land Acquisition Act 1960, it is important for landowners to understand their rights so that they are protected and adequately compensated in a compulsory land acquisition.   


Land acquisition is the compulsory taking of the entire alienated land by the State Authority authorized under the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1960. As provided in the Constitution, State land is vested under the authority of State Authority; any private land can be acquired only for:

  1. public purpose;
  2. any purpose which is beneficial to the economic development; and
  3. purpose of mining, residential, agriculture, commercial, industrial, recreation or any combination of such purposes.

To secure the rights of landowners, the State Authority and Land Administrator must comply with the process and requirements of land acquisition stated under LAA and make sure that landowners are adequately compensated in return.


The procedures of compulsory land acquisition can be divided into 3 stages: pre-acquisition stage, acquisition stage and post-acquisition stage.

In the pre-acquisition stage, private persons can make an application in writing to the State Authority in acquiring a private land. The acquisition of private land is only applicable for the 3 purposes as mentioned above. As shown below in Table 1 is the process and main focus of pre-acquisition stage.

1Form ANotification on the acquisition of land is published in the Government Gazette
2N/APublic notice by Land Administrator on the notification published
3Form BNotice by State Director to authorize any persons to enter and survey the land
4Form CPreparation and submission of plan and list of lands to be acquired
5Form DDeclaration of Intended Acquisition on the scheduled land
6N/AMark out areas affected by the acquisition and make a note
Table 1: Pre-acquisition Stage

During the acquisition stage, the Land Administrator is obliged to submit the applicable forms in acquiring the scheduled land as shown below in Table 2.

5Form ENotice of enquiry to person interested
6Form FNotice to person interested to provide evidence in writing of the information
7N/AFull enquiry of value of land and compensation before the Land Administrator
8Form GWritten Award of Compensation prepared by Land Administrator
9Form HService of Written Award of Compensation to person interested
10Form INotice to take possession in urgent cases before payment of compensation award by issuing “Certificate of Urgency”
11Form JNotice to vacate the building of the acquired land
12Form KNotice of formal possession on the acquired land
13Form LNotice of demand to deliver documents of titles to Land Administrator
Table 2: Acquisition Stage

Lastly, post-acquisition stage is the final stage where landowners are able to make objection on the award of compensation by the Land Administrator.  Table 3 as shown below has stipulated the process of application.

14N/APerson interested have 6 weeks from the date of Land Administrator’s Award to consider whether to object the compensation awarded
15Form MLand Administrator make a reference to the Court for determination
16Form NApplication of objection on compensation award by person interested to Land Administrator and refer it to Court
17Form OLand Administrator refer the objection received to the High Court
Table 3: Post-acquisition Stage