KUALA TERENGGANU, Mon. – Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh has defended the action taken by the Besut Land Office in tearing down structures in the Sky Kingdom commune, located in Kampung Batu 13, Hulu Besut, yesterday.
“Under Section 129 of the National Land Code, the local authority can forfeit the land if the owner builds unrelated structures on a land meant for agriculture purposes,” he said after giving away public transport licenses to recipients today.
“It gives us the right to demolish these structures and take temporary ownership of the land.”
The two hectare land on which the Sky Kingdom commune is located is owned by deviationist cult leader Ariffin Mohamad’s first wife, Che Minah Ramli, 58.
He said the district land office had issued a showcause notice dated July 18 to Che Minah to explain why her plot should not be taken back by the Government.
“Che Minah was given until July 31 to explain but she failed to meet us,” he said.
On rumours that Ariffin had obtained an injunction to stop any attempt to demolish any structure at his commune, Idris said the district land office never received any injunction order from the High Court.
He added that the wooden houses in the commune were not demolished as these structures were allowed on agriculture land.
Ariffin, 65, better known as Ayah Pin, had built structures such as a giant teapot, concrete boat, umbrella and a hall, and had made Kampung Batu 13 a base for his teachings for the past 30 years.
His teachings were declared deviant by religious authorities in the 1980s. He is currently in hiding.
Checks at the commune showed that local authorities were clearing up the area and disposing the debris from yesterday’s demolition.
Meanwhile, in George Town, the State Islamic Religious Council (Maipp) is closely monitoring developments of the cult to ensure they do not re-establish their base here.
This is because Bagan Lebai Tahir in Butterworth was once home to the deviationist sect leader and his followers in the late 1970s and mid-1980s.