Contributed by Christopher Chan
Titles, tenures, and licenses, oh my! If these terms scare or confuse you, read this definitive guide to Malaysia's National Land Code of 1965 by Christopher Chan
The main land law governing land ownership and tenure in Peninsular Malaysia is the National Land Code 1965 (NLC), which came into effect on 1st January 1965. Sabah and Sarawak have their own sets of laws: the Sabah Land Ordinance and Sarawak Land Code respectively.
The land registration in all states in Peninsular Malaysia is the Torrens system, which is administered by the State Land Offices and coordinated by the Department of Land and Mines.
Types of Titles
1. Master Title
Where a property has not been issued with an individual IDT (Issue Document of Title) or strata title, the property is said to be held under a Master title (otherwise known as a ‘Main title’ or ‘Parent Title’).
Under the NLC, there are two documents of title for a parcel of land:
a) The Register Document of Title, which is the main document evidencing title. This is permanently kept at the Land Office / Registry.
b) The Issue Document of Title is a copy of or an extract from the Register Document of Title and is given to the proprietor of the land.
The Master title generally refers to a comparatively bigger piece of land and is registered in the name of the developer initially. Typically the developer may then continue to submit an application for subdivision of the master title into individual titles and strata titles.
2. Individual Title
This is issued under the NLC for landed property such as land, houses, shop-houses, and factories that are commonly not multi-storey.
3. Strata Title
This is issued to individual units on high-rise or multi-storey buildings. Examples are apartments, condominiums, flats, serviced apartments, and townhouses.
This also includes landed strata titles issued to a housing development under the GCS (Gated Community Scheme) comprising landed properties such as terrace houses, semi-detached houses, and bungalows. This came about via the 2007 amendment to the Strata Titles Act 1985.
Our Strata Title Act 1985 is modeled on the Australian New South Wales Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961 and the Singapore Land Titles (Strata) Act 1967.
Tenure of a Property Title
The tenure of a Property title can either be:
b) Leasehold: The land belongs to the state and the NLC under section 76(a) provides for a maximum period of lease not exceeding 99 years. At the expiry of the term, (unless the lease is renewed), the land reverts to the State Government.
Temporary Occupational Licence (TOL)
This is granted by the State Authorities for a certain period of time.
The occupation of the land is temporary and is given a licence to do so.
This is done to avoid socio-economic as well as legal problems that might result from squatting and trespassing on State land.
About the Contributor
Christopher Chan is an associate director and a registered estate agent with Hartamas Real Estate Group. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), a Post Graduate Certified Diploma in Accounting & Finance (CDipAF) (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) (Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland).
He is a Certified Residential Specialist (The National Association of Realtors, USA) and is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA).
He was a lecturer at UCSI University in the year 2008 to 2009.
He was the Director and Membership Benefits Chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) for the term 2017 to 2019.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org/ +6012 2323837.
This article is intended to convey general information only. It does not constitute advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation.
Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent professional advice for your specific needs and situation.