Christmas joy for 11 landowners in Sejijak as land lease renewal approved after two-year struggle

Some of the landowners signing the renewal of land lease document while Chong (left) and the others look on.

KUCHING, Dec 14: Eleven landowners in Lot 340, Sejijak in Batu Kawa received an early Christmas present after Land and Survey Department approved the renewal of their land lease.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said earlier this year, he was approach by the landowners after their application to renew the lease was rejected by the department on the ground that current Land Code still provides that only one residential house is allowed to be built on a particular parcel of agricultural land.

He explained that the land where the 11 owners reside is approximately one acre of agricultural land, privately subdivided into eight to nine sublots. These sublots are co-owned by about 11 individuals who have built houses on their respective portions.


Chong had then brought up the matter in this year’s May Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, highlighting the unfairness and the hardship caused by such a policy.

“Deputy Premier, who is also Second Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, in his winding up then, agreed with me and announced that government will approve the renewal of such land leases provided all the structures thereon are residential houses, and not for other purposes.

“Despite the announcement in DUN, it was not until late November that the Lands and Surveys formally approved the application for the renewal of land lease of Lot 340 and prepared the renewal document for signing by the landowners.

“I thus brought the document to the landowners for their signatures this (yesterday) morning. It is indeed the best Christmas present to these landowners, after about two years of anxiety of possibly losing their land, now finally they received the approval for the renewal of their land lease,” he said in a statement yesterday (Dec 13).

Chong, who is also Padungan assemblyman, criticised the current Land Code, stating that the restriction of one residential house on any parcel of agricultural land is ‘out of sync with reality’.

He said on this ground, when the landowners apply to Lands and Surveys Department for renewal of the land leases upon expiration, it would be rejected based on the breach of the one-house condition.

“Under our current Land Law, when the lease of a particular land expires and application for renewal is not approved, the ownership of the land goes to the government and the landowner will ‘lose’ their land without any compensation.

“I firmly believe that all laws and policies, if their implementation causes unfairness and hardship to the people, the government always has a duty to make amend so as to prevent such hardship,” he added.

The landowners are thankful to the Sarawak government for having acceded to their request. – DayakDaily.