DAP: Revoke action on land acquisition till Master Plan approved

Chong Chieng Jen

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KUCHING, Nov 4: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak today urged the state government to revoke any actions on land acquisition until Master Development Plans have been approved and allocation for compensation is made.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference today, its chairman Chong Chieng Jen brought up the case of a landowner who was shocked to learn that his land was acquired by the state government without his knowledge, only to know about it when he wanted to sell it off.

After several attempts to seek compensation, the landowner Datuk Seri Othman Bojeng approached Chong to pursue the matter further.

“On April 17, 2019, the state government had acquired the said land Lot 126, Block 12, Muara Tebas Land District under Section 48 of Sarawak Land Code for public purposes. Othman, who owned half share of the land was not informed and nor was there any inquiry held. Hence he was not aware that the land was acquired by the state government.

“It was only sometime in March this year, that he found out when he wanted to sell the land after his prospective buyer made a land search,” Chong said, adding that under the proper procedure of the Sarawak Land Code, an inquiry should be held and notification is given.

Othman then seeks assistance from his lawyer to write to the Land and Survey Department Sarawak to enquire about compensation on May 15.

“On May 27, a reply from Land and Survey Department Sarawak stated that the funds for the purpose of land acquisition are yet to be allocated to them by Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), therefore compensation cannot be paid.

“Two months later, July 23, Othman sought another lawyer’s assistance to write to LCDA, enquiring on the funds. A reply by LCDA dated Sept 4 stated that the Master Plan for development is yet to be approved, this includes among others the land acquisition process,” Chong disclosed.

He said it was a surprise and shocking to note that while the Master Plan has not been approved, yet the land has been acquired and no money was allocated for payment of compensation.

Chong added that Othman also wrote to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Oct 8, but until today there was no response.

Calling it as another case of land grab, Chong alleged that in the past, the Sarawak government has been practicing unfair land acquisition against landowners.

“Although in the last few years, such instances have reduced but not it seems that the old practice is resurrecting and making a comeback.

“Therefore, we demand the state government to revoke the acquisition until the Master Development Plan is approved and allocation for compensation is made. If such practices were to continue, then no one will have the security of ownership of their land even though they are the registered proprietor of the land,” Chong said while urging the state government to be fair to landowners.

He pointed out that such practice is most unfair, improper and DAP will pursue the matter.-DayakDaily