Man shocked to find his land acquired by State govt under Section 48 of Sarawak Land Code

Chong (right) and Then speaking to reporters at a press conference.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Jan 26: Two months ago, Then Sam Yun wanted to sell his piece of land located on Lot 842 Muara Tebas Land District.

He was shocked to find out the five-acre piece of land (1.9 hectare) which he shared with two other individuals had been acquired by the State government without his knowledge.

Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who was alerted to this issue said Then tried to seek clarification from the Land and Survey Department Sarawak but failed to get any concrete answers. The latter then sought assistance from DAP to help highlight the issue to the relevant authority.

“Upon checking, it was said that sometime on April 17, 2019, the State government had acquired the said land Lot 842, Muara Tebas Land District under Section 48 of the Sarawak Land Code.

“Then, who owns one third share of the land, was not informed and nor was there any inquiry held. No notice was served to him nor to any of the co-proprietors. Yet, the landowners were not paid the compensation rightfully due to them under the law,” Chong told a press conference here today.

Under Section 48, landowners will be denied the right to use, develop or sell the land.

Chong asserts that the non-action for more than 30 months after acquiring the land under Section 48 contravenes the provision of the Land Code in relation to the compulsory acquisition process.

This, he said, also defies the protection provided under the Federal Constitution in respect of the rights of a property owner.

Chong also claimed that some 400 acres of land surrounding Then’s property were affected by the Section 48 declaration, and affecting about 65 different owners who may also not be aware of their land’s changed status.

“On behalf of Then, I have written to Land and Survey to request for them to promptly proceed with the acquisition and compensation or to revoke the said Section 48 declaration,” he added.

Calling the situation a land grab, Chong alleged that in the past, the Sarawak government has been practising unfair land acquisition against landowners.

“Although in the last few years, such instances have been reduced but it seems that the old practice is resurrecting and making a comeback. If such practices are 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, urging the State government to be fair. — DayakDaily