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KUCHING, July 11: A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) backbencher has expressed his disappointment with Baru Bian (PKR-Ba’Kelalan) for speaking out against the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 yesterday even though the Bill was not tabled yet.
Datuk Sebastian Ting (GPS-Piasau) noted that Baru spoke to the press without even knowing the details of the Bill.
“I was very surprised that yesterday the Honourable Member for Ba’Kelalan together with Honourable Member of Kota Sentosa (Chong Chieng Jen) and their Pakatan Harapan (PH) colleagues held a press conference regarding this Bill, which was not (at the time) even tabled in this august House for consideration and debate.
“They would, therefore, not know the background, explanation and intention of our government on this Bill. Because of the above, they would have given incomplete information in their press conference and, thus, might have misrepresented to the public at large, especially to the native communities,” said Ting when debating the Bill today.
Ting also criticised Baru for claiming he had won several cases where the ‘Pemakai Menoa’ and ‘Pulau Galau’ (PMPG) extended beyond 10,000 hectares.
“I do not know these cases, and I sincerely hope the Honourable member for Ba’Kelalan will enlighten us and provide this august House with the names of those cases before this State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting adjourns sine die,” he said.
On another matter, Ting urged the state government to consider allowing conversion of leasehold land to freehold land.
He said this would give land owners — especially those in the urban and suburban areas, including the private landowners of agricultural land — with the most complete form of ownership of that land, which is held in perpetuity.
“I am sure that most of the Honourable Members here know that the majority of town land, suburban, and private landowners of agricultural land in Sarawak is leasehold, whereby the land belongs to the state government and is leased to the public for a fixed amount of years, like 60 years or 99 years or 999 years.
“Upon expiry of the lease, the ownership of the land reverts to the state authority, unless the landowners wished to renew the tenure of lease for a premium,” he said.
Ting reasoned that if the proposed conversion was approved, land owners would no longer have to worry about the lease running out and would have no more financial burden as they do not need to pay premium to renew the tenure of lease.
“I believe this is a fair request for the benefit of all Sarawakians that the government should seriously consider,” said Ting. — DayakDaily