PM Anwar: Return unused land originally meant for schools at its original price

File photo for illustration purposes. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

By Nancy Nais and Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Jan 20: Unused land allocated for the building of schools in Sarawak should be returned to the State government at its original price.

Speaking on the land disposal issue at a press conference after chairing the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Implementation Action Council meeting today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim opined that it was only reasonable to do so.

He also agreed with Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg that this should not apply to only Sarawak, but all the states in Malaysia.

“Since 1970s (after the formation of Malaysia), our Federal government took or bought state land at very low prices because the building of schools is for public interest. However, over the years, we have seen lands where projects were suppose to be implemented but it did not. Perhaps the land was not suitable or there was no budget to build even though it is part of Malaysia Plan.

“This problem is not just specific in Sabah and Sarawak, but also applies to Peninsular Malaysia,” Anwar said.

He added that it was Abang Johari who insisted that if the proposal is approved, it should be extended to all the states in Malaysia.

“I think this is reasonable, as compared to us asking for a price based on the latest land assessment,” he said.

Citing an example, Anwar said a project was proposed in 1980, approved in 1981, but until 2022 there was no implementation.

Therefore, for these cases, he said the Federal government will give a period of three months to conduct an assessment of such projects.

If it is confirmed that no school will be built on such land and no allocation is available, Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister asserts that the land should be given back to Sarawak at the original price.

“Our Finance Ministry will set the original cost because it is not reasonable for us to ask based on the current land assessment.

“In terms of technical implementation, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof will chair the meeting and then he will report to me, Abang Johari and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor. — DayakDaily