Sarawak govt pays compensation worth RM23 mln to acquire land for ART depot construction in Santubong

(Seated second row, from second left) Abdullah, Nancy, Awang Tengah, Dr Abdul Rahman and Selamat in a group photo with other guests and landowners at Yayasan Sarawak, Jalan Sultan Tengah, Kuching on Feb 16, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Feb 16: The Sarawak government has paid compensation worth RM23,425,726.90 to 70 landowners in exchange of acquiring land totalling 113 acres for the construction of an Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) depot in Sungai Batu, Santubong here.

Speaking at a ceremony to handover the compensation cheques held at Yayasan Sarawak in Jalan Sultan Tengah here today, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan explained that this is proof that the Sarawak government will not simply take the people’s land for free.

“Instead, the land acquisition is based on the existing provisions in Chapter 81 of the Sarawak Land Code and Article 13 of the Federal Constitution.

“In those provisions, among others, they state that no one can be deprived of his property except in accordance with the law. No law shall provide for the forcible taking or use of property without adequate compensation.

“All reclaimed land will be compensated based on an assessment from the Sarawak Land and Survey Department. This compensation will be assessed accordingly based on the crops available, built structures if any, and the size of the land involved according to the current value,” he said.

The construction of the Sungai Batu ART depot will serve as the supporting hub for the ART’s operations and administration under the Kuching Urban Transporation System (KUTS).

It houses essential facilities that aid the operation and maintenance of the ART hydrogen vehicles.

The components of the depot area include a backup control centre, infrastructure workshop, mechanical workshop, test track, stabling yard, H2 fuel refueling facilities, H2 feeder bus depot, and H2 fuel production and storage plant.

The project is developed by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) with Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd as the implementing agency.

Also present at the handover ceremony were Federal Minister of Women, Family and Community Development-cum-Santubong MP Dato Sri Nancy Shukri; Sarawak’s Deputy Minister for Utility and Telecommunication (Utility) and Pantai Damai assemblyman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi; Sarawak Land and Survey Department director Datu Abdullah Julaihi; Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) deputy permanent secretary Selamat Jati Yanjah; and Kuching Department of Land and Survey Superintendent Alfian Bawi. — DayakDaily