State govt urged to return land to ‘pitiful’ landowner

Ali Biju

KUCHING, June 5: A landowner in Saratok is appealing to the Sarawak government to return his two-acre mixed-zone land to him since the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) apparently has no more use for it.

Qui Sui Lam’s land, which has mature durian trees, was acquired by the state government a few years ago for use by RISDA.

Newly-elected Saratok MP Ali Biju, who is helping Qui to claim back his property, told a press conference today that the Court of Appeal ruled sometime last year that Qui should be compensated RM200,000, but the state Attorney-General’s office had sought leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

However, Ali claimed that RISDA officials had informed Qui that they had acquired an alternative property in Betong to serve as a rubber nursery and that they do not need Qui’s land anymore.

“Since the state government is so keen to dispute the quantum of compensation, the best resolution for them is to return the land to the landowner. This way, they would not need to pay any compensation,” said Ali, who is also Krian assemblyman.

“In addition, if RISDA does not need the land anymore, then the question is why subject the pitiful landowner to spend money on appearing before the Federal Court?”

He said there were plenty of state lands and thus hoped the state government would return the land to Qui as the land had sentimental value to him.

Ali is a 50-year-old civil engineer who runs an engineering firm in the oil and gas industry. He was first elected as Krian state assemblyman in 2011 and was re-elected in the 2016 state polls.

He first contested in the Saratok parliamentary seat in the 13th general election but lost to Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom. In the just-concluded general election (GE14), Ali defeated BN’s Subeng Mula with a 989-vote majority.

On his potential appointment as a federal cabinet minister, Ali admitted he had been endorsed by the state PKR leadership as one of the possible candidates.

Being an assemblyman and an MP, Ali said things were running smoothly as Krian was one of the constituencies under Saratok and that 90 per cent of the constituency was reachable by road. — DayakDaily