Friday, October 3, 2008

Land Renewal Premium -- Cut-Throat Rate

I read in the papers quoting the Sarawak Chief Minister as saying that the land renewal premium is cheap, only RM200.00. Is the CM trully ignorant of the new land policy or is he pretending to be ignorant?

Under the new land policy, for agricultural land situated in area classified as "country land", renewal premium is RM200.00 per acre.

However, for agricultural land situated in area classified as "suburban land", renewal premium is 25% of the market price of the land or if the land is fully cultivated, 5,000.00 per acre

For agricultural land situated in area classified as "town land", renewal premium is 25% of the market price of the land or if the land is fully cultivated, 10,000.00 per acre.

As the Minister of Resource Planning whose port folio includes land in Sarawak, the CM could not have no knowledge of these rates. Why did he mention only the RM200.00 renewal rate?

Land belongs to the people. The government is merely the manager engaged by the people to manage the State's resources. Therefore, government should only charge a nominal premium for renewal, to cover the administrative charges.

The present premium for land renewal charged by the government is exorbitant and an exploitation of the people's right.

The CM said to the papers that having paid the 25% market price premium, the land owner will make huge profit if they develop the land. This is the view point of the very rich or successful developers. Such statement clearly shows that the CM is out of touch with the people. Not all the land owners want to develop their land. Is such view also shared by the SUPP leaders who surround the CM? Are these SUPP leaders giving the CM the wrong message from the people? or is it that these SUPP leaders do not dare to voice out the feelings and sentiments of the people?

To develop a parcel of land, one needs to have huge capital outlay. The owner is also subject to the risk of investment. Most people buy land as a form of saving and investment into the future. It is unfair to impose such high premium on landowners for the renewal of their land.

The government should adopt the policy suggested by DAP, ie unconditional free and automatic land renewal policy.

Budget Alocation for Chinese Schools; Penang Government Can, Why Sarawak Government Cannot?

This is my letter to the First and Second Finance Minister seeking for allocation of fund for Chinese School.


Date: 3rd October, 2008


1. YAB Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud
Minister of Finance
c/o. State Financial Secretary’s Office
17th & 18th Floor,
Wisma Bapa Malaysia,
Petra Jaya, 93502 Kuching By Fax & Hand
082-442355

2. YB Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh
Second Minister of Finance
c/o. State Financial Secretary’s Office
17th & 18th Floor,
Wisma Bapa Malaysia,
Petra Jaya, 93502 Kuching By Fax & Hand
082-442355

Dear Sir,


Re: Allocation of fund for Chinese Primary Schools &
Chinese Independent Secondary Schools
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I write to appeal to your Ministry to include in the Sarawak State Budget 2009 which will be tabled in the coming Dewan Undangan Negeri sitting, an allocation of development fund for Chinese Primary Schools and grant for Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.

For years, the Chinese community has been calling on the government to make annual allocation of fund for Chinese schools in its annual budgets. In the past, it has been the Sarawak State Government’s stands that education is a federal matter and that National type Chinese Primary Schools are not entitled to development fund and Chinese Independent Secondary Schools are not entitled to grants from the Government.

However, such misconceived perception has now been dispelled by the Penang State Government who has pledged a RM1,000,000.00 grant for Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and the grant will be included in the Penang State Budget 2009.

The Penang State Government has proven that there is nothing wrong (legally, politically or socially) for State government to allocate fund for Chinese schools, be it Chinese primary schools or Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.

It is to be noted that the Penang State Government’s annual budget is only approximately RM300 million and its revenue is only in the range of RM200 – 300 million per annum. In comparison, Sarawak State Government’s annual revenue is approximately RM3,000 million, ten times that of Penang State Government.

As such, if the Penang State Government can allocate RM1 million for Chinese Schools, it is not too much to ask of our Sarawak State Government to allocate RM10 million for Chinese schools. Moreover, a large part of our Sarawak State Government’s revenue is derived from timber, oil and gas which are natural resources and the State Government does not really need to work hard to earn these incomes.

I have read in the newspaper quoting the Secretary-General of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Senator Sim Kheng Hui, as commending the Penang State Government’s decision to allocate fund for Chinese schools. Senator Sim also said that SUPP is still trying to get the Sarawak State Government to allocate, in its annual Budget, fund for Chinese schools.

It is regrettable that after more than 30 years in Barisan Nasional government, SUPP is still at the stage of “trying” to get the State government to allocate fund for Chinese schools. Is it not true that it is often said “In BN, everyone is an equal partner”? If that is so, why is the view of SUPP leaders not respected by the Sarawak State Government hitherto?

I wish also to high-light the fact that allocation of Government fund for Chinese schools will not only benefit the Chinese communities but will also benefit all the other races. This is because, according to the statistics of the Education Department, there are about 16,000 non-Chinese students currently studying in Chinese primary schools throughout Sarawak.

It is undeniable that Chinese education has contributed greatly to our nation building. Therefore, it is high time that the Sarawak State Government starts to give recognition to the contribution of Chinese education in Sarawak by providing annual allocation of fund for Chinese schools in the Sarawak State Government’s annual Budget.

The allocation of fund for Chinese schools in Penang has been very well-received by the people. I can assure your goodselves that it will be equally, if not more, welcomed by the people of Sarawak.

I urge your goodselves to hear and answer to the wishes of the People of Sarawak.

Thank you.


Yours truly,


[signed]

Chong Chieng Jen


cc. Chinese Associations in Kuching