Urban Development has no immediate concrete plan to develop the land to be acquired

The so-called “urban development” excuse given by the Land and Survey Depatment for the acquisition of the land near Kampong Gita area just goes to show that the Government either:
1. has no immediate concrete plan to develop the land to be acquired; or
2. after the acquisition, to alienate the land concerned to some third-party for development for private profit, which is why the L & S cannot disclose the exact reason for acquisition of the said land.
For the L & S to give the reason of “urban development” as the ground of the “public purpose” to acquire the approximately 100 acres of land near Kampong Gita area, that is most vague and unfair to the landowners.
Under the present Land Code, the word “public purpose” include any development which in the opinion of the Chief Minister will bring economic or social benefits to the state and that such development can be carried out by any person, corporate or government agencies.
In another word, under the present Land Code, land can be acquired by Government and subsequently given to a third party, a private person or company for development into residential or commercial property for private profits. This is most unfair.
I challenge the L & S to state the exact purpose for which these land are acquired, and not to give such a vague term as “urban development” to justify your land-grab action.
if you have any plan for development for REAL public purpose like building hospitals or schools, then make known such purpose. If this acquisition is so that the Government will later alienate the land to some BN cronies for private profits, then this is an abuse of the power of the Government to acquire land.
In fact, few years back, the Government attempted to acquire about 3000 acres of land in the Jalan Bako, Kuching area, also under the excuse of “urban development”. After huge protest by the landowners together with DAP representatives, it was exposed that the so-called “urban development” was for the BN cronies to build commercial and residential buildings for private profits.
At that time, the number of landowners were large and the issue was exposed and pressed very hard during the 2010 Sibu by-elections and 2011 Sarawak Elections. At the end, the Government, under pressure, cancelled the said acquisition and return the land to the landowners.
Two days ago at my office, the Parliament Research Assistant of MP for Stampin, Kelvin Yii and I met up with a few landowners of the land in Kampong Gita under the said acquisition exercise. Their main dissatisfaction are:
1. the low compensation provided under the Land Code for the acquisition of their land. Although under the Land Code, it is provided that the compensation must be based on “market value”, but under the Land Code, in determining the market value for land acquisition, one must disregard the enhancement of value due to roads or utilities constructed within 7 years from the date of the said acquisition.
In other words, though there are currently roads and bridge to be built in the area, such infrastructures must be disregarded when assessing the market value of the land to be acquired.
This is most unfair.
2. If there is truly some “urban development” by the Government on their land, they, as the landowners, should be allowed to participate and benefit from the said “urban development”. With the acquisition exercise, they are deprived of any benefits from the said “urban development”.
3. Until now, the L & S still cannot tell us or dare not tell us what the “urban development” is all about. Is it similar to the “Bako land” acquisition under the Taib’s administration? If so, it seems that there is no change in the “pro-cronies” policy of BN, be it Taib or Adenan as the Chief Minister.
Although the present acquisition only affects approximately 100 acres of land, if there is no strong opposition to such acquisition exercise, this modus operandi of “land-grabbing” will be repeated and emulated for land in other areas.
The present land acquisition is but a test of resistance. We should not allow it to go through, otherwise, all our land rights will be subject to such land-grabbing in future.
Together with the landowners, Kelvin Yii, and I will attend the inquiry to be held by the L & S on 16th and 17th this month. We will put forth our objection to the said acquisition.
Chong Chieng Jen
MP for Bandar Kuching / ADUN for Kota Sentosa
DAP Sarawak Chairman