Urged Adenan Stop Land for the Cronies policy

Adenan should not carry on with the “Land for the Cronies” policy which is the trademark of his predecessor.

There were in total 3 rounds of acquisition of the land in the Kampong Gita area:
1. 16-5-2014 for construction of access road;
2. 3-12-2014 for urban development; and
3. 18-6-2016 for urban development.
The first round of land acquisition (16-5-2014) was for the construction of access road. No one objected to the acquisition, because it is for a genuine “public purpose”.
The second round of land acquisition (3-12-2014) involves the acquisition of a total 132.8 acres of private land. Although the declaration for the acquisition of the 132.8 acres of land was made as early as in December, 2014, the Government only issue notice of the said acquisition as late as in mid-July, 2016, almost 2 years later. This is HIGHLY UNUSUAL.
Is the Government worried that had such notices been issued in 2015, it will affect the performance of the Sarawak BN in the Sarawak State elections? As a result of this consideration, the notices of the acquisition were only sent out after the State Elections.
The third round of land acquisition (18-6-2016) involves the acquisition of 15.440 acres of private land. It is as if the 132.8 acres of land is not enough for the “BN crony”, that it needs another 15.44 acres, making it a total of 148.24 acres of private land to be acquired.
Notices for the acquisition for both the second and third rounds of the acquisition were issued at the same time, i.e. mid-July, 2016.
During the enquiry, when the Land and Survey officers were asked what is the “urban Development” that requires 148.24 acres of private land to be acquired, they have no answer to it. When we asked for the so-called “urban development” plan, they told us “NO PLAN YET”. They officers mentioned that there will be some water-front projects, shophouses and residential property.
It is not the government’s job to develop shophouses and commercial centres, especially to take private land for “crony” to develop shouhouses. This is called “land-grabbing”.
Sarawak, in general, had suffered under the “land-grabbing” policy of the previous administration for more than 20 years.
When Adenan became the new Chief Minister on 1st March, 2014, most Sarawakians had high hopes of him when he mentioned that he “will not allow his family members to apply for State Land”. A week later, we had the notorious scandal of “276 acres MJC State Land sold to a BN crony company at less than 25% of the prevailing market price”. The case is still unresolved.
In the present case, the Government is acquiring private land for BN cronies. Taking the land from the people to benefit the BN cronies.
The term “urban development” is the blanket excuse given by the BN Government to acquire private land for its cronies. Few years back, when the Government attempted to acquire 3000 acres of private land at Bako area for its cronies, it also used “urban development” as the ground of the acquisition. As it was later revealed, that “urban development” includes building condominiums, apartment, commercial centres, etc. by private developer.
Fortunate for the landowners in the Bako area, DAP was gaining strength, especially in the urban area. We won the 2010 Sibu by-elections and we went on to win 12 DUN seats in the subsequent 2011 State Elections. This political pressure ultimately forced the BN Government to cancel the Bako Land acquisition exercise.
In 2016 Sarawak State Elections, DAP suffered severe setback and BN regained some of its lost seats from DAP. 2 months after the DAP’s defeat, BN Government is now back to its “Land for the Cronies” policy.
We call upon Adenan to hold true to his advocacy for clean governance and stop this land-grabbing action.

Chong Chieng Jen
MP for Bandar Kuching / ADUN for Kota Sentosa
Chairman of DAP Sarawak