Land approval delays worry
Published on: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tawau: Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department, Datuk Jimmy Wong, said cases of long delayed land application, some up 20 to 30 years without a decision, is very serious and should be given immediate attention.He said the issue of land applications was among the many complaints he received over the past few months, as well as complaints from many landowners who lost their rights to their property without their knowledge.

"Many lawyers met me on this issue because their customers were unable to implement the Memorandum of Transfer as they were not legal landowners, even though they were the landowners all these years.

"In Tawau, such cases occurred to many landowners whose grants were detained at the Land and Survey Department (JTU) and the owners only held a Sale and Purchase Agreement as proof of the land ownership.

"However, land ownership changes have been made without official documents such as the Deed of Assignment ... I was surprised to learn that such a problem occurred. It is as if there were no laws in JTU," he said.

He stressed that he would not tolerate illegal property conversion and would collect and submit all documents of landowners involved to the Director of JTU and, if necessary, call upon the police to open an investigation paper.

Jimmy said this when opening the Dialogue Session organised by Tawau DAP which saw more than 300 complaints received on land issues from Sebatik, Kalabakan, Kunak, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Tawau.

In his media conference, he hoped the event would help the people to solve their land problems when the JTU director was brought down to meet them. He also wished to make the programme an annual event.

Meanwhile, Sabah JTU director, Datuk Safar Untong, when met by the media, said his party was in Tawau at Jimmy's invitation and managed to address the issues raised by the people the same day.

"Most of them asked questions about land transfer problems, land compensation payments, land development and land use change requirements, and we addressed those issues the same day for those that could be resolved.

"However, there are cases that could not be resolved that day and we will look into these further," he said, advising the people to visit the nearest JTU counter by bringing together their application references in case of land problems. - Lagatah Toyos


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