Published on: Saturday, September 07, 2013
Penampang: The setting up of the Sabah Native Land Owners and Developers Association (Sanloda) is timely to assist the Government in providing useful ideas and proposals for a win-win situation in native land ownership issues.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, in this respect, welcomed the initiative taken by the chairman and committee members of Sanloda to form the association as land and related issues have been getting attention from the people and wide coverage from the media as the State experienced rapid growth.
Speaking at the launching of Sanloda and swearing-in of its office-bearers at the Tun Fuad Community Centre here Friday, he said as an attentive State Government "we are always prepared to listen to ideas and proposals including from this association."
"Therefore, I call upon all Sanloda members to discuss and exchange ideas in the efforts to determine the association's direction.
"I also hope that all native land owners in Sabah will join Sanloda and play a more active role in achieving the vision and objectives of the association," he said.
Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said the State Government understands a lot of issues and challenges would be discussed by Sanloda members.
However, he believed with the spirit of camaraderie and close cooperation between the members coupled with commitment from all quarters, problems and issues on land could be gradually resolved.
"I hope the association will successfully achieve its objectives and bring greater benefit to native land owners in Sabah," said Musa.
Meanwhile, Sanloda Chairman Datuk Seri Clarence Bongkos Malakun said the association is putting on record its appreciation to the efforts done by the present Barisan Nasional Government in Sabah in giving communal land titles to the bumiputeras in the State.
"This is a first of its kind in the history of the Sabah Government since 1963, where communal titles have been issued to the people in order to save communal lands from being applied for or taken by big companies or outsiders.
"It is also easy and faster for the State Government to give communal title to the people, rather than giving individual titles to each and every applicant for community lands," he said.
Malakun said Land and Survey Director, Datuk Osman Jamal, had informed them that the department has 345,000 pending applications for individual land titles with 30,000 new applications coming every year, (under Section 77 on the Land Ordinance) in Sabah.
"This is indeed a mountain of a problem for the District Officers or Assistant Collector Land Revenue and for the Land and Survey Department headquarters to handle.
"So far, the Government has issued 62 communal land titles covering an area of 83,000 acres covering 153 kampungs or villages involving 8,300 people as beneficiaries.
"By issuing communal titles to the people, the State Government is very proactive in practising the 'Rakyat Didahulukan' manifesto of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak," he said.
He said the Prime Minister was ever ready to support the State Government by giving special allocation for villages under communal titles by giving Federal allocation for construction of rural roads, electricity and water connection as well as for balai taya and other communal facilities, such as schools and rural clinics.
According to Malakun, Sanloda is a government-friendly NGO, approved by the Registrar of Societies since Oct 30 last year that was formed to provide a forum and platform for members, who are native land owners and developers in Sabah to discuss matters affecting their lands with the main objective to ensure and to enhance the value and stature of Native Lands and to develop networking with other organisations or groups with similar objectives.
"As we all know, it is a fact, that the natives or the indigenous people, when compared to our non-Bumiputera brothers in Sabah, are not very financially sound.
"In other words, our native people generally lack capital or hard cash.
However, the natives have vast hidden assets in the form of lands and properties.
"These NT lands and properties, individually are of little value, but if they are grouped together and utilised properly, under one umbrella like Sanloda, such NT Lands have the potential to raise a sizeable cash assets for the good and the benefit of the native land owners," he said.
Sanloda had been informed that a total of 192,438 NT titles have been issued, compared to 163,126 for Country Lease or CL Titles in Sabah.
The area of NT titles is 550,987 hectares, and 1.5 million hectares for CL titles.
In this respect, he said Sanloda acts to promote the optimum utilisation of native lands and aimed to have a Data/Information Gathering System on Native Lands in order to help uplift the socio-economic status of the bumiputera in Sabah, especially those who own NT titles, by helping to develop their NT lands.
Thirdly, he said Sanloda hoped to promote and coordinate the utilisation of native lands in Sabah in order to assist the authorities, especially the State Government, to develop the State.
"In so doing, we hope to create more employment opportunities for the bumiputera in Sabah. If more people have jobs and earn steady income for themselves and their family, this would be good for the Government as there would be many happy bumiputera and the YBs will not be troubled too often by the people asking for financial handouts," he said.
Malakun said fourthly, Sanloda wished to find better techniques of land utilisation in agriculture as well as in other sectors of land developments.
Fifthly, he said unlike some NGOs, Sanloda wished to find ways and means to approach whatever problems related to native lands and to discuss with the State Government in a friendly manner and to view the State Government not as an enemy but as a friend.
"We are all Sabahans and we all hope to progress together under the Malaysian sun," he said.
"Lastly, we want Sanloda to protect the legitimate interest of members by bringing whatever problem and matters to the State Government and other relevant State agencies on matters pertaining to NT titles regarding policy, finance, legislation and other administration procedures which affect the development of native lands," he said.
Malakun assured that Sanloda would assist the Chief Minister and the State Government and relevant agencies in order to speed up the development of native lands in either agricultural or other purposes, including the construction of affordable houses, industrial factories or commercial shop-houses for the bumiputera to participate in nation building through economic activities that are today predominantly monopolised by the non-bumiputera in Sabah.
Sanloda also hoped to help raise the level of income of the native population in Sabah, especially the native land owners and to also help the State Government to accelerate the development of Sabah in order to become a fully developed State in Malaysia by the year 2020.
On how to become a member of Sanloda, Malakun said the condition of entry must be that he or she owns at least an NT land irrespective of the size.
"So, if you have an NT land measuring just 0.10 acres, and if that native land title is under your own name, that is good enough to qualify for Life Membership of Sanloda," he said, adding that the life membership can be transferred to the member's nominee in the future.
"At the moment, we have less than 100 registered members.
But we hope to increase our membership in the future.
"We also hope to receive some grant or donation from individuals or institutions that are sympathetic to our cause as guardians and custodians of native titled lands in Sabah in order to run Sanloda as a proper and a professional Association that is genuine in helping the Native Land Owners in Sabah," he said.
He assured that the association central committee is made up of qualified individuals ranging from former Deputy Speakers, Ex-Assemblymen, Ex-Deputy State Secretary, Ex-Permanent Secretaries, former deputy Land and Survey director, Ex-District Officers, and many more former senior government servants.
The association's two advisers are former Chief Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and a former Deputy Chief Minister and State Attorney General Tan Sri Herman Luping.
The patron is the present Chief Minister.