Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Group is squatting on land belonging to Fisheries: Dept

Published on: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The so-called Perkampungan Bumiputera Melayu Menggatal (PBMM) group does not have the right to claim an 80-acre site that belongs to the State Fisheries Department in Menggatal, said State Land and Survey Director Datuk Osman Jamal.

He said this was unanimously decided during the Kota Kinabalu District Land Utilisation Committee (LUC) meeting to discuss the application made by those who have settled on the said land, which is part of the 380 acres gazetted in 1973 for the said department.

The meeting, chaired by the Kota Kinabalu Assistant Collector of Land Revenue who represented the Director, was also attended by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister and Tanjung Aru Assemblyman Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah, who is in charge of the City Hall and representatives of both Sepanggar MP Jumat Edris and Karambunai Assemblywoman Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

Osman advised those who have encroached onto the land, located in a prime area along Jalan Sulaman between 1Borneo and the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Drive-In, to the vacate immediately.

"They have encroached onto government land whether already gazetted or not - an offence under Section 166 of the State Land Ordinance which provides up to RM100,000 fine or five years jail, or both,"

Osman said the department conducted investigations following instructions from Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

"The Chief Minister instructed us to furnish information on the status of the said land. We found the said land was gazetted for use by the State Fisheries Department in 1973, involving altogether 380 acresÉso what had been reported in the media and stated by the Fisheries Department is correct, that the said land has been committed to the State Fisheries Department," he said.

On the claim by PBMM led by Datuk Abdul Rahim Hamdan that it has approval to inhabit the land, he said the department's records showed that a group of people who currently inhabit the land concerned had submitted their application twice to the department for the said land.

"Their first application in 2001 was rejected and this was stated in a letter issued by the department on the basis that the land is not available because it had already been committed to Fisheries," he said.

"They re-submitted their application in 2013 and this was the one the department brought up at the LUC meeting where it was unanimously rejectedÉthis also means that the episode relating to land application by the group concerned is over."

"Thus they no longer have the right to make any claim on the said land (80 acres) or to apply for it," said Osman.

He said Kota Kinabalu Assistant Collector of Land Revenue (ACLR) and City Hall (DBKK) would take action.

"The DBKK will take action according to existing building bylaws which requires submission of a building plan and development plan for any house or building planned to be constructed within its jurisdiction.

If there is none, it would be considered as an illegal structure," he said.

"If they refuse to leave, we will bring this matter to court.

If proven guilty, they would be charged under Section 166," he said.

When asked on the claim which was supported by a letter from Ko-Nelayan to PBMM that the agency has taken out the said land and given it to PBMM, Osman said he had also read this and seen the letter at the Kota Kinabalu Land and Survey Office which was used to back up the group's claim.

"I wish to remind that Ko-Nelayan has no authority to give the said land to anyone because it belongs to the State Fisheries Department," he said.

And also under the State Land Ordinance, only the State Land and Survey Department can issue land titles and even that the department is not allowed to give the approval but only to process and prepare confirmation on the status of the applied land if readily available and then bring it up to the LUC meeting for discussion and approval.

"So to make a certain statement, even in writing, that Ko-Nelayan has given out the land to the group or individuals concerned, this agency actually cannot do that. Probably Ko-Nelayan was just making a suggestion," he said.

According to the State Land Ordinance, he said, only three authorities have the power to approve a land application, namely the State Cabinet, Chief Minister and State Land and Survey Director.