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Govt reviewing land process for Sino-natives: Jannie
Published on: Thursday, October 17, 2019
By: Oswald Supi

PENAMPANG: It is not true that Sino-natives are unable to transfer their land to their children or sell them but the process is cumbersome. 

For every transaction, a letter confirming they are qualified as natives must be obtained from the Sabah Native Affairs Department after applying through the Native Court, said State Law and Native Affairs Assistant Minister Jannie Lasimbang. 

Speaking after officiating a programme entitled “Stop Child Marriage Under –18” at the Public Library here, she said a large number of Sinos had reportedly complained to a local Justice of Peace that they were now totally helpless with regards to their native lands. 

“They (Sinos) claimed they were unable to pass their land to their children since the Native Certificate was de-recognised several years ago due to abuses where even non-native outsiders managed to obtain the certificate,” she added. 

She said the present problem could be due to very few officers available to issue the letter at the Native Affairs Department as they have other tasks to perform, but the Cabinet has discussed this and requested the State Attorney to review the process.

Without giving a timeline for the review, Jannie said: 

“The matter is complicated by the existence of two main categories. Those who want to be natives just to get hold of land and enjoy native benefits such as ASB accounts and couldn’t care less about the native cultures, customs and laws. The other group are those who insist that Sino-natives are a separate race which are not recognised under the existing ordinance.” 

However, a few landowners have complained that the Penampang Land Office is the hardest to deal with where even full natives found it difficult to comply with their requirements regarding land matters. 

“One native lady who wanted to pass on her only native inherited land to her son was required to prove that the son is a native, despite having a native father as well. 

“They claimed they were even asked to produce the birth certificates of their late grandfathers. Yet they claimed knowing several prime native land here had been sold to non-native outsiders and approved by the department by using the service of land conveyancing lawyers,” said Jannie.

On underage marriages, Jannie said the top three problems are the young couples not able to handle responsibilities as parents, totally preventing them from achieving their dreams and potentials and their economic/financial stability will not be achieved. 

However, the Government has an exhaustive 10-year action plan, including both state and federal civil laws. 

The keywords are institutional, including laws, social mobilisation where both government and private NGOs will visit schools, colleges and remote villages, and lastly communication where all available media will be used to educate the masses. 

The biggest hurdle to overcome this problem is the social norm where adoption is not accepted as a possible solution while the society is still not supportive of single mothers, concluded Jannie.

 



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