Approval required for island sales – director

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Land and Survey Department (SLSD) yesterday confirmed the three islands advertised online for sale are owned by a private company and individuals.

The two properties belonging to individuals are the Pandanan Island in Semporna and Montukod Island in Kinarut, while the Mengalum Island, which is known for its historical elements and located some 54 kilometres from the west coast of the state, belongs to the company.

Land and Survey Department Director Datuk Osman, who was commenting on a news report on Tuesday about the islands for sale advertisements posted on www.privateisland.com, said the island owners have the right to dispose of properties belonging to them.

However, the owners of the land on the said islands must first have approval from the Land Revenue Collector before selling off their land, he said.

He said any land transfer must however have the approval from the Land Revenue Collector, who is also the Land and Survey Department Director.

“If you are buying a land or an island, it has to be done through the Land and Survey Department Director to verify its status,” he said.

“The Pandanan, Montukod and Mengalum are private-owned islands. Disposing of properties is the right of the individuals, but of course we have to look into the government policies concerning sale of properties to interested parties from overseas.

“I have discussed the matter with the Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Musa Aman) and he has advised me to look into our Land Ordinance and whether there is a guideline by the Federal Government, on sale of properties to non-Malaysians.

“We also spoke on whether there is any law or guidelines as to how the property can be disposed to the non-Malaysians,” he told reporters during the Chief Minister’s Department’s Press and Publication Office Hari Raya Open House at Wisma Innoprise here yesterday.

He said the state government is also aware of the advertisement, but assured that there has been no transaction or transfer done to date since the posting was quite recent.

The three islands off Sabah have been advertised for sale, while another two for rent, via a Toronto-based private islands online marketplace.

The Mengalum Island, a turnkey private island resort covering an area of 250 acres, is priced at US$18 million (RM64.8 million) while Pandanan Island covering 10 acres is rpived at US$2 million (RM7.2 million); and Montukod Island, about a kilometre off Kinarut, covering 17.2 acres is priced at RM35 million (US$11.266million).

Other islands advertised for rent are Sipadan-Kapalai Island, off Semporna, 50 acres and Pulau Layang Layang, involving 50 acres. The descriptions for both were stated as “price on request”.

Osman said Mengalum Island, owned by a company, was alienated with country lease (CL) title, Montukod (a mixure of CL and native land title while Pandanan Island alienated with CL title.

He said both Montukod and Pandanan Island were owned by private individuals.

Mengalum Island was once a stopover for famed voyager Ferdinand Magellan, whose supposedly anchor is one of the island’s relics, while the Pandanan Island gained notoriety when Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped three workers of a local tour firm in 2000 – their second after Sipadan Island.

They managed to escape during a firefight between the terrorist-kidnappers and Filipino troops.

The Layang-Layang is Malaysia’s sole claim on the disputed Spratlys chain.

Descriptions of all these islands were included in the advertisement that was posted in a Malaysian online news portal. It was not known how long they had been put up for sale nor the response.

The firm Private Islands Inc. specialises in all aspects of island sales, purchase and living.

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