Sunday, November 28

No application for sale of islands – director


KOTA KINABALU: The Land and Survey Department has yet to receive any application from any of the land owners at Pulau Mengalum, Pulau Montukud (Papar) and Pulau Pandanan (Semporna) on the sale of lands on the islands to foreigners as of 4.45pm yesterday.

Speaking to members of the media yesterday, the department’s director Datuk Osman Jamal said there were 13 land titles issued on the three islands. These comprise three country lease (CL) titles , two of which are sited at Pulau Mengalum with areas of 101.7 hectares and 201.6 hectares, respectively, and one at Pulau Montukud in Papar (0.866 hectare).

The land usage condition for the two CL titles at Pulau Mengalum is for the establishment of hotels or resorts only, whereas the title at Pulau Montukud is for agriculture.

The remaining land titles are Native Titles (NT), eight of which are located on Pulau Montukud (for agriculture) and two on Pulau Pandanan (for the planting of coconuts).

The two CL titles on Pulau Mengalum were the result of a land swap between the Agriculture and Food Industry ministry and the developer of what is now Wisma Pertanian, explained Osman.

“The land on the island was swapped for the development of Wisma Pertanian…the island is used by the ministry to quarantine huge animals such as cows to avoid spreading diseases,” he said.

He also explained that the approval for the CL titles on Pulau Mengalum was issued on October 1997.

Meanwhile, all the nine land titles (eight NTs and one CL) on Pulau Montukud belonged to one owner, said Osman.

All of the NT titles on Pulau Montukud were issued in 1974 while the CL title was issued in the year 2005.

As for the two NT titles issued in Pulau Pandanan, they were issued on January 7, 1960 and on February 12, 1949, respectively.

Osman went on to explain that prior to the newspaper report recently, the state government and his department had no idea of the plans to sell lands on the three islands.

He added that following the report, the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman had instructed him to study the land ordinance in the State, particularly those related to islands and its sale to foreigners.

Aside from that, he had also been asked to look into the guidelines of foreign investors in Sabah as well as on the State’s safety issue.

During the meeting yesterday, Osman also tried to allay the worries of the general public and said that there were a lot of procedures involved in the transfer of CL titles and in the subleasing of NTs to foreigners and that it wouldn’t be so easy to transfer or sublease to them.

“Prior approval from the Chief Minister would be required. Other departments involved are MITI (International Trade and Industry

Ministry), KDN (Home Affairs Ministry), in addition to the Land and Survey Department and the Chief Minister’s department — requirements would have to be fulfilled,” he said.