Tuesday, July 5

Inadequate survey funds affect native land claims – Ongkili

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KOTA MARUDU: Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili has urged the state government to double its current allocation to clear the backlog of land claims involving the natives and to allow for surveying to progress.

The Kota Marudu member of parliament said land ownership by rural natives is still hampered by insufficient funding to facilitate the surveying of areas which they applied for, including those which they had toiled on and native customary rights land.

“Sabahans have made their grouses known and heard relating to numerous native land claims yet to be processed after years of application, caused in the main by the lack of funds allocated to the Land and Survey Department specifically for conducting survey works,” he said.

Ongkili lauded the federal government for allocating RM26 million to Sabah to conduct survey for NCR land, which remains a thorny issue among the people.

“This allocation is much welcomed and appreciated as land is a state matter. However, the amount is insufficient to clear the huge backlog in all districts. I urge the state government to double the existing state allocation for surveying so that we can resolve this problem,” he said.

Ongkili added that it was only through survey of the NCR land could native land areas be accorded protection from intrusion by huge companies most of which are not owned by locals.

“An annual allocation of at least RM100million by the state government for the next three years will clear all the survey work backlog. This means land assets will be in the hands of most natives who rightfully own this land of Sabah,” he said during a working visit to Kampung Tangkol in Marak Parak, where he joined in the Pesta Kaamatan celebration.

During his visit, Ongkili noted that Mukim Marak Parak, which comprises 22 villages with a population of 3,500 people, had progressed from a sleepy hollow to a shining model of a successful rural transformation carried out by Barisan Nasional.

“Ten years ago the areas was a sleepy part of Kota Marudu with the 45km road link to the township of Kota Marudu a popular location for spotlight hunting as there were not many motorists plying the road.

“Today the road is being upgraded and sealed as a major link between Kota Marudu and Ranau. A RM10 million water supply system is being built to cater for 12 villages along the Marak Parak-Kota Marudu road while electricity supply has reached 18 of the 22 villages and mobile phone service is now available at all the villages.

“The Education Department has secured a site for a new SMK Marak Parak to serve the six primary feeder schools in the area and almost every household has a rubber plot as source of income,” he said.

Ongkili pointed out, “this was the delivery of promised economic transformation to the people by Barisan Nasional, unlike the Opposition who are only good at criticising and making all sorts of promises without any capacity nor power to deliver.”