Two groups claim ownership of Muara Tebas land

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KUCHING: The overlapping ownership of a piece of land at Muara Tebas area is a great puzzle for a group of four individuals who claimed to be the rightful owners.

They did not know how that could have happened and are seeking immediate explanation from the relevant authorities.

What stunned them most was how it was possible for the Land and Survey Department to issue a perpetual title for the same piece of land to another group of people when the Occupation Ticket issued under their names only expires in 2024.

Ong Teck Chuk, 70, one of the co-owners of the land that was estimated to be about eight acres in size, said he had the shock of his life upon finding out that their land (referred to as Permit of Year 1352/1925) that they bought from one Salleh Kamal in 1974 was also being claimed by another group of three persons.

“Based on the record obtained from the Land and Survey Department a perpetual title was issued for the same piece of land referred as Lot 301 Block 5 MTLD to the three individuals in 1992,” he told a news conference held at the State Democratic Action Party (DAP) headquarters here yesterday. He said what made it even fishier and illogical was both groups had been paying for the premium of the same land at RM212 whereas the perpetuity title was only RM8 per annum.

“This is something very ridiculous and we want the government to check this matter because we believe that this may not be an isolated case. If it can happen to us it can also be happening to others,” said Ong.

According to him, he made the shocking discovery when he decided to check with the Land and Survey office sometime in the first week of this month why they had not received any notice to attend the Muara Tebas land acquisition enquiry even though their land was known to be included in the development project.

Ong said that he had sought explanation from the authority but until yesterday he had yet to receive anything and as such he and two other co-proprietors decided to approach Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong for advice. The other two co-proprietors present yesterday were Wang Siew Lan @ Ong Siew Lan, 65, and Ong Hea Lin @ Ong Teck Eng, 62, while another co-owner Kwek Chin Wei Andrew, 34, was said to be overseas.

After listening to the landowners in disbelief, Yong urged the government to seriously look into the matter.

“We don’t want to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, but obviously something has gone wrong here. How can two different groups have rights over the same piece of land.

“We also believe that this is not an isolated case and I would like to advise landowners whose land will be acquired for development project in Muara Tebas to go to the Land and Survey office to do their own probes,” she said.

Yong said if there was any hanky-panky involved in the issuance of the second land title then the culprits should be brought to book.

“We want the problem to be immediately resolved and put to a stop,” she said.