Sunday, January 19

Efforts to prevent islands from being sold to foreigners

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KOTA KINABALU: PAS Youth will highlight the issue of plots of land on three islands off Sabah being sold online in the coming parliament session to initiate efforts to prevent foreign buyers from getting hold of any of the country’s islands.

Its exco, Firdaus Jaafar, said he would bring the matter up and seek explanation from the parties concerned on the sale of the plots with the hope that something could be worked out to “save them from being sold to outsiders”.

“If there is no enactment that can prevent the sale of our islands to foreigners, then a bill needs to be tabled to prevent it from happening,” he told a press conference at the State PAS office here yesterday.

Firdaus, who is also Jerai member of parliament and the wing’s consumer and environment chairperson, said he hoped to get a clear and sincere answer from the authorities on the issue.

He said this following Sabah PAS Youth’s objection against the sale of the islands which was advertised on http://www.privateislandonline.com as they claimed it involved the country’s security and sovereignty.

The advertisement on the sale of the three islands off Sabah posted on the Internet had triggered interest among the people.

According to the private islands online marketplace, 100 hectares of land on Mengalum Island, four hectares on Pandanan Island and 6.88 hectares on Montukod Island, were up for sale.

State Land and Survey Department director Datuk Osman Jamal had stated that the plots on the islands were privately owned and the owners might want to sell them.

He added that only certain parts of the land on Mengalum Island were privately owned by a company, while the rest belonged to the state government through the Veterinary Services and Animal Industry Department. The two other islands are owned by individuals.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in a news report was also quoted as saying while it was up to the owners to sell their land on the islands, any form of development there was subject to approval from the relevant authorities based on existing laws and regulations.

This was to protect the environment and marine ecosystem of the islands, said Masidi.

State PAS Youth chief Lahirul Latigu, who was also present at the conference, wanted the State government’s intervention to stop the plots there from being transferred to non-Malaysians.

“If it is bought by locals, it’s not a problem but if is bought by outsiders, it is a worrying concern.

“The government should then be responsible in the issue and act firmly to protect the nation’s maritime borders,” stressed Lahirul.

During the function, Sabah Pas Youth information chief Mohd Zulfikar Abd Mijan presented a memorandum to Firdaus regarding the issue of Marine Technology Diploma (DTM) apprentice scheme to be brought to parliament for discussion.

Zulfikar claimed that those who took the scheme were treated unfairly by the government who failed in abiding with the contract.

This included failure to provide a fair early retirement scheme, unreasonable termination of contracts and salary issues, among others.