DAP urges Adenan to refund quit rent as promised

KUCHING: Sarawakian owners of land under 100 acres, who had made advance quit rent payments early this year, were told by the Land and Survey Department they would not get a refund.

The state government had abolished all quit rent for smallholder agriculture land and residential land, effective March 15, 2016.

However, Sarawak DAP said the party had received complaints from landowners who were turned away by the department’s staff here.

“Many of them have gone to the Land and Survey Department thinking that they’ll be able to get the refund for the advance quit rent payment they made for this year,” Pending Assemblyman Violet Yong told the media.

“However, the counter staff there informed them that they cannot get back the advance payments they made for the year 2016. They can only get refunds for advance payments made for 2017 and beyond.

“This was despite the announcement made by the chief minister stating that the quit rent for the year 2016 had been waived.”

Chief Minister Adenan Satem had said the waiver would apply to smallholder agricultural land of less than 100 acres. He also said that those who had overpaid the quit rent could request for a refund.

“So, after the announcement, a lot of landowners and house-owners were very excited over it,” Violet said, adding that a notice put up by the department was “misleading”.

“They had put up a notice at the counter that you can only get the refund for year 2017 and beyond. This is very misleading and unfair to landowners and house-owners.

“Adenan’s announcement stated the refund was applicable for the year 2016 too, and so they (Land and Survey Department) should not try to ‘main kotor’ (play dirty), and claim you are only able to get back your refund for 2017 and beyond.”

The quit rent waiver applies to 360,422 titles with land rent amounting to RM8.58 million or 19% of the total land rent collected.

Sarawak is the first state to abolish quit rent.