Over 10,000 Sabah natives get titles to customary land

Musa-Aman_ncu_sabah_600KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has issued 72 communal grants totalling 48,212ha of land in 213 villages benefiting 10,462 people since the introduction of the land ownership system for landless natives in 2012.

Of the number, 13 communal grants covering 34,426ha in 90 villages benefiting 3,993 people have been developed through joint ventures between the beneficiaries and state agencies or private companies.

Sabah chief minister Musa Aman disclosed this in replying to Wilfred Bumburing (PCS (-Tamparuli) in the state assembly today.

Communal grants are issued to protect the rights of Sabah natives to customary land. The land cannot be sold.

Musa said 34,016ha of the land were planted with oil palm which had begun production, while another 2,556ha planted with rubber would begin production in five years’ time.

As of July, areas under nine communal grants have been developed through joint ventures, four of them between the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) and beneficiaries, while another five are between the beneficiaries and private companies.

The communal grants in Kampung Lalampas Tongod, totalling 3,692ha, were the first joint ventures between SLDB and beneficiaries for the planting of oil palm. A total of 1,022 beneficiaries received 3.5ha each in this area.

The development of oil palm plantations through joint ventures was carried out in 2012 and, so far, 2,314ha have been developed at a cost of RM26 million. The plantations yielded 1.53 tonnes of fruits per ha and paid dividends totalling RM5.6 million in 2012.

Musa said the state government would keep issuing communal grants until issues related to native titles were resolved.