KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister (CM) Musa Aman today presented native land titles to over 1,000 Kiulu residents in a symbolic ceremony held at the quaint riverside township, about 50km from here.
The native titles were for plots of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land owned by residents from four villages, namely Lokos, Nulu, Tiong Ratau dan Tiong Simpodon.
The issuance of the 1,041 native land titles was made possible through the Sabah Native Land Administration Services (Pantas) programme undertaken by the Sabah Land and Survey Department to survey NCR land occupied by the community.
“As mentioned before, the government never takes away land belonging to villagers but instead, we give titles to those we have promised to.
“This is how the Barisan Nasional (BN) government works. Credit also goes to leaders like Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau, Kiulu assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai and (former Kiulu assembyman) Louis Rampas who have been consistently following up on this,” Musa said.
Meanwhile, Musa also approved the elevation of Kiulu to the status of a sub-district, and the appointment of a district chief to represent the native community for Kiulu.
“I have been asked about this before and today, it becomes a reality. The same goes for the district chief’s post which has been vacant for quite a while now. I approve this too,” Musa said in his speech when presenting the native land titles.
Remaining plots of NCR land
In Kiulu, a total of 2,141 lots had been surveyed by 29 teams formed by the Land and Survey Department since June 2015 until January last year.
According to a statement from the chief minister’s office, the remaining plots are now waiting for the final issuance of the land titles by the department.
RM20 million had been allocated to the department by the Federal Government to carry out similar surveys of NCR land and communal lands for this year alone.
Bangkuai, in thanking the state government, said the people have been waiting for a long time.
“This ‘tanah adat’ (native land) is tantamount to our own lives in Kiulu. We have been waiting so long, with some unfortunately passing on before us and who never got to see the titles.
“If before we felt like we were just squatting because there were no titles, now it is absolute the land is ours, no question about it. This is thanks to a prime minister and CM who are sensitive to our needs,” he said.
Bangkuai had in his speech earlier requested for the setting up of a mini secretariat comprising various government departments.
He said such a secretariat could function as an administrative centre containing agencies on agriculture, livestock and national registration, among others.
“Kiulu is quite big, with 106 villages scattered over a land area of about 250km. And we have a population of more than 50,000 now.
“This will definitely help the villagers so that they don’t have to travel too far,” Bangkuai said.
Musa gave the green light for the construction of the secretariat for Kiulu, once it becomes a sub-district, and also announced the approval of RM200,000 for the upgrading of the Pahu-Wasai road.
He said the decision takes into consideration the area becoming a popular tourist attraction as well as the vibrant economic progress in the area that has seen much development, including the on-going construction of the new Telipok-Kiulu-Pahu-Ranau route.
Bangkuai said once the road networks and the RM45 million Tebobon-Gonipis road were completed, it will change the landscape of development in Kiulu.
“This will be the game changer. We already have investors coming to see us and asking if there are available plots to set up hotels, restaurants and lodges.
“This is what I meant by changing the landscape. It will create job opportunities. Hopefully, we can achieve this in the next three to four years.
“The announcement by the CM during the state budget last year for Kiulu to be the pioneer in rural tourism development will also improve the economic standing of the people and infrastructure in Kiulu,” he said.