Land transactions worth RM13 bil reported in Sabah last year

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah was surprised to find out that land transactions amounting to RM13.65 billion were transacted last year.

This showed economic activities in the state were proceeding well.

State Land and Survey Department director Safar Untong said they only discovered this huge number of transactions through an online system implemented last year.

“We were able to learn about this huge turnover in land transactions, thanks to the compulsory keying-in of land transactions into an electronic submission system for land deals which we introduced last year.

“The more land transactions there are in Sabah, the more money will go into the government’s coffers through taxes and other revenue,” he said at a Hari Raya function for his department here today.

He said it was therefore crucial that the assistant collector of land revenue (ACLR) in each district worked efficiently.

They must take advantage of the department’s use of information technology to track and record all land dealings in Sabah, he said.

Safar said the department is targeting to collect RM350 million in annual land premiums this year, far more than the RM285 million set by the state government.

Regarding compensation for land utilised for the Pan Borneo Highway, Safar said the government had paid out a total of RM12 million so far.

He said the process of paying out the compensation is going on well but said more funds are required to pay pending applications.

“We still have to issue 4,171 offer letters.

“We had sent out 1,600 offer letters until June 30.

“We hope to issue the remaining offer letters by the end of this month.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, who attended the function, said the government had instructed the Land and Survey Department to intensify its efforts to process all land applications because many had been waiting for their land titles for decades.

He said nobody should encroach any land they liked and claim it as their own without going through proper procedures.

He said land encroachment is not a new issue in Sabah.

“We need to be firm on this because we have rules.”

Shafie referred to the recent controversial land encroachment in Likas where a person had moved in heavy machinery to clear the area near the sea without getting proper approval.

Shafie said the applicant thought the signature he obtained from his MP was an endorsement for his land application.

“I think the issue here is education and enforcement.

“Land and Survey Department officers must ensure land encroachment does not happen again.

“The people must also understand that getting a mere signature from their MP or assemblyman does not mean their applications have already been approved,” he said.