We are only resolving land problems left by BN, Warisan tells PBS

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (fourth from left) handing over a native land title in Keningau recently.

KOTA KINABALU: Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr today denied that the Warisan-led Sabah government was claiming credit for a Barisan Nasional land title initiative.

He said the party was instead doing its best to end land disputes left unsolved by the previous state government.

Instead, Padua said Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal’s move should be viewed as the Warisan Plus government’s concern for the plight of the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut communities who for years had been denied their ancestral lands.

“The Warisan Plus state government’s action in issuing the native title grants for the land to the residents in Keningau district was in line with Warisan’s 2018 general election manifesto.,” he said in a statement today.

Yesterday, PBS information chief Joniston Bangkuai had accused Warisan of claiming credit for its land title scheme started during the BN state government’s rule.

He said survey work for this was also carried out by the Land and Survey Department from 2015 to 2017.

Bangkuai, who is Kiulu assemblyman, said the granting of such titles had been initiated by the previous government under the Sabah Native Land Services (Pantas) and communal grant programme, aimed at expediting the process of native customary right claims to land.

Padua said the scheme was established following complaints by the people as the process of approving titles was taking many years.

“From the point when Musa Aman became chief minister in 2003 and PBS rejoined BN in 2002, it took another seven to eight years for the previous government to start Pantas.

“As a result, many native land applicants were not able to obtain their grants as they had passed away.

“In the instance of some in Kiulu, where Bangkuai was the assemblyman, some villagers had waited for more than 40 years to get the titles,” he added.

Padua said not many of the applicants got help from the then government. Only when their plight was reported by the media, did the government begin to act.

Padua said what was important to note was that the present Warisan Plus government had abolished the communal grant system.

The communal grant system, under which a group of landowners is listed under a single title, was introduced to make it difficult for them to sell off their land without the consent of the others.

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