BN did nothing to resolve 999-year land lease issue, says Warisan

Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua says the previous BN government had been non-committal in the Sabah land lease tenure issue. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Warisan has hit back at Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) over the land lease tenure issue, claiming the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government had over a decade to resolve the matter but chose to do nothing.

Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua said the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) had pleaded with former chief minister Musa Aman in 2011 to revert the land tenure in all subdivided country lease title deeds from 99 to 999 years, in accordance with what had been stated in the parent title.

He said that earlier in 2008, an appeal had also been submitted to the then chief minister over the issue following the reduction of the lease tenure involving shophouses in Kolombong, near here, from 999 years to 99 years.

“So, who actually is in the wrong here? Shareda had already pleaded with Musa on behalf of the 999-year country lease owners in 2011 but he was non-committal about it,” Padua said in a statement today.

Yesterday, PBS deputy president Yee Moh Chai accused the Warisan-led government of trying to take credit for the restoration of the land lease tenure to 999 years, saying the incumbent state government was merely complying with a court decision in which Warisan played no role.

“The Warisan-led government would be in contempt of court if they didn’t follow the court decision to extend the land tenure from 99 years to 999 years.

“As usual, Warisan is claiming credit for doing something which they are obliged to do (and this) is only cheap, shameless and misleading,” Yee said.

Padua said there was nothing wrong for the state government to reaffirm the judgment of the High Court and to make it a state policy.

He said it was the right thing to do as there had been repeated calls for the country lease titles to be restored to 999 years in the past but were snubbed by the previous government.

He said the previous government, of which PBS was part of, had 14 years from 2004 to correct what was wrong, but it never had the interest or passion to do so despite the appeals submitted.

Instead of criticising Warisan, he said, PBS must explain to the owners of the lease titles why they never bothered to restore the same when BN was in power.

Padua also said Sabah Land and Survey Department director Bernard Liew last week affirmed the reduction of the land tenure to 99 years happened in the 1990s.

On Feb 27, the High Court here delivered a landmark decision by declaring that conditions set by the Land and Survey Department to reduce the leasehold tenure from 999 years to 99 years for approval of the development and subdivision of land was unlawful and null and void.