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Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (centre) chairing the Cabinet meeting today. SNT Pix/Courtesy CMD Ofice

KOTA KINABALU: The State Cabinet on Wednesday has given the nod for the abolishment of the Communal Title system and to be replaced with a new mechanism whereby each land beneficiary will be granted individual title.

This mean all the 96 communal titles involving a total of 152,268.23 acres of land would be revoked and replaced with individual title for all its 13,789 beneficiaries from 271 villages in 15 districts.

“This was discussed today by the Cabinet … we will scrap the communal title that has been implemented by the previous government. We will take several new approaches to ensure the native rights are protected,” said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the Cabinet meeting at the PPNS near here, he said the move was in line with Warisan’s election manifesto that is to do away with the Communal Title under the its promise land for the landless.

“For quite a long time so many things are happening pertaining to land in Sabah and the Warisan-led State Government wants to change this.

“We want to ensure the land owner rights will be protected so that there will be no duplicate applications and they will get benefits from the land that they had applied and approved by the government,” he said.

Shafie said the move would see each individual native title to be issued in the name of each of the beneficiary of the said communal title and with the issuance of the individual native land title, any existing joint-venture arrangement on the land subject to the terms to be renegotiated.

Apart from that, he said several conditions were being imposed for the protection of the land owners such as the individual land title cannot be transferred, charged or assigned.

“This is important, the land cannot be used as co-lateral to the bank for it may result in the owner losing the land if they are unable to pay the debts when the bank decided to claim it,” he said.

Shafie said that another protection clause was that the individual title also could not be dealt with in any manner by the way of Power of Attorney.

According to him, the detailed part of this would be announced during his 100 days in office (Aug 21).

He said there were some promises like abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that could be fulfilled quickly but there were some that might take a little bit time.

“We need to give a new leash of life to the way we manage our land because land is not increasing it is getting scarce,” he said, adding that in urban areas no more land are available since many have already been developed.

Similarly, in the rural areas and although there were still some that could be given to the people but it is limited.

He said the new State Government would also fulfilled its promise assist natives who had been applying for land for so many years to the extent the original applicant had dies but as long as the record of applications are it would be pursued.

The issuance of individual native land title to the beneficiaries in the scrapped communal titles would be done this year pending all the necessary administrative things to be cleared by the Land and Surveys Department, he said.-SabahNewsToday


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