Federal Departments Have 90 Days To Justify Possession Of Idle State Land, Affirms Prime Minister

KUCHING, 20 Jan -- Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (tengah) mempengerusikan Mesyuarat Tindakan Pelaksanaan MA63 di Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak di Petra Jaya, hari ini. Turut hadir, Premier Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (kiri) dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. -- fotoBERNAMA (2023) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA

Federal departments will get three months to confirm if they have plans to develop state land leased to them for public projects and must surrender these if they do not, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

He said it is unjustified for the departments to keep possession of the state land if they do not have any plans to build public projects such as schools, hospitals and clinics.

“If it is true that no schools are going to be built or funds not allocated, then the land should be returned to the states, based on the original price when the lands were leased out,” he told reporters after chairing the Malaysia Agreement1963 (MA63) here.

He said the Ministry of Finance will decide on the price of the land, but said it would not be justified to seek the present market price.

Anwar said Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg was persistent in wanting for the return of state land that has remained idle for long periods from the federal government.

He said since the 1970s, the federal government, through the Education and Health Departments, had been issued with state lands to build schools, clinics and hospitals.

“But it seems that these lands have not been developed or possibly are not suitable for building schools or clinics or allocations not budgeted for,” he said.

He said such cases were not only in Sarawak and Sabah, but also in Peninsular Malaysia, citing his former constituencies of Permatang Pauh and Port Dickson and now Tambun, as examples.

He cited a case of an application for land submitted in 1980 and approved in 1981 to illustrate the point.

“Now, it is 2023, the public project is still not implemented nor there is any indication to show when it will be implemented, Therefore, I will give three months to the departments concerned to confirm if they are going to build schools or otherwise,” he said.

Anwar added Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who is also the chairman of the MA63 technical committee, will call for a meeting in the land issue.

He said Fadillah will report to him as well as Abang Johari and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor on the matter.

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