New Straits Times
1,000 NATIVES RECEIVE LAND TITLES
Residents of four villagers recognised as rightful owners of their land
MORE than 1,000 native land titles were handed over to residents of four villages, who are beneficiaries of a government programme that gives recognition to their indigenous rights.
Villagers who grew up and toiled the land in their villages were issued the titles that recognised them as the rightful owners.
The land titles were issued under the Sabah Native Land Services programme or Pantas.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman presented the titles to the recipients during a working visit to the constituency here.
“We do not want to neglect the native community, who only want recognition for their native customary rights to own and live on the land they have been occupying since the time of their ancestors,” he said.
“This issue of natives living on ancestral land without titles was brought to my attention by many leaders, including Barisan Nasional leaders.
“This was why I ordered the Land and Survey Department to come up with a solution.”
Musa said this was the benefit of having BN-elected representatives, such as Tuaran member of parliament Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who meet him regularly for assistance on behalf of their constituents.
Madius, who is also science, technology and innovation minister, said the titles were important and meant a lot to the native community.
“This is the benefit of having leaders who can work together for the people, and seek help from the Federal Government and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” he said.
Joniston said without the titles, the natives felt like they were tenants.
“In reality, land is life to the indigenous people of Sabah.
“The issuance of the titles means our lives have been extended to our future generation,” he said.
In requesting Musa for the appointment of a district native chief and the upgrading of the constituency here to a sub-district, Joniston said the number of tourists to the constituency doubled from 27,000 in 2015 to 54,000 last year.
“The population is about 50,000 and we have about 100 villages across the valley,” he said, adding that the issuance of the titles and plans to construct a new route connect Ranau to Telipok in Kota Kinabalu would see the constituency benefiting as it was located in the centre.
State Land and Survey director Datuk Safar Untong said between 2015 and last year, more than 2,000 plots of land had been surveyed in the constituency.
“Of the total, 1,043 titles have been prepared by 29 teams of five members from the department that conducted the survey on a rotational basis,” he said.
The Pantas programme has carried out surveys in about 100 villages in 20 districts across the state.