Thursday, June 23, 2011

DUN (Day Two): Amendment LCDA Bill passed despite objections from the oppositions

Amendment Bill passed despite objections
Posted on June 23, 2011, Thursday

KUCHING: The Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) (Amendment, Bill 2011) had been passed in the DUN despite strong objection from the opposition members.

The State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting afternoon session yesterday saw 11 members of the August House – eight from BN, two from DAP and one from PKR, participating in the debate on the bill.

Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing (BN-Baleh) said in the winding up speech that the amended bill would help the state government in further developing the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

He pointed out that the state government had faced various challenges in their efforts to develop NCR land because of its huge size as well as the substantial capital needed.
He said the state government was obliged to take care of the interest of both investors and land owners.

“Of course no solution is perfect. There are weaknesses (in government policy), no doubt.

“However, the government is constantly finding ways to improve it. We will put a stop to the idea of NCR-Joint Venture Concept, but a lot of thoughts must be put in,” he said.

He revealed that the government had applied for fund from the federal government to develop several projects on NCR land.

On the dividend paid out, Masing stressed that the calculation by Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek) that NCR land owners only received 17 sen per hectare was not correct.

He said Wong had included the NCR land that have yet to be developed into the calculation.

“So far, some 55,000 hectares of NCR land have been planted with oil palm. Some have produced fruits while some have yet to. The state government is trying its very best to increase the dividend paid out to landowners,” he said.

He also took the opportunity to advise NCR landowners not to simply withdraw their decision for any joint-venture development with private sector.

“After the native community has decided on a joint-venture they should not simply withdraw their decision. If you keep on breaking it (promise), no one will want to work with us in future,” he stressed.

In the DUN sitting’s morning session, Masing explained that the amended bill would help to address the deficiency in the existing provisions of the Ordinance, improve investors’ confidence and to provide a more effective mechanism for resolving any dispute and misunderstanding between the parties involved.

The amendment would accurately reflect the role and functions of LCDA in the implementation of the government’s new concept of NCR land development.

It would also extend the native status conferred on LCDA to any company incorporated by LCDA, provide adequate safeguards for the interest of both LCDA and the genuine participants through mediation and arbitration.

Masing said the new concept of NCR land development would help to raise the standard of living of landowners.

“It will also help to transform idle, under-utilised and nonproductive NCR land into an economic asset by consolidating the lands into large scale commercial plantation through private sector funding as well as to diversify the rural economic base,” he added.

He pointed out to date, 31 joint venture companies had been formed to develop a total gross area of 412,219 hectares and 55,987 hectares had been planted with oil palm.

No comments:

Post a Comment