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Warisan 'will get back Felda land'
Published on: Sunday, March 18, 2018

Opposition Parti Warisan claims millions of ringgit could have slipped through the coffers of the State Government as a result of a lop-sided deal with Felda, whereby the original aim of resettling the landless failed.

According to a statement, Felda with a land bank of more than 500,000 acres in Tungku, Lahad Datu, had been raking in an untold amount of profits which rightfully belonged to the people of Sabah.

Warisan Sabah President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said putting right this wrong would be among the priorities if his party wins the forthcoming general elections.

Warisan would get Felda to revert to the original intentions of the agreement or return the remaining land to Sabah, he said, after a meet-the-people gathering at Kg Pinangah, near here.

He said he was given to understand that when the State Government provided the land to Felda, it was on the understanding that the government linked company would develop it with oil palm and create a resettlement scheme for Sabah's landless.

"The grand scheme was to cater for 40,000 settlers but since 1979 to 1982, Felda has only successfully resettled 1,647 settlers, accounting for a mere 25,000 acres," said Shafie.

"The question is what happened to the balance portion of the land. Felda has developed the area with oil palm and the profits derived have gone to Kuala Lumpur all these years, hardly benefitting the State.

"By right whatever land that was not used for the resettlement scheme should have been returned to the Sabah Government.

"Our state-owned agencies also have the expertise to develop it into oil palm plantations."

Shafie said he raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday and hoped the relevant Ministry would be able to provide firm answers to his queries and come up with a suitable solution.

The Semporna MP also questioned the price disparity of oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) between Sabah and the Peninsula.

FFB in Sabah and the Peninsula both have an oil extraction rate (OER) of 20 per cent yet the price difference is RM68 per tonne simply because it is accorded Grade A in Semenanjung and Grade C in Sabah.

Due to this discrimination and, hence, price disparity, Sabah lost a whopping RM133 million in sales tax of 7.5 per cent for just 2017.

Shafie also said Kuamut like many other rural areas in Sabah experienced land ownership problems and pledged that within 100 days of coming into power, Warisan would do away with Communal Titles.

"We will, instead, give individual land titles to the people." The gathering was organised by Parti Warisan Sabah Kuamut coordinator, Norfaizah Chua, the sister of former Berjaya Assistant Minister, the late Datuk Malek Chua.

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