KOTA KINABALU : The 25-year wait for strata titles for residents of Kepayan Ridge (Phases 18 & 19 in 24 blocks) occupying 1,008 units will soon be over.
State Land and Survey Director Datuk Osman Jamal said the department was in the process of registering the parent land title with the Land Registrar.
"It is in the final stage. The land title is approved already and once it is registered, we can then process the strata titles. But the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB) has to submit the application for the said titles.
"From the day LPPB submits the application, and if everything is in order, we will issue the strata titles within three months," he said.
Osman gave the assurance during a courtesy call on him by newly-elected Api-Api Assemblywoman Christina Liew, Monday.
Also present were PKR Kota Kinabalu Division committee members, Dr C.Y. Vun, George Tan, Madeline Lee and Vivien Lee.
"What the department is doing is retrospective remedy. The land premium has since been settled, and we have now asked LPPB to submit the application for the strata titles," he said in reply to the issue raised by Liew in a Six-Point Memorandum submitted to him.
She called on the Land Office to issue the strata titles within the next three months, saying it was long overdue and she had been following the case since April 2009 when about 200 affected house owners sought legal advice from her.
When pressed for an answer for the long delay, Osman attributed it to non-compliance with the requirements of the Land (Subsidiary Title) Enactment 1972, Building By-laws and Town Planning on the part of the developer and LPPB.
At this juncture, Liew said in the course of her investigation, she found that LPPB had breached the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) in that the Authority had failed to apply for the subdivision of the parent title on the housebuyers' behalf.
Deputy Director (Development), Mohd Yusrie Abdullah, chipped in to say that sometimes the department even had to help the developer concerned to solve internal problems to which Deputy Director (Land), Lee Chun Khiong, said, "We are an all-rounder."
Also present was KK District Surveyor (Development Section), Rahim Kupun.
Copies of data on applications for subsidiary titles and their registration were distributed to all reporters.
Applications under process as at December 1, 2012 total 3,415 involving eight residential, commercial and residential-commercial projects in KK (3), Tuaran (1), Sandakan (2) and Penampang (2).
Some 7,230 subsidiary titles were registered from 1978 to 2010, according to Osman.
The breakdown: 1978-1979 (133); 1980-1990 (709); 1991-2000 (753); & 2001-2010 (5,635).
And as at December 1 2012, there was a total of 10,188 registered subsidiary titles in five districts (KK, Tuaran, Sandakan, Penampang and Tawau) encompassing 129 development projects.
Topping the list of issues is Liew's call to the Land and Survey Department to set up an online database on all land applications using the Internet system which links to all the land offices in Sabah.
"Apart from serving as reference, this can avoid overlapping of land applications by various parties over the same area of land. Besides, it can also easily trace abuse of the system, if any. It should be a First Come, First Served basis," she said.
Other issues in the Six-Point Memorandum are:
- Strict scrutinising of Power of Attorney (PA) by the Land Office.
- Putting in place a strict procedure to address the issue of people claiming to hold PA from the landowners and use such PA to lodge police reports that they have lost the original titles and then ask for replacement from the Land Office.
- The need to expedite issuance of strata titles for the shoplots in Asia City.
Owners are still waiting after 15 years.
- Sungai Koyah A and Kinabatangan Fasa I, II and III oil palm land issues whereby original settlers are now left in the wilderness as another group that applied for the same piece of land has obtained the title. It was announced by the Land Office that the land concerned is now in a joint venture (JV) with a company called Syarikat Bagus Maju Bhd.
On the question of overlapping, Osman said it was impossible for the department not to have any incidence.
"It's an open system and every year, we receive some 40,000 land applications which are computerised but we have the capacity to process only 16,000.
"Let me make it clear. While we computerise applications, we don't process them using the computer.
Where in this world do you have land application processing by computer?
"The end product is very important. Yes, we have a database but how fast we can approve, how fast we can survey and how fast we can issue the title is done manually," he explained.
As of last year, there were 280,000 land applications (cumulative figure), of which 69,000 were already processed, according to the Director.
"The staff worked day and night to get the work done. But only 30pc can get approved because the rest overlap. That's why we go for communal title. The people in the title are real people staying in the kampung. We make sure each of the beneficiaries is from the village, orang miskin (poor folks)."
Records show that between 2007 and 2011, 33 land applications were approved, involving 6,734 parcels.
Osman said land application matters should not be politicised because it is a collective problem and people must go to the Land Office."
He was responding to Liew who said people marah (angry) because they had applied for land but never heard from the Land Office.
"This is the feedback I got during the recent election campaign as I went on my rounds."
He took to task the allegation made by an Opposition candidate in the interior that SLDB rampas tanah (SLDB grab land).
"Mana ada rampas tanah (where got land grab)? What happens is that SLDB acquires land from the Government and in turn develops it as a joint venture exercise with the kampung people."
Lee, meanwhile, pointed out that computerisation of land applications started only in 2004.
"We are still updating land applications. It is an ongoing process. Still, it does not mean that everything is in the computer but new applications are OK."
At this point, Mohd Yusrie said certain quarters might have misunderstood the concept of computerisation to think that it could solve all land applications.
"No, it is only for the department to keep as processing is still done manually.
We have to go down to the ground. At times, the kampung people come to the Headquarters to ask about their land application (before computerisation).
Definitely, we don't have any record in the computer because the application was done manually then, so they have to go to the Land Registry to find out," he clarified.
As for the pending strata titles for Asia City shoplots, Mohd Yusrie said the problem was due to phasal development, changing of the Development Plan (DP) and having so many developers.
ACCORDING to Osman, from now, an application for native land does not require comments from the Agriculture Department.
"If land is available and the application is for agricultural purpose, then there is no need to seek the views of the Agriculture Department. We (Land and Survey Department) will approve accordingly.
"It's 15 acres for an individual application, and 50 acres for group application," he said, adding the Headquarters receives more than 3,000 such applications in a year. (DE)