KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Lands and Surveys Department says that the 177 land titles handed over recently for federal purposes were those approved before 2016, with most already developed with schools, hospitals and other public facilities.
Its director Bernard Liew Chau Min said this following criticism by Sabah Parti Warisan Wira chief Datuk Azis Jamman, who slammed the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government and questioned the move to "give away" huge swaths of land.
Liew also clarified that the total acreage of lands involved were 519.44ha and not 1,933ha as reported on Thursday (Feb 18).
"Land titles handed over on Feb 18 were lands for federal purposes acquired by way of the land acquisition process and lands that were approved before 2016 and premiums were fully paid.
"Most of the land was already constructed with schools, hospitals and other public facilities.
"Land titles granted to federal agencies were meant for building of public facilities such as schools, hospitals, police stations and post offices, meant to provide services to the public," said Liew in a statement on Saturday (Feb 20).
Azis in a statement on Friday (Feb 19), said while they do not object to the building of such infrastructure, he claimed that the Federal Government already possessed a lot of land in Sabah.
He questioned why more state land was given away when many areas already alienated to federal agencies had been left idle for many years, and at the same time the GRS state government continued to neglect locals who have yet to own land.
In a separate statement, Tawau Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia division chief Datuk Nizam Datuk Abu Bakar Titingan claimed Azis' statement was an attempt to politicise the issue.
"Azis knew very well that most of the land titles handed to federal agencies on Feb 18 had already been developed with existing public facilities," said Nizam.