Villagers told to use vacant land for profit-making ventures

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Land owners in the state are advised to turn their vacant lands into profit-making ventures such as plantations or participate in government projects as beneficiaries.

Assistant Minister of Housing Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said land owners must value their land and refrain from making quick gain by selling it.

“Villagers in sub-urban and rural areas must hold on to their land or else there is nothing left for them in future,” he said at the meet-the- people session at Kampung Empila, some 30km from here, yesterday.

He said the state government had in the past granted land to villagers hoping it (land) would be used as a profit-making platform.

However, as the years went by, the land, he said, were sold off to people outside the village causing most of them (land) to be left vacant and undeveloped.

“They are what I call ‘absentee land owners’ as they are not from the village and are living in other places such as Kuching or Sibu,” said Abd Karim, who is also Asajaya assemblyman.

To discourage the sale of these state granted lands, the state government had applied a stringent buying and selling process which involved approvals from the relevant departments and ministries, he added.

On a related note, Abdul Karim said the price of land in Asajaya had increased by three-fold over the years, with an estimated price of no less than RM50,000 per acre today.

“This is the good thing about owning land as its price will not go down but instead, increase every year. Do not think of making quick money but instead think ahead, say 50 years in the future when your future generation is able to tap into the land’s potential,” he added.

Meanwhile, the event yesterday also saw Abdul Karim handing over 152 certificates to participants of ‘Projek Ladang Rakyat’ — a palm oil smallholders programme under Land Custody and Development Authority (Pelita).

Each participant also received RM1,690 in dividen and incentives from the total profit of RM256,901 recorded last year. The dividends, he added, would be disbursed in three phases.

Projek Ladang Rakyat manager Saiful Bahari Ramly, who was also present, meanwhile said the whole project spanned 20,344 hectares involving 12,000 participants at 25 projects sites across the state.

The village development committee chairman Alik Lias and other community leaders were also present at the function.