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Joy for new villagers as Selangor state gives titles
21/05/2009 The Star Stories by GEETHA KRISHNAN

THE land ownership issue affecting thousands of families in hundreds of new villages throughout the peninsula is still not resolved after more than 60 years.

According to the New Villages Master Plan Village Survey (2002-2003) commissioned by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, there are 450 new villages nationwide, comprising those set up during the 1948-1960 Emergency under the Briggs Plan to quell the activities of communist insurgents and the pre-Emergency and post-Emergency Chinese villages.

Selangor has 42 new villages, categorised as kampung baru (6), kampung bagan or fishing village (19) and kampung tersusun or planned village (17). Many of these villagers are still waiting for land titles, whether freehold, leasehold or even temporary occupation licences (TOLs).

Selangor can lay claim to having the largest new village (Ampang) and the most developed new village (Serdang) in the country.

The Selangor government has decided that the new villagers should not be made to wait any longer on the land ownership status, and has embarked on measures to resolve the issue.

Sought after: The land where many new villages in Selangor were established has now become prime land for development.

It is kickstarting the process, starting with the land and district offices where the files are kept, by reopening the files to review, reorganise and update the documents and records from the Emergency.

According to state new village development and illegal factory task force committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah, 10 new villages are in the process of obtaining leasehold titles.

‘’Among them are Kampung Baru Gurney in Ulu Yam, Kampung Baru Sungai Macau in Hulu Langat, Kampung Baru Kundang in Kundang and Kampung Baru Sungai Besar in Sungai Besar,’’ he said.

“More new villages are being targeted as the state wants the villagers to own the land they have occupied for decades. Obtaining freehold titles is difficult but we hope to look for provisions under the National Land Code or the State Land Code,” Ean Yong said.

At the moment, there is no consistent land policy on the new villages and the state authorities can only alienate land in perpetuity under three conditions under Section 76 (a) of the National Land Code.

Finally: Kampung Bukit Angkat resident Saw Kim Teng, 66, could not pay the quit rent back in 1990 and only received his 5A form this year.

Land leases are usually given for 60 or 99 years with quit rent charged at 50 sen per sq ft (0.3 per sq m) and RM2.50 per sq ft (0.3 per sq m) respectively.

Ean Yong also said that the state government was looking into the plight of more than 50% of the fishing villages which were without the TOLs.

He said each TOL was usually for a two-year period and renewable, but the state government was considering extending each TOL to a renewable five-year period.

“The problem with fishing villages is that almost all of them are located at river reserves, preventing the state from issuing freehold or leasehold titles. Relocating them is out of the question as some of these villages are between 80 to 100 years old,” he said.

Ean Yong said upgrading the present infrastructure was perhaps one good way of elevating the status of the fishing villages.


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