No refund for land premium paid before revision in Sarawak

KUCHING: Landowners who have paid their premiums will not get a refund when the new rates come into effect on June 1, Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said on May 24.

"The revised policy is effective June 1 this year as announced by the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (on May 14 in Sibu), and as such there is no refund for premiums paid under the previous policy," he said in his winding-up speech at the State assembly here.

He said the revised land policy used fixed rates in the calculation of premium for renewal of land lease for residential, commercial and agricultural land without taking into account the balance term of the title.

Under the new rates, for residential usage, the premium for renewal of land lease for a terraced house was a flat RM1,000 per unit, RM3,000 (semi-detached) and RM6,000 (detached).

For shophouses, the rates are RM40,000 per unit in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu; RM20,000 for Sarikei, Sri Aman, Kapit, Limbang, Mukah, Betong and Samarahan and for rural towns of Lundu, Asajaya, Niah, Marudi and the like, RM10,000 per unit.

For agricultural land,the rates are RM5,000 per acre for town land, RM2,500 per acre for suburban land and RM200 per acre for country land. The new policy will cover renewals for 60 years.

"The implementation of the revised policy will greatly benefit all house owners as it [rate] is the cheapest and lowest among all the states in Malaysia and is considered very reasonable," Awang Tengah said.

The state's previous policy involved the calculation of premium based on a percentage of the market value of the land.

Awang Tengah said the rates were the lowest compared with those of the other states, states ruled by the opposition such as Penang and Selangor.

Citing an example, he said the land premium for a terrace house in Sarawak was RM1,000 per unit for a renewal of 60 years and RM1,300 for 99 years compared

with Bayan Baru and Batu Maung in Penang where a house owner would have to pay

RM8,700 to renew the lease of a terraced house in Bayan Baru with a remaining term of 18 years, and RM13,200 in Batu Maung.

He challenged the Penang government to come up with better premium rates, claiming that all it did was to make empty promises.

He said the government's policy on renewal of land leases was carefully drawn up with due regard to the interest of the landowners and the overall interest of the development of the state. -- Bernama

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