Huazong cautions against call to reclaim Malay Reserve Land occupied by non Bumiputera
The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has expressed concern over the call urging the government to reclaim all the Malay Reserve Lands that had been leased to or occupied by the non Bumiputeras.
Its President, Tan Sri T.C Goh cautioned that such a call, if entertained, may have a far-reaching adverse impact on racial harmony and national economy.
He said, while he’s not against the government converting government land into Malay Reserve Land when such need arises, it should not reclaim those Malay Reserve Lands which had been leased to non Bumiputeras for commercial development purpose.
He also reminded that land matters and policies come under the jurisdiction of state government, and they varied from one state to another. Hence the Federal government should take this factor as well as the nation’s multiracial setup into serious consideration, when handing such a call.
He further noted that, in Malaysia, Bumiputeras or Malays have more options and opportunities to own land as compared to the non Bumiputeras as, besides the Malay Reserve Land, they can also purchase the freehold land.
Goh said this while responding to the call made by leader of the Malay Reserve Land core group, Che Ibrahim Che Idris, at the recent Bumiputera Economic Congress, urging the government to reclaim all the Malay Reserve Land that had been leased to the non Bumiputeras. Che Ibrahim said such a move is necessary in view of the fact that the size of the Malay Reserve Land in Peninsular Malaysia has been reduced to 31.66% of the total land size of Malaysia.
He reiterated that while he’s against such a proposal, he was nonetheless not against the government’s move to replace the Malay Reserve Land which it had acquired through compulsory acquisition, for public purpose, with the same size of government land, in order to maintain the size of the Malay Reserve Land in the country.
He went on to note that our national land policy, which also covers the Malay Reserve Land policy, was established since the colonial era, before formation of the country. But, over time, things have changed significantly with each state now having its own unique land conditions.
He cited for example, some states had during the exercise of drawing Malay Reserve Land included lands which were occupied by non Bumiputeras; notwithstanding, these non Bumiputeras occupants were allowed to continue to occupy the said lands all these years, whether for residential or other purposes. However, they started to face problems when they intended to transfer or dispose of the landed property to another person, a non Bumiputera especially.
He observed that all these while, many state governments had resorted to land swap approach when they acquired any Malay Reserve Land for public use, hence it had not affected the Malay Reserve Land.
“There could be some shortcomings in some states in this regard which thus caused the so-called diminishing of Malay Reserve Land, as claimed by certain quarters recently, which certainly worth looking into by the government,” he said.
Goh also opined that the state governments should be more flexible and sensible when it comes to deal with Malay Reserve Land, especially those which are located in prime areas, in order not to lag behind economic development.
He then pointed out that in some states which possessed sizable Malay Reserve Land, especially in the urban areas, it has caused drastic increase in prices of non Bumiputera land and property, something which is worth looking into by the government.
“Another issue worth looking into is the existing ‘Bumiputera Lot Quota’, which varies from one state to another, that gives Bumiputeras special privilege to purchase landed property at a special rate which non Bumiputeras are not entitled to,” he added.
He underscored that the call for non Bumiputeras to return the Malay Reserve Land which they are occupying to the government is a very complicated issue with potential far-reaching implications, hence it should be carefully threaded by the government.