Date Posted: 10 Sep 2008
KOTA KINABALU: The State Agriculture Department Sabah has confirmed that Kampung Kopimpinan Gana, Papar has been earmarked as a Permanent Food Production Park under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).
Its director Datuk MC Ismail Salam in confirming this yesterday said the project would involve the planting of high quality food plants and crops.
He, however, stressed that the project was still at a very early stage and his department had yet to determine the type of food produce, food plants or crops suitable for the area.
"Today, we are here just to survey the area," he told New Sabah Times yesterday when met at the village accompanied by Dzulkifli Ghulamdin, assistant Director of the Entreprenuer Development Section.
His visit was prompted by the recent appeal by the Village Security and Development (JKKK) Chairman Benedict Bototol for the relevant authorities to be transparent with their plans for the 1400 acres of land there.
Ismail also went on to assure the villagers that they would be considered for participation in the project.
Meanwhile, Benedict said he welcomed any development in the village, especially if it involved the villagers to improve their standard of living.
"We hope that whatever project the government has will be a win-win situation for us and will not displace us. We also want all villagers and land applicants to be involved in the project, which should benefit us," he stressed.
He said another dialogue with the relevant authorities - District Office and Agriculture Department - would be held soon for them to disseminate information about the project, villagers' participation and benefits to the villagers.
Benedict had recently voiced his concern about the general lack of transparency on the authorities' part concerning Kg Kopimpinan Gana's status.
He said he was optimistic when informed by Papar MP Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin that the land applications were in the ‘last stages of process.'
"However, when I followed up the application's status at the Land and Surveys Department office in Papar, I was informed that the land cannot be ‘given' out (‘tidak boleh kena kasih') as it is a government land," he said.
A letter was later sent from the office, stating that the area had been earmarked as a Permanent Food Production Park, a project under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).
The Kg Kopimpinan Gana land issue stemmed from the dissatisfaction of the 200-strong land applicants who had sent in their land applications more than two decades ago but had yet to receive any reply from the land office.
Some of the applicants had set up home in the area since the 1970's but only sent in their land applications in the 1980's.
(Source: New Sabah Times, 11 Sep 2008)