Yong: Returning the land to the school is the only correct thing to do

Returning the 7,200 sq. ft. of land to the Kota Kinabalu Chung Hwa Primary school is the only correct thing to do because the land will benefit Kota Kinabalu people as a whole, especially those residing in down town Kota Kinabalu. On the other hand, SUDC has a lot of other lands all over Sabah that they can develop. SUDC should also pay more attention to their abandoned project known as STAR CITY instead of laying their hands on a meagre 7,200 sq. ft. belonging to a school. KK Chung Hwa School is also a top performing school that deserves the support of the people and the government.

There is hardly any more space for educational purposes in down town Kota Kinabalu which was the reason for the granting of an adjoining piece of land alongside Jalan Tungku Abdul Rahman to the school years ago. On that piece of land now stands two school blocks which have benefited many pupils and families in the city.

This is not the first time that SUDC is involved in a “land grab” of a school. SUDC should learn from the controversial episode in 2002 when SUDC had also applied for another piece of land at Kolombong in KK. That piece of Kolombong land had in fact been approved earlier to the KK Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of the 3rd Chung Hwa school now known as Che Wah School. The SUDC land application for the same piece of land was 7 long years after the KKCCC school application.

The 3rd Chung Hwa school was urgently needed to be built because the other two Chung Hwa schools, at KK and at Likas, were already too congested. It was after much public debate that the school got back most of its land.

There are ample legal and policy reasons and justifications to let KKCCC get back its 7,200 sq. ft. at Kampung Air, KK. I recall two examples. One is the Ming Chung School at Mile 14, Jalan Labuk, Sandakan. 2.78 acres of that school, built in the 1940s when the exact boundary of the forest reserve was not clearly fixed, was inside the forest reserve. The then government did the most sensible thing to do, which was to degazette that 2.78 acres of forest reserve occupied by the school and allocated it to the school.

Another precedent is the overlapping land claims between a government company and the Lahad Datu Kwan Tee Temple at Lahad Datu town. That temple already qualified as heritage as it was already more than 120 years old at the time. The overlapping claim was resolved such that the temple got the land adjoining the old temple.

In both cases, as in this latest case between the KKCCC and SUDC, the small piece of land meant a great deal to the school for community purposes but makes no difference to the huge land bank at the disposal of SUDC.

 

Datuk Yong Teck Lee
President of SAPP, Ex-Chief Minister,  KK resident
Kota Kinabalu, Monday, 9 September 2019