KUCHING: The amendment of Section 3 of the Local Authorities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, was to allow the local authorities to exercise its duties and functions over native land, and not to venture into commercial businesses.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the proposed amendment gave native status to local authorities listed in the Schedule for all purposes under the Land Code.
However, in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting on Monday, the members of the opposition attempted to portray that the amendment was intended to allow the local authorities to venture into commercial businesses over native land.
“This was never the intention of the government,” he clarified in a statement after the tabling of the Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the August House.
“In fact, the main objective of this amendment is to allow the local authorities to acquire and use native land to exercise its duties and functions under the Ordinance such as carrying out and implement any works, projects and schemes within the jurisdiction of the local authorities.
“These include public playgrounds, public libraries, markets, sports centres, nurseries or any other public amenities as allowed by the ordinance for the benefit of the people in those areas and of course the people of Sarawak at large.”
Dr Sim also said the good intentions of the government to bring more developments to the rural areas and providing better facilities and infrastructures should not be politicised by anyone, including the opposition.
“More developments to the rural areas will enable local authorities to provide better services to the people,” he added.