Abdul Karim (right) presents a cheque to one of the landowners during the handover ceremony.

KUCHING: The government will always strive to provide fair and reasonable compensation to landowners whose properties are affected by development projects, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He assured that any land acquisition was done in accordance with the provisions of the State Land Code (Chapter 81) and Article 13 of the Federal Constitution.

“No one shall be deprived of his property except by law. No law can provide for the compulsory acquisition or use of property without adequate compensation,” he said during a handover ceremony of compensation to villagers of Kampung Sambir, Asajaya whose lands were acquired by the government for a pilot village extension project.

Abdul Karim said the lands acquired by the government was for the ‘Sambir Village Expansion Project’, to provide residential lots with basic amenities such as roads, drainage systems, water and electricity supply.

“All these are to meet the growing population, while also meeting the needs of low-income people with no land of their own,” said Abdul Karim, who is also Youth and Sports Minister and Asajaya assemblyman.

The Kampung Sambir development scheme will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 will comprise of 112 residential lots, three acres of government reserves, a surau, and an open space.

In Phase 2, there will be 132 residential lots and facilities for cottage industry and Lock-up shops.

Abdul Karim thanked Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for approving the project, the first of its kind in Sarawak, and would benefit the locals, especially villagers of Kampung Sambir.

He said there were no issues in the acquisition of land and payment of compensation to villagers affected by development projects because the state government had always fulfilled its obligations in promoting the development of public utilities for the local people.

He emphasised that the state government had always strived to maximise the pace of development for the convenience and wellbeing of the people, including those in semi-urban and rural areas.

“The state government’s efforts to fasten the pace of development in rural areas are in line with the intention of making Sarawak one of the developed states in the country.

“We would like to thank all the landowners involved in this project for their unwavering support and cooperation given to the government during the land acquisition process,” said Abdul Karim to the 15 landowners who were present to receive their compensation cheques.

Also in attendance were Land and Survey Department director Abdullah Julaihi and superintendent of land for Samarahan Abang Jamalidon Abang Ullie.