17 New Posts Of Various Grades Approved for Non-Islamic Affairs Unit, To Be Headed By A Director

THE state cabinet has approved the creation of 17 new posts of various grades for the Non-Islamic Affairs Unit this year.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the full-fledged unit, equivalent in status with other Units in the Chief Minister’s Department is headed by a director.

Now, we are in the process of recruiting the staff to fill all the approved posts, Uggah, who is the minister-in-charge of the Unit said in his ministerial winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.

According to him, the main function of the new unit includes to evaluate, propose and formulate policies, laws and regulations with regard to Non-Islamic religious affairs in the state.

Additionally, Uggah said the other functions of the unit are to act as a focal point for the various religious bodies to liaise and interact with the state or federal government agencies such as with regard to their application for land for the construction of buildings and to promote religious harmony in the state.

Thus far, he said the unit has received eight approvals for land application for the construction of various Non-Islamic religious institutions.

We have been processing 30 applications for funding for both new construction and maintenance of building.

On the issue of native customary rights (NCR) custom of pemakai menoa and pulau galau, Uggah said the government was addressing the issue.

The government has set up a taskforce headed by myself to recommend an amicable solution. The task force has conducted several consultations with various stakeholders. Uggah said the next meeting of the task force will be held on May 25.

On the topic of accelerating native land development, Uggah said the government has formulated various policies and programmes to improve the livelihood of the rural communities.

For this purpose, he said the NCR land development concept which is a joint venture (JV) between the private sector and the NCR landowners, was introduced and implemented.

The landowners have benefited from the existing joint venture model particularly through the introduction of New Incentive Payment Scheme in 2015.

However, Uggah said his ministry felt that further improvement ought to be made to the existing NCR-JV model to bring forth greater benefits to the landowners.

For this reason, my ministry is proposing the Leasing Model as alternative development model to complement the existing JV model. He said the proposed Leasing Model will be based on an agreed fixed monthly rental per hectare between the landowner and the investor.

Under this arrangement, payment of rental will commence from first year of planting and continue over the lease period of 60 years. Uggah said the Leasing Model will ensure immediate, consistent and sustainable returns to NCR landowners.

This is a good and practical model to accelerate NCR land development. One of the critical components of the Leasing Model is the quantum of rental which should be acceptable to both the landowner and the investor.

Source: Borneo Post Online