Deputy minister: Amended Land Code will give comprehensive definition to the term ‘land’ in Sarawak

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Hasidah said the current term 'land' was defined when the Land Code was enacted in 1958 and needs to be updated and be aligned with the interpretations of other Malaysian laws. — Borneo Post pic
Hasidah said the current term 'land' was defined when the Land Code was enacted in 1958 and needs to be updated and be aligned with the interpretations of other Malaysian laws. — Borneo Post pic

KUCHING, May 18 — Deputy Minister of Law, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and State-Federal Relation Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali today said that the amendments to the Sarawak Land Code are to provide for a more comprehensive definition of the term “land” so that its statutory meaning is in line with those found in the Malaysian laws, such as the National Land Code.

She said the Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill provides for control by the government of spectrum in the airspace above land in Sarawak.

She said it is also for the control of any property in that airspace, including but not limited to spectrum, while also regulating the erection, maintenance and occupation of any structure in that airspace.

“It is also to make provisions for regulating the use of land both onshore and in the seabed which forms the Continental Shelf of Sarawak for the storage and capture of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases of any forms or descriptions,” she said when tabling the Bill in the State Assembly.

She said the amendments are intended to aid and facilitate the implementation of the state government’s Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030, particularly in relation to the establishment of a state-wide network of telecommunication infrastructures and services for adoption of digital technology and sustainable use of our land and natural resources in line with the commitment in taking measures to mitigate climate change and global warming.

Hasidah said the current term “land” was defined when the Land Code was enacted in 1958, which means that it has to be updated and be aligned or in line with the interpretations of other Malaysian laws, such as the National Land Code.

“For Instance, Section 44 of the National Land Code covers and includes the airspace above the land and under Section 75A, the State Authority in Peninsular Malaysia has the power to permit the use of airspace above state land.

“So the proposed amendments here would make the column of the airspace above the land falls within the definition of the term land,” she said.

“In other words, this will make the column airspace above the land part of the land,” she said.

“As a consequence, the state government will have control of the airspace and any matters in that airspace, such as spectrum,” Hasidah said.

She said the definition “spectrum” in the amended land code will have the same meaning as that assigned in the Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1988 as a continuous range of electromagnetic wave frequencies up to and including a frequency of 420 terra heights.

Hasidah said the amendments will enable the state government to ensure that spectrum in the airspace of land in the state would be regulated and used in accordance with plans for the establishment or improvement of state-wide telecommunication infrastructures to support the economic development of Sarawak under the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy.

“It is, therefore, proposed that rules be made by the State Cabinet to regulate the use of spectrum so as to meet the state government’s objectives,” she said.

The Bill seeks to amend Section 2 of the Land Code by expanding the definition of land in Sarawak.

Section 2(a)(ii) of the Bill seeks to define land as the earth below the surface and all rock materials, minerals and substances under the surface while section 2(a)(iii) defines land as all vegetations and other natural products whether on or below the surface.

The Bill also seeks to define land as all things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth; section 2(a)(iv) defines land as land covered with water within the boundary of state, and section 2(a)(v) defines land as that column of the airspace above the surface of the earth on the land.

Section 2(b) of the Bill seeks to define “carbon storage” to mean any cavity, well, structure, facility or plant built, installed or maintained on any land, whether on or below the surface, for the purpose of permanent storage, capture, retention, dumping or sequestration of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases of any form or description.

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