Front page lead of the Daily Express today reported three land applicants having filed a suit at the High Court in Tawau yesterday against the entire State Cabinet Ministers headed by then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan during the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) tenure of State Government (1985-1994).
The plaintiffs are Nasir Manaf and Wong Chaw Yen of Lahad Datu and Henry Apok of Menggatal.
Pairin is the first defendant while the second to ninth defendants are Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Datuk Ahmad Bahrum Titingan, Datuk Kadoh Agundong, Datuk Tan Kit Sher, Datuk Nahalan Damsal and datuk Chau Tet On.
The defendants are being sued for allegedly not implementing a New Land Alienation Policy which was formulated by the previous Chief Minister Datuk Harris Salleh of Parti Berjaya (1976-1985).
Harris had on Dec 4, 1979 announced that his government had reserved 906,930 acres of State land to be given to landless Sabahans at 15 acres each of which the plaintiffs were among those who had registered for the promised lands.
The plaintiffs are now claiming that instead of implementing Harris'policy, the PBS Government were said to have alienated 856,484 acres of the land the outsiders.
Nasir, Wong and Apok are now seeking court declaration that the alienation of the land to outsiders were illegal, null and void as well as a breach of contract of the New Land Alienation Policy.
The are claiming now to be given 15 acres each of the promised lands by the defendants in default paid damages of RM75,000 each.
It is interesting to note that three of the defendants are now presidents of their respective political parties.
Pairin is Deputy Chief Minister and is PBS president, Dompok, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department is president of UPKO while Kurup, the incumbent Assemblyman for Sook is PBRS president.
All three will be contesting in the March 8 general elections.