KL City Plan 2020 will guard against developer abuse
KL City Hall

By FARA AISYAH & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR

Kuala Lumpur (KL) needs an authoritative master plan that is watertight against unscrupulous title transfers and dubious land deals to ease land exploitation, according to property consultant Knight Frank Malaysia.

Its MD Sarkunan Subramaniam said exploitation would be harder to execute once the KL City Plan 2020 (KLCP2020) has been designated and gazetted.

“The government must first gazette the local plan. Even Putrajaya was gazetted.

“So why KL, the capital of Malaysia, still does not have its local plan? Changing a forest reserve land for commercial use is much harder to do if the local plan was gazetted with clear zoning,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Contentious land deals in the 243 sq km capital, and home to the most expensive private and commercial properties in Malaysia, had angered the majority of its 1.7 million population.

But such transactions are hard to prevent without a city plan.

KL City Hall (DBKL) unveiled the draft KLCP2020 in May 2008.

However, after 10 years, the local authority is still amending the proposal based on feedback from the Public Hearing Committee, workshops and latest government policies.

Last Thursday, two DAP MPs filed an official complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the sale of 64 land plots by DBKL to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) between 2013 and 2018.

The total 424.29-acre (171.7ha) land deals, an area that could fit 63,450 parked cars, were transacted for a total consideration of RM4.28 billion.

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng had claimed that the land deals were done without open tenders and were transacted below the market price.

He also noted that less than half of these transactions went to public housing under Rumah Wilayah Persekutuan (Rumah WIP), with the rest ending up in the hands of developers for high-end developments. Lim called for these luxury developments, which had already started, to be halted.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also lodged a similar report with the MACC against YWP over the Taman Rimba Kiara development, which had stirred anger among residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

Yeoh had demanded former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to explain the sale of the Taman Rimba Kiara land.

Tengku Adnan, who was also YWP chairman, had denied the foundation’s involvement in the 12-acre deal, according to a report by Malaysiakini.

A check by TMR on the YWP website showed the absence of Tengku Adnan as the board members’ page is being updated.

Among the land deals listed involving YWP are a 0.51-acre land in Taman Tun Dr Ismail sold for RM11.58 million and earmarked for a mixed development project, a 0.76-acre plot in Taman Desa (RM11.17 million/263-unit of serviced apartments) and a 0.9-acre land in Bukit Jalil (RM14.4 million/954-unit of serviced apartments).

On claims of the discrepancies in terms of the values, Sarkunan said one must not assume that deals were transacted below the market price as there could be deferring circumstances of encumbrances and restrictions. He proposed the parties to get more than one property valuers to look at the figures, including all the restrictions.

LaurelCap Sdn Bhd property valuer Kit Au Yong said it is important to study each deal individually.

“Some of the details I would look at would be ownership of land, approval for the type of development, premium and development charges imposed, and any other contractual obligations on both sides (seller and buyer),” Kit said.

Another industry expert suggested for the authorities to relook meeting minutes, the sale process and the decision makers. The property expert said there are ways to bend the rules to boost profit for such land deals, including to change a project’s initial plan from low density to high density.

“Developers can make money by requesting for high-density projects, on the grounds that it is also providing Rumah WIP.

“So, for example, if the development has 50 Rumah WIP units and 200 condo units, DBKL will have to increase the density of the project,” the source said.