Long-awaited redevelopment plan hit a snag on massive land title issues and mismatch in valuations
By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR
The Kampung Baru Development Corp (KBDC) is expected to present a fresh proposal for the redevelopment of the Malay enclave, which has been for decades embroiled in ownership tussles and contentious development agreements.
KBDC CEO Zulkurnain Hassan said the new proposal, which is a result of a survey conducted by the board in November, will be brought forward to the government by the end of this month.
The survey is part of KBDC’s initiative to restart the resolution of the long-awaited redevelopment plan after it hit a snag, mainly due to massive land title issues and mismatch in price valuations.
“Prior to this, we had only received negative feedback rejecting the redevelopment plan. However, we feel that the sessions were represented by just a handful of them (residents).
“The silent majority may also have their own views, but they just kept quiet. That was how the survey came about,” Zulkurnain told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview yesterday.
KBDC underwent a reshuffle after the 14th General Election, which saw the addition of 10 new board members including former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang as chairman. His predecessor Datuk Affendi Zahari left in August to make way for the restructuring process.
Zulkurnain said Ambrin had chaired three board meetings since his appointment in October and tasked the agency to conduct a comprehensive study on the plan.
He added that the survey, which is part of the comprehensive study, also served to gauge the sentiment of the Malays in loosening up the Kg Baru “Malay Agriculture Settlement” (MAS) status to allow non-Malay buyers to own properties there.
It is learnt that such a move would curb overhang property worries among developers.
“After we present these data to the Federal Territories Ministry, it is up to the government to decide on the next course of action,” he said.
Established in April 2012, KBDC was entrusted as the coordinator, facilitator and prime mover to transform the heritage village into a modern “21st century Kampung Melayu”.
The 20-year project, which sits on a 121.41ha plot of land, includes the development of 17,500 residential units to accommodate up to 77,000 people with an estimated cost of RM43 billion. It was expected to be completed by 2035.
KBDC has to negotiate with more than 5,000 landowners involving 1,355 lots, whereby most of them had inherited the lots from their ancestors, in order to acquire the parcels.
Zulkurnain said several engagements were conducted between KBDC, developers, landowners and other stakeholders before this, but the agency found out that the sessions did not represent the real aspiration of the Kg Baru residents.
As such, KBDC had released the questionnaires to about 5,700 registered heirs and landowners.
Zulkurnain said the questionnaires also cover the residents’ views of the activation of the Land Acquisition Act 1960, which would allow the government to take over their properties forcefully.
“We have about 8,000 names for the land that sits under the Kampung Baru MAS and three flats areas. Of the total, more than 2,000 names do not have the proper address and identification numbers, and we have to exclude them.
“Hence, we only send 5,697 survey forms. However, 1,200 of the forms did not reach the recipients due to wrong address or because they are deceased. As a result, only 1,287 of them have responded so far,” he said.
The survey covers 89.8ha of MAS designated land, as well as about 800 units of flats (8.1ha).
Zulkurnain suggested that any further residents’ engagement, including the proposed Kampung Baru Development Congress, may only be held after a firm decision by the government.
He is also confident that the data collected by KBDC would be enough to represent the voice of Kampung Baru residents.
“The Department of Statistics Malaysia only use a minimum of 10% respondents to represent the whole data, while other parties set a benchmark of 20%.
“As for us, ideally we want to get a 100% feedback, but we cannot force people to take part in the survey.
“However, we already have more than 20% of the total number of respondents. That should be enough,” he added.