Govt to preserve Malay ownership in Kg Baru

by AFIQ AZIZ & SHAZNI ONG / pic by TMR FILE

THE government assures that the status of Malay ownership in the Kg Baru redevelopment plan will be preserved, as it considers raising multibillion budgets through municipal bonds or attracting foreign investments such as from China and Qatar.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said the government will brief all landowners of the Malay enclave on its redevelopment plan and it is also looking to finalise the exact investment of the project after a town hall session scheduled this September.

“All of these options are possible in the final analysis. However, on whichever option is the best (for us), the main condition for the redevelopment is to maintain the preservation of Malay ownership,” Khalid said.

“On which is the best option (bonds or foreign investments), I have not gone to the detailed study as yet. Because the first stumbling block that I have to go through and overcome is the agreement with the owners,” he added.

Currently, a government agency — Kg Baru Development Corp (KBDC) — is mediating the project through land amalgamation, as well as facilitating between developers and parcel owners in redeveloping the village.

Unveiled in 2015, the original Baru Redevelopment Blueprint is a 20-year project that includes the construction of 17,500 residential units — to accommodate up to 77,000 people — with an estimated cost of RM43 billion.

However, it was reported that the mechanism still could not resolve the long-delayed redevelopment, due to the mismatch in land valuation, as well as land title issues.

“The main stumbling block is still to get the agreements from all the landowners. So in this case, if we can get them to understand and come to an agreement among themselves, on why we need to redevelop Kg Baru and the fact on how they are going to benefit from it, then we could implement it,” Khalid said.

“We hope that by September, we can get the actual picture and status, as we also need to know how much we need to pay, how many people would want to sell and write off their property, and how many people would opt to trade their lands with the units of the new redeveloped houses.

“So, that will account to the calculations. Once we know the actual financial requirements for the purchase of the land, then we can plan the cost. Ideally is to get 100% of all owners to agree, but if we can’t, we may have to consider the question of forced acquisition, which we are also not in favour of,” he added.

In April, the federal government had decided to raise between RM6 billion and RM10 billion on the whole redevelopment initiative.

Khalid stressed that the funds for the project would not be an issue for the government, as long as landowners would agree to the redevelopment plan.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) had earlier reported that the redevelopment joint ventures involve various property developers and some 5,000 landlords who own 1,355 lots, where most of them had inherited them from their ancestors.

Late last year, the Pakatan Harapan government restructured KBDC’s members and released fresh questionnaires to about 5,700 registered heirs and landowners.

As of December, the agency managed to send about 5,697 survey forms, in which 1,287 of them have responded, covering 89.8ha of the Malay Agricultural Settlement designated land, as well as about 800 units of flats (8.1ha).

There were the areas that the government had decided to redevelop, from the total of Kg Baru area of 121.41ha.

According to Khalid, so far, 80% from the total respondents have agreed to sell their land to the government, based on fair price value.

In January, KBDC CEO Zulkurnain Hassan told TMR that the mismatch of land value between property developers and parcel owners was quite significant.

“While landowners thought their lands could be valued at the same price as the KL City Centre which is worth thousands of ringgit, on the case of a willing buyer and a willing seller basis, the Kg Baru area is about RM500 to RM650 per sq ft,” he said.