Use RM10b to address national issues instead of Kampung Baru

The quantum for Kampung Baru redevelopment amounts to one-sixth of the country’s national health budget


THE government should not use billions of public funds for the redevelopment of Kampung Baru, instead should channel the money to provide more affordable homes, reduce the high cost of living and address the nation’s debts.

Bumiputera Economic Action Council (MTEM) CEO Ahmad Yazid Othman said the estimated RM10 billion to redevelop the Kampung Baru land should be used to build facilities required by the bottom 40% income group.

He said the estimated quantum for Kampung Baru redevelopment amounts to one-sixth of the country’s national health budget and can be used to build more than 30,000 affordable houses.

Putrajaya plans to build 100,000 homes priced below RM300,000 within this year.

“The government should not use their resources or the public’s money on Kampung Baru at the moment. We are having many problems with the economy, especially in homeownership.

“That should be the main focus at this time. Prioritise the majority of the people,” Ahmad Yazid told The Malaysian Reserve in a text reply.

Last week, the government proposed to acquire the land in Kampung Baru at an offer price of RM850 per sq ft. Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad proposed to acquire some 825 lots under the Malay Agricultural Settlement (MAS) land totalling 89ha and 11 terrace lots in the Kampung Sungai Baru area.

Divided into four zones, Kampung Baru comprises about 120ha of land, largely with MAS status in the 115-yearold neighbourhood. The ownership of the area is restricted for Malays.

The offer was made during a townhall gathering attended by about 2,500 residents and landowners last Saturday.

The offer price was worked out by the Valuation and Property Services Department. The landowners were also offered four compensation options — cash, ownership of a completed house, a combination of cash and house, or become a shareholder in the project.

Khalid said the redevelopment of Kampung Baru would involve 45,000 units of residential premises, half of which would be affordable homes.

But many landowners had decried the offer, saying the price offered was far lower than their valuation.

Some landowners had demanded a price of above RM1,000 per sq ft.

Khalid said he would bring up the matter to Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Khalid also hit back at Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, claiming the former PM failed to name the land price in his nine years as the country’s leader.

Ahmad Yazid said the government should take more time to address the Kampung Baru redevelopment issues.

“I think there is no rush to resolve the Kampung Baru issue. Take more time. Let solve the more critical issues like housing and cost of living. We need to set our priorities right.

“We can build 33,000 affordable houses or dozens of hospitals and upgrade facilities with the money. This will also stimulate the economy at a greater scale, rather to just disburse to some 5,000 owners,” he said, adding that there is also a need to re-evaluate the way of transforming the Malay enclave into a modern city.

“As a caveat, Kampung Baru is very important and symbolic to the Malays and its agenda. It should remain a Malay Cultural and Economic Centre in the heart of the city,” he added.

Kampung Baru Development Corp former chairman Datuk Affendi Zahari proposed that the government focuses on developing ample affordable homes, rather than pushing the Kampung Baru owners to agree with their plan.

He said it may be ideal for the issue to be solved swiftly, but the more urgent issue is to provide ample shelters to the needful group in the country, including in Kampung Baru.

“If the government already has the plan to build 22,750 affordable houses in Kampung Baru, perhaps they could start with that and prove their seriousness in filling up Kampung Baru with the Malays,” Affendi said.