Lower-income Malays at risk of being sidelined in Kampung Baru redevelopment

by MARK RAO/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE MALAYS in the lower-income bracket might be sidelined from owning any property in Kampung Baru should the government raise the offer price to acquire the land for redevelopment within the enclave.

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said any increase would inflate prices of buildings — homes, flats and apartments — in Kampung Baru in the long run, which would also be detrimental for future buyers.

“This will again cause the issue of us being unable to sell (the property). Kampung Baru is for the Malays. Not many Malays have that money,” he told reporters after officiating the Malaysia Medical Device Expo (MyMedex) and International Medical Device Conference (IMDC) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said if the offer price follows the valuations of land around the Kampung Baru area — some of which could go as high as RM7,000 per sq ft — the Malays will be excluded from buying land and property in the settlement.

“That is why we offer a special, cheap price. If (the landowners) sell the land cheap, we also can construct buildings, as well as apartments and flats, which are cheaper and more affordable for the Malays,” Dr Mahathir said.

Dr Mahathir was responding to reports that the PM will have the final say in the government’s offer to acquire the Kampung Baru plots of land after landowners rejected the previous RM850 per sq ft bid.

It is understood that the parcels of land will be sold to a government agency which will be tasked to spearhead the redevelopment of the area located in the heart of Malaysia’s capital city.

The project is also expected to revitalise the 115-year old settlement so that it is more reflective of the Malay community’s achievements and potentials.

The Federal Territories Ministry had proposed to acquire 825 lots under the Malay Agricultural Settlement, totalling 89ha, as well as 11 terrace lots in the Kampung Sungai Baru area, to facilitate the redevelopment of these lands.

The government is expected to pump in as much as RM10 billion as part of the redevelopment exercise.

However, the RM850 per sq ft offer drew criticism and scrutiny, with several quarters saying that the offer should be at RM2,000 per sq ft to reflect the valuations of the surrounding parcels.

“If our (offer) is based on market value, then the Malays will no longer enter Kampung Baru. If you want that, we will do that for you,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said MyMedex and IMDC would provide Malaysia further inputs and ideas on how to provide better healthcare and health services in the country.

“A contemporary health system relies on the contribution of human resources and medical technologies. Medical devices are one aspect of health technologies as they equip healthcare providers with tools to perform their functions effectively and efficiently,” he said in his keynote address.

He added there is also a need for a national system for the selection and procurement of these medical devices to address any safety and performance issues.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was also present to officiate the conference, said the event is aimed at providing networking opportunities for regulators and stakeholders to advance the medical device industry.

He said over 18,000 medical devices were registered with his ministry last year compared to the 6,032 devices registered in 2017.

“The increment shows that the medical device industry is developing rapidly and it is the ministry’s and Medical Device Authority’s purpose to ensure the safety and performance of these devices,” Dr Dzulkefly said in his speech.

He added that Malaysia can be recognised as a reliable medical device producer in the global market and has the capability to attract foreign direct investments to allow local players to partner foreign companies.

MyMedex and IMDC is held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre from yesterday until Oct 17, with around 150 companies from 20 countries participating and over 200 business matching opportunities expected.