Land Acquisition Act to be enforced to take over Kg Baru?

Another stalemate can be expected as the land is of smaller plots that are scattered in separate locations

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by TMR FILE

THE government is currently in the middle of sourcing legal advice on the Land Acquisition Act 1960 (LAA) — hoping to expedite the proposed Kampung (Kg) Baru redevelopment project — as the struggle to get 5,374 landowners to agree to the acquisition package continues to move uphill, sources close to the matter revealed.

Land valuers told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the long-awaited redevelopment project would be further delayed if the LAA was not enforced.

“I think it is at the very early stage for now, but legal advice is being sought for an early preparation if such an act is needed later by next year,” the source said.

While Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad recently said 95.3% of the 2,200 Kg Baru descendants had given positive response to the government’s survey forms, another stalemate could be expected as the land they own consists of smaller plots that are scattered in separate locations within the enclave.

“Unless all of the 2,200 owners hold the land that could be amalgamated, the government would have no choice but to opt for forced acquisition,” one valuer said.

Kg Baru Development Corp (KBDC) chairman Tan Sri Ambrin Buang recently admitted in a text reply to TMR that most of the plots viable for redevelopment as agreed by the owners are currently scattered. He, however, refused to comment further.

As it is, the 2,200 owners who have agreed to the government’s acquisition package of RM1,000 per sq ft represent only 40% of the total 5,374 names that are listed as heirs to the plots of land and properties in Kg Baru.

The latest price offered by the government is RM1,000 per sq ft, 15% of which will be in the form of shares in a special-purpose vehicle which will be established to facilitate the redevelopment.

Earlier, the government offered the owners RM850 per sq ft, a price that was greeted by huge objections among the owners, who claimed that the right numbers should be between RM1,000 and RM2,000.

Following the latest offer, Khalid decided that no more survey will be conducted after Nov 30, 2019.

Instead, he said the project prime mover, KBDC, has been given six months to persuade and explain to the remaining owners on the redevelopment strategies, before Putrajaya could come out with a detailed plan by June next year.

One land valuer, who was involved in the Kg Baru Detailed Development Master Plan in 2015, said the “persuasive” approach might not get the desired results as the 120ha of Malay enclave is facing multiple land ownership.

TMR had earlier reported that for any commercial development in Kg Baru to be viable, it must reach a minimum of 0.68-acre (0.28ha) land plot, to satisfy 1:10 plot ratio that was set by the government.

A plot ratio cap sets out the maximum area of developable space which can be constructed on a specific plot of land.

A limit on that cap would aim to control the rapid increase of additional developments into an already-saturated market.

Under the LAA, the government can take over land for the purpose of redevelopment, which will be acquired at market value.

“Following that, landowners can seek judicial review if they are not satisfied with the purchased value, while any unsettled land entitlement will be then handled by Amanah Raya Bhd.

“Landowners will have to prove that they are the landlord,” one valuer said.

In a press conference last month, Khalid reiterated that Putrajaya had no intention to use the Act if all landowners understood and agreed with the development plan.

However, he also said the government would think of “other approaches” in its effort to obtain the agreement of all the owners of the land in Kg Baru.

“We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” Khalid reportedly said on Nov 29.

At press time, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan had not responded to TMR’s query.