Government and golf club in battle over precious land

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Nov 8 — The federal government has initiated legal action to gain control of some 330 acres of prime land worth an estimated RM5 billion that is currently leased to the elite Subang National Golf Club (Kelab Golf Negara Subang — KGNS) here.

The move could reinforce perception that the government is strapped for cash and comes after Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah said that the government was looking at monetising its assets including land to help fund expenditure and controversies over “land grab” by the authorities in charge of building the new MRT system.

A view of the golf club. — Picture courtesy of
The golf club, which is seen as an iconic institution for those living in and around the township of Petaling Jaya, was opened in 1968 and entered into a 99-year lease arrangement for the land with the federal government in 1971.

The Malaysian Insider understands that discussions over the status of the land have been going on for several years but things came to a head when the federal government decided to file a lawsuit in August asking KGNS to pay market rates to buy the 330 acres of land which sits squarely in the middle of both established and rapidly developing areas such as Subang Jaya, Ara Damansara, Kelana Jaya and Bandar Sunway.

When KGNS first moved to the present site, the land was far less valuable as it was in the middle of rubber estates and former tin mining land, and the golf club today with its matured landscape presents a much appreciated green lung in the burgeoning Kelana Jaya area.

The legal suit has also given rise to speculation that the land has been earmarked by the government for sale to developers to build high-end properties.

Numerous politically-connected businessmen live in beautiful mansions opposite the club and could be opposed to any move to intensify development in the area.

A club committee member, who declined to be quoted, told The Malaysian Insider that the club has filed a defence stating its historical position and its willingness to pay for the land but not at market rates.

When contacted in London, KGNS president Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said the club was negotiating with the government for a long direct lease and that it was also offering senior government officers membership at reduced rates.