Land disputes a big hurdle to Kg Baru redevelopment

(FMT) – Kampung Baru, one of the oldest Malay settlements in Malaysia, has many “deep-rooted” problems that will not end with government’s latest offer of RM850 per square foot, said an administrative body for the area.

Kampung Baru Malay Agricultural Settlement (MAS) honorary secretary Shamsuri Suradi urged the government to do a feasibility study before embarking on the ambitious plan.

Some landowners have died while many others are embroiled in decades-long inheritance disputes, with a sizeable number having not even registered for land deeds, he said.

A total of 5,374 landowners own the 846 private parcels that sit next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers building.

“It is not an easy task as some owners have died and the infighting between family members continues,” Shamsuri told FMT.

He also asked what the government plans to do with land parcels without any titles.

Shamsuri said some owners have spent millions building their three-storey or four-storey homes and the government will have to compensate them adequately.

“These people have taken loans and they will be heavily in debt if the government doesn’t offer them a tidy sum,” he said.

Shamsuri asked Putrajaya to go to the drawing board to list down each problem, talk to stakeholders, including MAS, before going ahead with their plans or “they may face an uphill task in solving the problems”.

Former Titiwangsa MP Johari Abdul Ghani expects a backlash from landowners.

“Owners may not sell at RM850 psf. It will depend on the location of their land,” he told FMT.

Yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad organised a townhall session with Kampung Baru residents and descendants to get feedback and offered them the new price offer and development plans.

However, some of the descendants said they would not settle for anything less than RM1, 000 psf.

Kampung Baru was gazetted on Jan 12, 1900. It covers 120ha and is around three times the size of the land of KLCC, with six integrated villages.

These are Kampung Periuk, Kampung Masjid, Kampung Atas (A and B), Kampung Hujung Pasir, Kampung Paya and Kampung Pindah.

Khalid has been looking to seal the deal by having everyone on board to finalise the redevelopment within the ministry’s self-imposed deadline of June next year.

The ministry is also seeking to get titleholders to sign sales and purchase agreements by September next year.

He announced that a separate assessment will be offered for the buildings on the land.