Will justice be served in Kg Sungai Baru?

SECOND eviction notices have been served to the owners of homes in a contentious multi-billion ringgit mixed-development project in Kampung Sungai Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

The owners have been told to vacate by October 4.

The project began in 2016. In January, the prime minister ordered it to be postponed pending negotiations witth stakeholders. However, to date no government agencies have reached out for engagement sessions. 

The notice issued by the Kuala Lumpur land administrator stated that homeowners living on government land without permission is an offence under section 425(1) of the National Land Code. The offence is punishable by a maximum fine of RM500,000 or jail of up to five years.  

In February, the prime minister’s aide said he had met with all the stakeholders, including the residents, developer and the Titiwangsa MP. He said the information he had collected would be presented to the prime minister but no deadline was indicated.

There are 264 units of PKNS flats and 64 terrace houses on 5.23ha of leasehold land owned by Perbadanan Pembangunan Kampong Bharu (PKB). Eighty-eight per cent of the flat residents and more than half of the terrace homeowners want renegotiations with the developer, which has invoked the Land Acquisition Act in 2021.

In a news report after the new eviction notices were served, the prime minister’s aide said it would not do to ignore the interests of the majority of residents who had moved out and were waiting for their new homes.

“The development project will continue. Indeed, we are aware that the land acquisition process did not follow the correct procedure. However, things have happened and we can no longer pull the brakes because this happened six years ago and many who have moved are still waiting for their homes,” he said.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

PKB has yet to respond to requests for comment.

It is an injustice to push the project through knowing the developer did not follow procedure.I would urge the prime minister to take another look at this contentious issue as this not in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto to equally apply the rule of law to all.

We do not want a repeat of the Taman Rimba Kiara case, in which the authorities tried to bulldoze through a project. In a landmark decision, the Federal Court had quashed the development order issued for the project. 

There are many selfish developers with an unquenchable thirst for profits. They will continue to seek opportunities. The authorities who should not only be the gatekeeper but also the steward to ensure sustainable development. 

Many have been shortchanged and the government has a duty to correct this.

In August, the prime minister called for a stop to the practice of soliciting and paying commission for the execution of development projects, including housing. He said the government has set new conditions for construction of housing projects, which he said must be balanced.

Will the Madani concept be applicable in Kampung Sungai Baru?

What say you… – September 18, 2023.

* Saleh Mohammed reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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