KUALA LUMPUR: There is a need to change the law on land ownership restriction in Kampung Baru to allow non-Malays rent or occupy properties there.
Real estate consultancy Rahim & Co Chartered Surveyors Sdn Bhd executive chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Rahman said since it was gazetted as a Malay Agriculture Settlement (MAS) reserve on Jan 12, 1900, land or properties built in Kampung Baru could only be occupied or sold to Malays.
He said the law not only restricted the sale of properties to non-Malays but also disallowed them from renting or occupying the premises there.
“This has made Kampung Baru hard to develop as the market is restricted. The other shortcomings are the small size of the lots, averaging 10,000 sq ft each, and the multi-ownership of the lots.
“That is why despite its strategic location in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Kampung Baru has been left undeveloped all these years,” Abdul Rahim told StarBiz yesterday.
On Feb 6, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that Kampung Baru would be redeveloped.
Najib said the residents and landowners would have their rights to determine the form of development that suit their needs.
In early June, Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin was reported as saying that Rahim & Co would be appointed to prepare a proper and fair valuation of the land in Kampung Baru.
Abdul Rahim, who is also a senator, said the redevelopment should be undertaken in a holistic manner with a well-thought-out masterplan.
“There must be a strong political commitment to ensure its success. I understand (a proposal on) the setting up of Kampung Baru Development Corp will be tabled in Parliament soon to seek its approval.”
He said Kampung Baru, the last remaining low-density and historic neighbourhood in the middle of KL, had a total of 378.93 acres, of which 225.89 were under the MAS.
The remaining 153.04 acres are on non-MAS land. There are about 4,300 lot owners on both the MAS and non-MAS land.
To kickstart the development, Abdul Rahim said it was necessary to identify a central core area of 10 to 15 acres to be developed into office buildings.
This is to house government entities such as Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Mara, banks and government-linked companies.
There should also be supporting facilities like retail complexes, hotels and shops.
At a rental rate of about RM4.50 per sq ft, he said it would translate into a net return of 7% to 10% a year for the office building owners.
“Instead of developing the whole area concurrently involving more than 4,000 landowners, it will be more viable and manageable to start with a core area.
“Once the core area is successfully developed, it will encourage other landowners to participate in the development of the surrounding areas,” he added.
Abdul Rahim said the MAS land was now being occupied by seven villages – Kampung Periuk, Kampung Masjid, Kampung Atas A, Kampung Atas B, Kampung Hujung Pasir, Kampung Paya and Kampung Pindah.
The non-MAS land consists of seven sub-areas in Chow Kit, Dang Wangi, Sultan Ismail, Kampung Sg Baru and PKNS Flat.