Freeing up land for development

  • Property
  • Thursday, 21 Nov 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry is planning to open up wakaf and baitumal land in view of demand to “free up” land for developmental use.

This will be done via the Akta Pemajuan Tanah Islam, which refers to Islamic land development act, according to deputy minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah.

He was speaking to reporters after his keynote address at the Housing Conference 2019 here yesterday.

The event was organised by the Rehda Institute, the education and training arm of the Real Estate & Housing Developers Association (Rehda).

Kamarul said the new act would oversee the freeing up of wakaf and baitumal land and their usage. The act will provide the mechanism and structure of how these types of land – which are syariah-compliant – can be put to commercial use.

The ministry will announce the freeing up of both types of land for commercial usage possibly in January, Kamarul said.

He said there are two types of wakaf land namely wakaf am (general wakaf) where the land is used education purposes or other community usage and wakaf khusus (special wakaf) for religious use.

There are 30,000ha of wakaf land in Peninsular Malaysia. Wakaf is state land.

A lot of prime land in and around cities and big towns in Peninsular Malaysia, particular those in the east coast comprises wakaf land, according to Kamarul.

“The government has decided it is time to free up these types of land. The move is commercially viable and practical,” he said, adding that it can be used for commercial, residential and integrated development.

He said baitumal land refers to land given or bequeathed to Baitumal, a sort of foundation or fund, which receives money or real estate from their owners.

The ministry is currently collecting information the number, size and location of baitumal land in the country.

The move to free up baitumal land was brought up two to three weeks ago and more research and studies are necessary.

StarBiz research showed that this is not the first time underdeveloped wakaf land is freed for development. UDA Holdings Bhd, under UDA Waqf Sdn Bhd, has developed a few pieces of wakaf land in the country.

According to UDA website, wakaf is a voluntary charitable endowment in the form of cash, property or land for syariah-compliant purposes.

UDA said the development of underdeveloped land improves the socio-economics of Muslims as it allows them to benefit and participate in economic activities.

At the same event, Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia president Lillian Tay Wai Fun said land cost is the elephant in the room when it comes to property development.

“We control cement, sand and steel prices but not land cost. This is the biggest elephant in the room.

“Land cost is one-third to 40% of the gross development value (GDV) in the city centre. The issue with land cost is that it has a cascading effect which leads to high property prices,” Tay said. She was a member in a panel discussion “Key Levers to Enhanced Affordability - Time for Action”.

The proposal to develop wakaf and baitumal land came soon after government decided to develop Kampung Baru, a 121ha site about 500 metres from the Petronas Twin Towers. Kampung Baru is Malay Reserved Land. The redevelopment of Kampung Baru has been brought up previously but did not take off under the previous government.
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wakaf , baitumal , land , development


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