‘Carrot and stick approach’

Representatives from various technical agencies present at the briefing to answer questions by operators. — Photos: SAM THAM/The Star

ILLEGAL factory landowners and operators in Selangor have been given a second chance to legalise their business.

The state government has introduced a second exercise for legalisation after finding the first exercise as not effective enough.

Every operator has to register their premises and business between Oct 1 to Sept 30 next year.

The second exercise replaces the first one held between July 2006 and December 2015.

State land and district select committee chairman Lau Weng San said the new exercise was modelled after the leasehold status offer for residential properties.

“The state government is taking the ‘carrot and stick’ approach in getting illegal factories to legalise their premises.

“It also offers incentives to those who pay the premium for land conversion.

“Action will be taken against those who fail to submit their application, including land seizure, ” said Lau, urging factory owners not to engage unauthorised agents or middlemen to handle their applications.

Lau, who is also Banting assemblyman, said the state government revised the legalisation programme, taking into account issues such as multiple landowners for a single site, land setback and premises that are occupied by tenants, and not landowners.

“I urge landowners and factory operators who have not legalised their premises to submit their applications as soon as possible.

“If they don’t do that, they can expect the full force of the law after the deadline is over.

“There is ample time for them to start applying now, or hire a registered consultant such as a town planner to assist with their applications, ” he told reporters after a town hall briefing to about 200 factory operators on the new exercise.

The briefing was jointly organised by the Kuala Langat Land and District Office and Kuala Langat District Council (MDKL) at the MDKL sports complex in Banting.

Kuala Langat deputy district officer (Land) Nur Afizah Ahmad briefed attendees on the revised legalisation exercise, such as the process, incentives and enforcement measures.

Based on a census from November 2018, there were 2,885 factories built on 2,638 agricultural lots throughout Selangor.

To date, only 630 factories have successfully been legalised by getting the necessary approvals to change their land status, planning permission and building plan.

Lau added that the offer is applicable only to factories that are on the illegal factory inventory list and have been in operation before August this year.

“This exercise is not applicable to newly opened factories or business operators. It is also not applicable to illegal plastic waste or recycling facility operators that had their businesses sealed off during the recent government crackdown, ” said Lau.

Registered landowners can legalise the land either by reverting the land status according to its category and condition as stated in the land ownership, or changing the land usage condition as per the provided sections under the National Land Code (KTN) 1965.

A discount will be given to those who are able to pay the full premium to convert the land status from agriculture to industrial.

The discount ranges from 30% for those that pay within two months to 10% for those that pay within six months.

Those who are unable to afford to pay the full premium can opt to pay only 10%, but the land will be under the registrar’s caveat.

Action will be taken by the land office under Section 127 and Section 130 of KTN 1965, as well as by the local authority under Act 172 and Act 133 of the Town and Country Planning Act and Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

Enforcement action will be implemented on illegal factories located within and outside industrial zones, as well as those located on government reserve land, particularly those built on river and road reserves and open spaces.

Lau said the select committee tabled a report at the state assembly that included proposals to address the failures of the previous legalisation exercise.

“One of the major root causes is that there was no strict enforcement after the deadlines were over, resulting in the lack of motivation for the operators to legalise their factories.

“Some submitted their applications but didn’t complete the process, while others were not even interested in submitting, ” he said.

Those who fail to legalise their operations after the deadline will also face fines of RM500 and an additional RM100 per day from the cut-off date.

In a worst-case scenario, the Land and District Office could seize the land of those that fail to follow the law.

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