Originally published by The Sun
Lease Land Poser
- Maria J. Dass
PETALING JAYA: Leasehold property owners in Selangor are worried over an ambiguous statement in the state's draft structure plan 2020 which implies that expiring leases in old town centres will not be renewed.
This, according to the plan, is to accommodate new development and re-development of existing townships that are old and congested.
Residents in the affected areas want the state government to explain policy FZ20 in the draft plan, so as to allay fears over security of tenure.
The statement proposes that areas in towns which are old and congested and those which are nearing their lease expiry should be redeveloped.
Residents say the vagueness of this clause causes banks to recall loans or to reject loan applications for leasehold property.
About three years ago, residents in Section 1 of Petaling Jaya faced problems when lease extension applications were met with premiums as high as RM100,000, which many of the residents, especially retirees, were unable to pay even after discounts were given.
Some of these leaseholders' problems have yet to be resolved to this day.
This planned re-development of leasehold land in the draft plan is in addition to proposals to identify idle land in townships for development purposes and the conversion of buildings for more sustainable and economic uses.
The draft plan spells out plans for re-development in Petaling Jaya and Subang in anticipation of a population increase.
The Petaling district's population is projected to increase from 1,254,846 in 2000 to 1,999,860 in 2020.
Petaling Jaya Section 5 Residents Association's legal adviser and planning lawyer Derek Fernandez said the draft plan's proposal that leasehold land may be redeveloped is ambiguous and if not clarified, could lead to a collapse in the state's economy as banks will freeze loan applications for leasehold property.
"The plan has a substantial impact on the value of life, property ownership and the environment of the Selangor people," he said.
Derek also said the process of drawing up a 2020 structure plan is flawed as the procedure should adhere to guidelines of the National Physical Plan which has yet to be made available.
It was also legally wrong for amendments to be made to the 2010 state structure plan which is still in force, he said.
It also seems like developments are being planned in areas which are already saturated instead of working on concerted efforts towards turning Sepang into the second Klang Valley, he said.
"Now we have a policy which encourages more and more people to move into Klang Valley by planning more growth in an area which is already saturated."
Re-development of saturated areas is not the answer as it leads to other problems like environmental degradation, drop in productivity and poor health and social standards, said Derek, adding that the emphasis of the structure plan should be on improving the standards of the living environment of people in the state.
When contacted, assistant state executive councillor Datuk Lee Hwa Beng said residents should not be unduly worried.
"When leases expire, the land rightfully returns to the state but usually a renewal of lease is given in most cases," he said.
"Residents don't have to be unduly worried unless there is a change to be made to the land use. If this happens, the people affected and the state assemblymen will be informed and consulted."
For clarification, residents can attend a briefing on the Structure Plan 2020 by the state authorities at the Subang Holiday Villa at 9.00am on Aug 3.