KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 – Finding a solution to the land issue of Kampung Sungai Baru, Kampung Baru here continues to be the main focus of the four candidates who are vying for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat, one of the ‘hot’ seats in the 15th general election (GE15).

Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the seat, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said he will create a group of lawyers to represent the 89 per cent of Sungai Baru Flat residents in Kampung Sungai Baru who agreed to move and signed an agreement to do so voluntarily.

“The remaining 11 per cent (residents) cannot do anything because developers have used the Land Acquisition Act 1960 to take over their houses and I also do not want this to happen to the Jalan Tun Razak PKNS Flats,” he said when met at the Jelatek People’s Housing Programme (PPR) here.

He said that when he became the Member of Parliament for Titiwangsa in 2017, a developer came forward to establish cooperation with the residents of the Sungai Baru flats to redevelop the area but he did not agree because the developer was not very convincing.

The former Second Finance Minister said the BN government had never used the Land Acquisition Act to acquire the land of the residents of the area.

Previously, 37 Kampung Sungai Baru terrace house owners tried to defend their land from being taken over by developers for the area’s redevelopment project while the Office of the Director of Lands and Minerals of the Federal Territory (PPTGWP) agreed that the land acquisition should continue because the process had been carried out properly and the majority of the residents had agreed

According to PPTGWP, the redevelopment had been approved by the majority of the residents of the area involved and a joint venture agreement has been signed between owners of 192 flat and 27 terraced house units with the developer.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Khalid Abdul Samad presented a different approach to resolve the issue if PH succeeds in forming the government, which is to cancel the gazette that uses the Land Acquisition Act 1960 and restore the policy of ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ with reasonable values.

The former Federal Territories Minister said the offer price of RM1,000 per square foot for the land involved in redevelopment in the area is relevant and it will also be maintained.

Khalid, who is also Amanah communications director, added that for the Kampung Baru land issue, he thinks that the government itself should buy the entire land because it is a special area that can use government allocations.

“It is an investment and not a loss. When the government buys (the land), (the) landowners can buy affordable houses that are in oversupply in the market (using the money),” he said.

Likewise, Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) candidate Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan vowed to work hard to cancel the gazette imposed through the legal system if elected as the area’s representative.

The Federal Territories Pejuang information chief said he had offered free legal services to the residents of Kampung Sungai Baru last June to seek a judicial review, but the matter failed after the intervention of several parties.

“The acquisition of the land (using the Act) of the residents is illegal. The land is privately owned grant land and it is against the law. In addition, there is also an element of misconduct in the redevelopment project,” he said.

Thus, Khairuddin, who is also the husband of actress Datin Seri Umie Aida, said that he and the residents’ association in the area had lodged reports with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police in June.

Although not directly involved in the issue before like these three candidates, Dr Rosni Adam, who is contesting the seat on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket, intends to use an Islamic approach in addition to the laws to resolve the issues facing the residents if elected as MP for Titiwangsa.

The PAS Central Working Committee member said that although there laws regarding the matter, he prefers to look at them from an Islamic point of view that emphasises land laws, inheritance, faraid and so on.

“In Islam, this land problem is a big problem. (It is) inheritance land, you can’t take people’s land arbitrarily, it has a very big impact or even a sin. I think the best solution is the Islamic solution by getting a win-win situation,” said the dentist.

Rosni, the only woman candidate in the four-cornered fray, who did not agree with the use of the Land Acquisition Act which was used against the 11 per cent of the residents who refused to move out, said she would be the best intermediary between the various parties involved so that their fate would be better protected.

The constituency has 80,889 registered electors.

In GE14 in 2018, Datuk Seri Rina Harun of Bersatu won Titiwangsa on a PKR ticket with a majority of 4,139 votes, defeating Johari (BN) and Mohammad Noor Mohamad (PAS).

Early voting is on November 15 and polling on November 19. – Bernama