KUALA LUMPUR: Allegations that development in Kampung Baru will push the Malays out of the federal capital are completely baseless, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today as the government offered to buy land in Kampung Baru for RM850 per square foot from the owners.
The prime minister said the interests and position of the Malays would be the thrust of any development effort in Kampung Baru, as provided for under the Kampung Baru Development Corporation Act.
“The act itself states that the interests of Malays, in terms of social, economic, heritage, cultural and historical values, would be given priority in every development project implemented.
“I was also told that any development in Kampung Baru also needs to adhere to the stipulated Malay Islamic architectural guidelines.
“It means the development of Kampung Baru will take into consideration every aspect of its heritage and history. It will be preserved as a symbol of the Malays at the centre of the federal capital,” he said.
Mahathir was opening a town hall session via a five-minute video presentation for owners and heirs of Kampung Baru here today.
Mahathir said the idea to redevelop Kampung Baru had been discussed since the 1980s and 1990s and the government had also received feedback on the matter.
“Some are supportive and some are not. Unfortunately, after several decades, Kampung Baru is still like it was many years ago. It has displayed two conflicting faces.
“On one hand, it is the symbol of Malay pride in the federal capital and, on the other hand, while Kuala Lumpur has grown to become a metropolis, time has apparently stood still in Kampung Baru.
“The disorganised situation and congestion have made it unappealing,” he said.
To overcome the problem, Mahathir said it was necessary to redevelop Kampung Baru, otherwise the area would be squeezed by rapid development on all sides and become marginalised by the wave of modernisation.
He said a large portion of the Malays themselves did not choose to live in Kampung Baru and what was even more unfortunate was that foreigners were now living and carrying out business in the area.
“I assume the environment in Kampung Baru is no longer comfortable. As such, it is better if the area is developed and reorganised, complete with various public amenities and an efficient infrastructure network while the open spaces could be used for recreational and community activities.
“Obviously, many Malays will be interested to live here then and it will directly help to boost the appreciation of the property value here. Those who had left (Kampung Baru) may also consider returning then,” he said.
More than 3,000 Kampung Baru owners and inheritors attended the town hall session conducted by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.
Govt will compensate for both land and buildings
Khalid said the government’s offer to buy land in Kampung Baru at a rate of RM850 per square foot for redevelopment of the area was the highest so far and based on a valuation by the Department of Valuation and Property Services.
The need to maintain exclusive property ownership among the Malays was also taken into account.
“Apart from the value of the land, whatever structures or buildings on the land will also be valued for paying out the compensation.”
The government had previously announced that the redevelopment of Kampung Baru would include construction of high-rise dwellings as well as corporate towers and retail complexes.
Khalid said land owners could choose from four types of offers from the government — comprising cash, a completed apartment or condominium unit (to be constructed as part of the redevelopment), a combination of cash and a completed unit, and shares in a company which would serve as a special purpose vehicle in connection with the redevelopment project.
“The sale and purchase offers will be based on land lots,” he said, explaining that the government had stressed there would be no compromise in the preservation of Malay property ownership in Kampung Baru.
Khalid added that the redevelopment of Kampung Baru was seen as a conduit to expand property ownership among the Malays.