C4: Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve area mysteriously smaller by nearly 1ha



PETALING JAYA (April 4): The Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) has called for greater scrutiny over sale of government land, saying there were suspicious land deals that have led to the encroachment of the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve (BNFR).

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel, in a statement today, refers to a recent statement made by the Federal Territories Minister, Khalid Abdul Samad, in which he spoke about Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) buying back a piece of 0.27ha land from a private who had applied to develop it.

When asked about the cost of the buy-back, Khalid said: “Within the RM100mil range. We have to be fair to the landowner and go by the market value of the land as it is located right smack at the foot of Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.”

Cynthia  says that C4 are “extremely concerned with the recent developments surrounding the DBKL land acquisitions and/or sales to private developers, where a lack of clarity and opaque explanations from the current FT Minister, have left the current status of the land deals appearing suspicious.”

In the statement Cynthia says that C4’s research into the matter has revealed that the BNFR has mysteriously shrunk from 9.37ha to 8.39ha.

The Edge reported in Sept 2017 that Shenzhen-based property developer, China Vanke Co Ltd (Vanke) won the tender for a 7.4 acre tract in Jalan Raja Chulan, close to the BNFR. Vanke, through a locally incorporated company, Malola Garden City Sdn Bhd (Malola), paid only RM500 million or RM1,600 psf for the 16 plots of prime tract, which is well lower than deals executed for nearby parcels — at between RM2,000 and RM2,400 psf.

C4’s executive director says that a search on the OSC Portal indicates that Malola had sought planning permission from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in July 2017 and received DBKL’s conditional approval in August 2017, and a search on the BNFR on the Federal Territories Director of Lands and Mines Office reveals two cancellations for portions of  public reserve, the first being 0.717 ha and the second 0.265ha from two of the 16 plots.

This reveals the 0.982ha reduction of the BNFR, said the statement. 

Calling for better accountability and transparency, C4 urged FT Minister Khalid Samad to answer the questions raised by C4.

“If indeed the previous government had cancelled part of the public reserve, how was this possible without public consultation and the involvement of relevant authorities such as Forest Department and JWN?” Cynthia asked in the statement adding that it needed to be clarified if the transfer of government land had been done through open tender or direct negotiation. 

As the suspicious land deals occurred during former FT Minister, Tengku Adnan‘s tenure, who has since been charged with two counts of receiving RM3 million from property developers, the group urges further scrutiny of the deals, along with details of impact of the project on the BNFR, the environmental impact as the project is next to a slope, as well as the impact on the transportation and traffic system. 

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