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MPHB's appeal over Pengerang refinery land acquisition dismissed

PUTRAJAYA (Jan 22): The Federal Court's five-member bench yesterday dismissed MPHB Capital Bhd wholly-owned subsidiary Kelana Megah Sdn Bhd's final appeal over the acquisition of its land by the Johor state government and Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to host the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project.

The case involves seven parcels of land measuring 2,800 acres that the company alleges were acquired at 93 sen per sq ft (psf) as assessed by a government valuer — a mere fraction of the RM5.30 psf appraisal by its valuer.

Thus, the company is claiming over half a billion ringgit, which is the difference between the valuation and the RM115 million Petronas had paid for the land.

The appeal was dismissed by a panel chaired by Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, and she also ordered Kelana Megah to pay RM60,000 costs to Petronas and the administrator of the land.

The other members of the bench are Federal Court Justices Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Datuk Mohd Zawawi Mohd Salleh, Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim.

When contacted by theedgemarkets.com, counsel Khoo Guan Huat, who acted for Petronas and the land administrator, confirmed the news.

Meanwhile, Kelana Megah was represented by Robert Lazar.

In 2014, Kelana Megah sued the Kota Tinggi district land administrator and Petronas over the compulsory acquisition of its land, claiming there were breaches of the Federal Constitution, Land Acquisition Act 1960 and the National Land Code 1965.

The Edge Malaysia had exclusively reported that the civil suit had been struck out while the land reference issue was heard yesterday.

The land reference proceedings initiated by MPHB is to object to the award of land by the land administrator and to seek a fair market value for the seven parcels.

MPHB had alleged that its land parcels were unlawfully acquired by the Johor government at 93 sen psf despite there being an agreement between the latter and Petronas to purchase the land at RM8 psf.

The 2,800 acres constitute about 45% of the total land acquired for the Rapid project.

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