Tradewinds to swap land status in Langkawi

PETALING JAYA: Tradewinds Corp Bhd has followed the precedence set by DRB-Hicom Bhd in swapping its Malay reserve land status in Langkawi Island with comparable non-Malay reserve land on the mainland at a conversion rate of RM5 psf.

The proposed exercise, which is to enhance the value of the land in Langkawi, will see the status of 43.6 acres (17.4ha) under Tradewinds in Langkawi to be converted to non-Malay reserve status.

Apart from that, Tradewinds also has an option to convert the status of another 119 acres in Langkawi with land in Kubang Pasu measuring 126 acres. The entire exercise will see the state receiving RM37.4 million in conversion fees based on RM5 psf.

Tradewinds announced to Bursa Malaysia yesterday that through its subsidiaries THR Hotel (Langkawi) Sdn Bhd and Benua Mahsuri Sdn Bhd, it entered into agreements to exchange its land status with Northern Gateway Free Zone Sdn Bhd (NGFZ) at a ratio of 1:1.05 acres.

NGFZ is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northern Gateway Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benua Bayu Sdn Bhd, a company linked to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary. NGFZ is the owner of the land in Kubang Pasu that Tradewinds is swapping the status with.

It is proposed that the Malay reserve status of THR Hotel land in Pantai Chenang, Langkawi measuring 6.9 acres be swapped with about 7.21 acres on the basis of 1:1.05 acres in Kubang Pasu. The land status swapping will cost THR Langkawi RM1.57 million.

Benua Mahsuri, on the other hand, will swap the status of Malay reserve land of 36.7 acres in Padang Mat Sirat that it has leased from Lembaga Pembangunan Langkawi (Lada) with about 38.5 acres belonging to NGFZ in Kubang Pasu. The swap will cost Benua Mahsuri RM8.39 million.

This is the second time a company linked to Syed Mokhtar has swapped its Malay reserve land in Langkawi with comparable land elsewhere in the state.

Last December, DRB-Hicom exchanged its Malay reserve land in Pulau Rebak Besar, Langkawi with NGFZ’s tract also in Sungai Laka, Kubang Pasu, for RM76 million cash at a conversion rate of RM5.23 psf.

Effectively, the swapping is a way for DRB-Hicom and Tradewinds to enhance the value of their land in Langkawi as it allows non-Malays to acquire properties developed on these parcels. Usually land with Malay reserve status carries less development potential as the sale of property is restricted.

In DRB-Hicom’s land status swap agreement late last year, it said that to attract high net worth investors for the development of Rebak Marina, it has to convert the Malay reserve status into an open status land.

Similarly, Tradewinds and Benua Mahsuri plan to develop the land after getting the status changed.

In this respect, Benua Mahsuri said it intends to develop the Lada land to enhance the value and will submit an application to the state to de-classify the Malay reservation status of the Lada land.

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