Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kg Baru redevelopment: The Paradox

The redevelopment of Kampung Baru will proceed soon. DBKL is pushing ahead with the project and will spend RM236mil to upgrade the pedestrian walkways.

Thereafter, the development will encroach into the Malay heartland and the people within will be influenced to accept the change - destroy the old, and built a new cityscape; destroy the original, and replace it with a modern cityscape.

Former Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Suleiman Mohamed insists that Kampung Baru must move with the times to progress and modern development would help upgrade the lifestyle of the residents.

“Traditions and sentimentality are fine, but the residents must understand that for Kampung Baru to progress, the residents must embrace change,’’ he said.

Change is imminent; but will it be a change for the better or worse? This is the dilemma!

The Malays in Kampung Baru have to think carefully, think deeply and think broadly about this change which once it is agreed upon and contract is sign and works begin, then if any risk event takes place which are not foreseen at this stage the outcome may be insurmountable and fatal.

Ponder, Ponder, Ponder!
Risk, Risk, Risk.
Reward? Reward? Reward?

Development is surely good and once Kg Baru is redeveloped the land will fetch a high premium. The current price of land there may be valued around RM30-RM50 per sq ft. Once developed with a new city skyline the land price may shoot up to RM1,000 per sq ft. But, by then, the people of Kg Baru would not be the owner of the land anymore; it would probably be acquired by DBKL or the private developers and it is they (the new owners) who would reap all the benefits and reward of the new land price. The Kg Baru residents would probably have opted to trade-in their land in exchange for a condominium and some cash (sufficient for them to buy furnitures and renovate their new home). They could only stand and stares at the land and say to their grandchildren: "Dulu tanah ini hak Tok. Sekarang sudah tak da." The grandchildren would then asked: "Kenapa Tok jual tanah yang molek ini? Sekarang kami tak sanggup beli balik hak ini lagi."

Once development gets underway, the bungalows and shophouses would be demolished and highrise buildings and skyscrapers will be the new skyline.

The cost of redevelopment and the cost of procurement of the rights to the redevelopment would be more than RM1 billion. Who could afford to pay such sum? The big time guys! Who are they? The Chinese and the foreigners!

With such massive investments, the developers must get sufficient buyers for those properties. The price of the properties will not come cheap; each apartment or each condominium units, each office lot or retail space will cost RM700,000 and above; it could even be as high as RM2mil for each strata title. Who could afford to buy them? The residents would have opt out of the land or would have acquired a condominium unit in exchange for the land. But the residents are a small population as compared to the vast development. The development needs a lot of buyers; anyone who can afford to invest and buy them; anyone.

As such, people from outside will have to be lured to buy the properties. Investors, speculators, foreigners and non-Malays would be lured to own a property there.

What would then become of Kampung Baru, the Malay heartland? So, what then happens to a Malay heartland?

It will no more be Kampung Melayu. It would most likely become "Bandar Cina dan Mat Salleh", because it has being turned into a metropolitan city.

By then, it would be too late and the Malays will have to cry "Kami Hilang Ketuanan" and cry "Kami di serang oleh pendatang"; they have then lost the last bastion of control in the city.

It must be noted that, for without the investors and buyers, the redevelopment will fail. Look at South Johor Economic Region/ Iskandariah Development Zone (Gelang Patah) - without the Singaporeans the development is a standstill; but with Singaporeans, the Johor Malays will cry "invasion". Mahathir had warned about the risk of "invasion".

So, the people of Kampung Baru is in a paradoxical position - develop or remain?

My opinion? Remain; developed and Kampung Baru becomes Bandar Cina campur Orang Putih.

But if the Malays can accept the change, and are able, capable and competent to deal with globalization and liberalization and capitalism, then redevelopment is acceptable and good. Please remember: Don't blame the Chinese; the mooters of the redevelopment are the Malays themselves. You take your own risk and blame only yourself. I am of the opinion that Kampung Baru should remain as the Malay heartland. But that is only one man's viewpoint and carries no weight.


Read more about it below:

Star Metro: RM236mil to upgrade Kampung Baru

Star Metro: DBKL prefers landowners to develop area on their own

Residents worried development will spell death for heritage


Star Metro: RM236mil to upgrade Kampung Baru

THE Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will spend a whopping RM236.5mil to upgrade the infrastructure in Kampung Baru.

The federal government is contributing RM100mil from the allocation under the 9th Malaysia Plan.

One of the projects involves building a series of pedestrian walkways to improve connectivity and accessibility within the city.

The DBKL said a tender would be called soon to build the walkways connecting Dataran Merdeka to Chow Kit and Kampung Baru at a cost of RM31mil.

According to DBKL land development unit director Mohd Sahak Surip, the pedestrian project will be carried out in phases.

THE Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) prefers to let the Kampung Baru residents develop their own land while it plays the role of administrator.

According to DBKL master plan department director Zainab Mohd Ghazali, under the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, there are four options for the Kampung Baru landowners on the development of their area.

The first option allows the landowners who want to develop their land on their own to go ahead and do so.

The second option is a joint development project among the landowners to develop their land and to share the development cost.

The third option involves the Kampung Baru Development Corporation teaming up with developers to develop the land. In this instance, the DBKL will act as the mediator.

The fourth option involves the DBKL acquiring land in Kampung Baru for development under Section 3 (1) (b) of the Land Acquisition Act 1960.

ALTHOUGH the federal government has announced the setting up of a Kampung Baru Development Corporation with an initial funding of RM100mil to develop one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest villages, most of Kampung Baru residents do not seem to be excited.

Obviously, they do not want outsiders to be involved in the development of their precious heritage and want the right to determine the future development of the area.

Since the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 was unveiled nearly three months ago, most of the Kampung Baru landowners have been having sleepless nights, worrying that their lands may be acquired by force under the Land Acquisition Act 1960.

As the Aug 31 objection period deadline for the draft plan draws near, many landowners are concerned and worried that the plan may be confirmed without due consideration of their rights, interests and welfare.

Most of the residents welcome development but are not very sure what the draft plan is all about, especially the matters concerning the mechanism for developing the land.

“It is so confusing. I’m afraid to lose my house. It’s all I have. I want to stay here forever,’’ 69-year-old Aishah Mohd Tawil said with a sob.

The poor woman has apparently been impressed by the pictures of mega projects printed in the draft plan but wondered just where her little kampung house was going to fit in all those beautiful but daunting pictures.

“Can you blame us for seeking help from our wakil rakyat (MP) because the DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) did not want to listen to us or come here to see us,’’ 62-year-old Zakaria Yahaya said.

“I don’t care what party the MP (Titiwangsa MP Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali of PAS) represents, but she is the only one who can present our views in parliament,’’ the Kampung Baru native said.

Resident Hashidah Abdul Razak said she would never trust anyone again when it concerned development affecting her home.

Hashidah, 50. said both her father Abdul Razak Syed and grandfather Mohd Sayed were cheated in the 1980s when a developer friend forged the S&P documents to swindle them of their land in Kampung Baru.

Hashidah has not recovered from the pain and anguish brought upon by endless court battles and an out- of-court settlement that was only half of what the property was worth.

“It makes no difference to me who develops Kampung Baru but I will not be cheated again,’’ she said.

“We want to make sure that outsiders are not involved in the development of Kampung Baru,’’ Hashidah said.

However, former Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Suleiman Moahamed insists that Kampung Baru must move with the times to progress and modern development would help upgrade the lifestyle of the residents.

“Traditions and sentimentality are fine, but the residents must understand that for Kampung Baru to progress, the residents must embrace change,’’ he said.