Monday, March 15, 2010

Perak MB Zambry finds RM37m compensation for railway reserve unacceptable

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (picture) finds the RM37 million compensation for the railway reserve land in Kuala Sepetang based on the Federal Constitution as unacceptable, the Transport Minister reported yesterday.

He said the statement by Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat yesterday lacked consideration for the sentiments and feelings of the people living on the land which has not been used for railway operations since 1941.

“I want to ask you all whether the RM37 million price tag is fair to those who have seen the area. He (Ong) said it was based on the constitutional provisions, but it should also be reasonable,” he told reporters after lunch with a visiting delegation of Cambodian Islamic leaders at his official residence, here, today.

“Everybody can base it on the Constitution. What I am saying here is also based on the Constitution; but there must be room to discuss this issue.”

Zambry, who regards the RM37 million compensation for the land as exorbitant, said the state government had never raised the issue of current market price when it gave land to the (federal) government for projects for the benefit of the people.

He said in land acquisition for the building of schools and police stations and for the purpose of government departments and agencies, the state government did not charge premiums according to the current market price but charge the minimum rates in the interest of the public.

“This principle (charging the railway reserve land which is meant for the people, according to the market price) is not right. The minister concerned should know better and look into this. Maybe it’s not his fault, but he should be responsible and resolve this.”

Zambry said the meeting with the Transport Minister and officials from the Railway Asset Management and other relevant authorities before this were also attended by representatives of the Attorney-General’s Chambers who were made aware of the situation.

The Cabinet had on Jan 27 agreed to release the railway reserve land now occupied by 643 squatter families, to the state government as the land has not been used for railway operations since 1941.

The decision was reached following a series of discussions between the Perak government and the relevant authorities that took four to five months after promising to resolve the land issue faced by 300 residents during the Bukit Gantang by-election in March last year.

Most of the residents are fishermen and some have been staying on the land for four generations and pay annual rent to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad and the Railway Asset Corporation, but there are those who do not pay rent. — Bernama

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