Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RM37 million price tag too high for Zambry

The tussle continues between the state government and Railway Asset Corporation (RAC) over the high price-tag of RM37 million for a 94.5 ha piece of railway land in Kuala Sepatang near Taiping.

And it looks like here's no immediate solution in sight.

The BN government had promised individual land titles for the 643 squatter families living on this land if it won the Bukit Gantang Parliamentary seat by-election held last year.

However, BN lost the seat to former menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin who stood on a PAS ticket.

NONEDespite the loss, the current Menteri Besar, Zambry Abdul Kadir (right), is intent on fulfilling BN's election promise to give the to give individual land titles to these mainly Chinese families.

But the RAC is asking for RM37 million which Zambry deems exorbitant.

He had asked the RAC which is a subsidiary of the Transport Ministry to waive or reduce its price as the land is not for commercial purposes, suggesting that it be regazetted for residential use which would meaner a lower price tag.

Constitution in the way

However, Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat had been reported as saying that railway land must be sold at the current market price under the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Section 85 (3) of the Federal Constitution states that where any land in a state is reserved for any federal purposes, the federal government may offer to release the land to the state on condition that the state pays to the federation its market value.

Tee Keat had also said that his ministry is following the price fixed by the Attorney-General's chambers but suggested that his ministry, the state government and the AG's chambers meet to resolve the problem.

At the media conference yesterday after the weekly exco meeting, a reporter mentioned to Zambry that Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) president Dr Aminuddin Adnan had said that the KTM had not quoted any price for the Kuala Sepatang railway land.

An annoyed menteri besar retorted; "We have received the RAC letter- ask them to check their records - whose fault it is I don't know. You mean to say there are two administrations in KTM who issue different statements?"

"However, my stand is very clear- I am not going to pay them a single cent unless the price of the land is lowered."

He said that RAC should be sympathetic to the plight of the poor fishermen living in Kuala Sepatang instead of throwing the law book at them.

Asked if the state government would initiate any legal action to seek a solution to the problem, Zambry said he preferred diplomacy and discussions.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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