More than 300 residents of Kampung Sungai Baru will be left homeless if land acquisition for a redevelopment project does not proceed, said federal territories minister Shahidan Kassim in June this year.
“If we cancel the project, then 328 homeowners will be left homeless because their original dwellings are no longer habitable,” said Shahidan at an event.
But what is this all about? Back in 2010, the BN government announced that they wanted to develop Kampung Baru to realise the full potential of the area. An official committee was created and they launched Kampung Baru Redevelopment Master Plan in 2015.
However, as development plans were moving forward, over 70% of the residents rejected the notion because instead of being compensated, they were offered apartment units that were grossly undervalued.
In 2021 Ritzy Gloss Sdn Bhd, one of the developers that was introduced into the project, then applied to the government to acquire the land under the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1960, and they approved it.
This means that the government has revoked the land from its rightful owners, leading to people possibly losing their homes by 31 October.
Since the news broke out, most tenants have packed their things and left the area, but there are still a remaining 37 who live there and are forced to find a new home by next month.
The case has raised important questions concerning the use of the Land Acquisition Act to take someone’s home, even when they have been living there for decades, without paying them proper compensation.
A majority are refusing to move on grounds that the settlement offered by the developer was unfair and that there had been no proper negotiations.
The place is the site of a major redevelopment project which will involve the building of 264 apartments and 64 terrace houses.
So, what’s next for one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Malaysia? JUICE covered a portion of this case last year, you can catch up on it here.