Frankly Speaking: Kudos to the FT minister

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 28, 2019 - February 03, 2019.
-A +A

Last week, it was revealed that the owner of the controversial building constructed on two plots of government land in Medan Imbi, Jalan Bukit Bintang, is one Datuk Seri Tee Yam @ Koo Tee Yam.

Googling his name will reveal some of the powerful people he is linked to. It takes a certain level of courage to spend a substantial sum to construct a structure on land you do not own.

While it may not be a surprise that he wielded so much power with the previous government, all eyes are waiting to see what the current government will do with the unauthorised development.

It is important to note that abuse of power was among the factors that led to the fall of the Barisan Nasional government last May.

That Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad has spoken up on the issue is a refreshing change. He has even mentioned an option for Tee Yam to apply to the government to purchase the land at the current market price and pay all the premiums and development approvals, as well as any fine imposed.

The plots — collectively measuring 0.14ha (15,067.47 sq ft) on Lot 568 and Lot 716 — belong to the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office. Considering that land in the Imbi area is priced at RM2,400 to RM2,500 psf, the government could get at least RM36.16 million from selling the plots.

It is likely that there are several other parcels of government land that have been similarly trespassed upon. The government could also look at acting on other cases.

This could be a source of income to explore as proceeds from such land sales would boost government coffers.

Kudos to the FT minister.

Save by subscribing to us for your print and/or digital copy.

P/S: The Edge is also available on Apple's AppStore and Androids' Google Play.