Lawyer Balwant Singh Siddhu said after amendments were made to the Land Acquisition Act in 1999, land belonging to the public can be acquired for public or private purpose by the government.

“For example, if person owns a piece of land in Jalan Ampang that has not been developed, a developer can approach the government to develop the land.

“The government can then acquire the land and sell it to the developer.

“He can then sell it to another developer and make a profit.”

He said prior to 1999, the government could only acquire land for public purposes, such as building roads, schools or other public amenities.

Balwant said one recourse available to the land owner was to show that the land was acquired in mala fide (bad faith).

He said the owner must show that the intention behind the acquisition was very different from the purpose stated. On the issue of compensation, Balwant said the landowner would be paid the amount determined by the land administrator.

He said if the owner disagreed he had to appeal to the High Court.

Balwant said the High Court judge would appoint two valuers, one private and one government, and the judge was bound by their opinions.

“It does not matter whether the judge agrees or disagrees with their valuation, but he is bound to follow it.

He said before 1999, a land owner could appeal all the way to the highest court in the land and also the Privy Council.

On the Kinrara-Damansara Highway (Kidex), Balwant said the government had the right to acquire land for the purpose of building highways and road reserve.

He said the road reserve should only be of a reasonable size.

He said if the land acquired was outside the development area, then the landowner had every right to challenge it.

– News source: The Rakyat Post, 13 June 2015

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