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MRT3 Compulsory Land Acquisition Article

Publish date: Tue, 29 Nov 2022, 05:37 PM
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Key Takeaways

  • Parliament approved an RM50.2b MRT3 Project on 2nd Aug 2022. Questions arise about the necessity of a sky-high budget MRT Project, especially the RM8.4b allocated to land acquisition.
  • History has shown us the lucrative gains from the compensation of compulsory land acquisition in the MRT2 Project such as Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd and UPA Corp.
  • Investors of these companies also saw a big chum in dividends declared to payout as fueled by the enormous compensation from compulsory land acquisition.
  • The investors now are fascinated by how the script played in MRT3 and what they can expect in this lucrative deal.

MRT3 Circle Line Project

The MRT3 Circle Line is the critical final piece to complete Kuala Lumpur’s urban rail network. Its 50.8km alignment will run along the perimeter of the city of Kuala Lumpur. 

50.8km (40.1km elevated and 10.7km underground)
31 Stations (24 elevated, 7 underground)
Interchange Stations
10 Stations (2 with MRT Kajang Line, 2 with MRT Putrajaya Line, 2 with LRT Kelana Jaya Line, 3 with LRT Ampang Line, 1 with Monorail, 2 with KTM Komuter, 1 with City Bus Station)
Car park facility
15 sites with 11,650 parking bays
Construction cost
The cost is estimated around RM50.2b (Final cost is subject to open tender)
Opening dates
Phase 1: 2028 subject to the land acquisition process. Phase 2: 2030.

Cost and Budgeting of MRT3

The total cost of the Mass Rapid Transit Line 3 (MRT3) project is estimated to be as much as RM50.2 billion. The breakdown comprised RM34.3 billion for construction costs, RM8.4 billion for land acquisition costs, RM5.6 billion for project management costs, and the remaining RM1.9 billion for other miscellaneous costs. However, the final cost of MRT3 is yet to be confirmed up until today, “the actual cost of the 51km alignment, however, would only be finalised on completion of the open tender.” says, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

Project Timeline

Cost Breakdown and Comparison with MRT2

The main discrepancies shown in the budget structure are derived from the land acquisition costs and project management costs. This could be explained by the geographic difference between the routes of MRT2 and MRT3, MRT2 was a straight line route to connect Sungai Buloh, Serdang, and Putrajaya and hence used to be called SSP Line. MRT3, also named Circle Line formed a circular network to connect the existing public transport stations like LRT, MRT, and Monorail whose routes are mostly located in the city area of Kuala Lumpur hence making the land acquisition process to be intricacy and costly. It is important to note that the budgeting for MRT3 is based on the estimation of the MRT Corp, which might inflate alongside the construction progress due to factors such as rising costs of construction materials.

Land Acquisition Act 1960

​By the right stated in the Land Acquisition Act 1960, the government have the right to compulsory acquire the land of private owners for a public purpose with a compensated sum given to the owners.

Referring to the Land Acquisition Act 1960, the State Authority may acquire any land which is needed —

  1. for any public purpose;
  2. by any person or corporation for any purpose which in the opinion of the State Authority is beneficial to the economic development of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the public generally or any class of the public; or
  3. for the purpose of mining or for residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes or any combination of such purposes.

Hence, only the State Authority has the power to compulsorily acquire land, and the acquisition must be for a public purpose. Thus, even if the land sought to be acquired is needed by say, a public utility company or a highway concessionaire etc. they would not be able to commence the process or acquire it themselves but are instead compelled to apply to the State to acquire it on its behalf, thereby ensuring some measure of control by the State. 

Types of Compensation under Land Acquisition Act 1960

  • Compensation for the market value of the entire land: Landowners are entitled to get compensation for the market value of the entire land.
  • Compensation for severance: If the acquired portion divides the remainder of his land portion into two parts, then he may be able to claim compensation for severance.
  • Compensation for injurious affection or severance: If the landowner suffers the diminution in value of the remainder of his land caused by the acquisition, compensation for injurious affection or severance can be claimed.
  • Compensation for reasonable expenses incidental: If the acquisition compels the landowner to change his place of residence or place of business, reasonable expenses incidental thereto may be claimed.

MRT2 Compensation under Land Acquisition Act 1960

Land Acquisition Act 1960 entrusts the power to the government to perform compulsory land acquisition with predetermines of a reasonable compensation given out to the affected landowners. Also, publicly listed companies are entitled to claim compensation as the government acquired their lands under Land Acquisition Act 1960.

Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad

Referring to Ajinomoto’s Annual Report 2017, on 18 May 2016, the Land Administrator of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur’s intention is to hold a land inquiry pertaining to the said compulsory acquisition for “Project Mass Rapid Transit” (“MRT Project”). Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad accepted and received the award of compensation of RM166.0 million. Such windfall lumpsum is also partially declared as a special dividend by Ajinomoto's management team to compensate back to the shareholders, where RM68 million equivalent to 41% of the RM166 million compensation was payout as a special dividend up to 113 cents dividend per share (DPS) to the shareholders.

UPA Corporation Berhad

UPA Press Sdn Bhd received letters from the Land Administrator of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur on 28 July 2016, they intend to hold a land inquiry pertaining to the Compulsory Acquisition of the following lands under the Land Acquisition Act 1960 for the proposed Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) “Mass Rapid Transit Project 2 (MRT2) – MRT Putrajaya Line”.

the Land Administrator awarded compensation of RM32.7 million to the UPA Corporation Berhad for land and buildings acquired for MRT Putrajaya Line and also for business disruption. Similar to Ajinomoto, UPA Corporation Berhad also shared their one-off compensation to the shareholders, where they declared a special dividend of 10 cents DPS in 2017, totalling RM7.7 million out of the RM32.7 million compensation award.

MeGroup Ltd (SGX: SJY)

On 6 March 2017, MeGroup Ltd closed up one of its showrooms located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, due to compulsory acquisition by the Malaysian Government Authorities for the Mass Rapid Transit Project 2. The Group received compensation of RM4.8 million for the land acquisition from the Malaysian Government Authorities, as referred to in MeGroup’s Annual Report 2017.

Leon Fuat Berhad

According to Leon Fuat Berhad’s Annual Report 2017, Leon Fuat Hardware Sdn Bhd and Supreme Steelmakers Sdn Bhd, the subsidiaries of Leon Fuat Berhad (LEONFB) have accepted the award of compensation offered by the Land Administrator of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur on 6 April 2017, totalling RM45 million in respect of the Compulsory Acquisition for the purpose of “Mass Rapid Transit Project 2 (MRT2) – MRT Putrajaya Line”. The affected plots of land house, the steel processing plant, office and warehouse of Supreme Steelmakers Sdn. Bhd.

Tex Cycle Technology (M) Berhad

On 24 July 2017, Metro Envy Sdn Bhd, the subsidiary of Tex Cycle Technology (M) Berhad (TEXCYCL), received the offer from the Land Administrator of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur pertaining to the Compulsory Acquisition for “Mass Rapid Transit Project 2 (MRT2) – MRT Putrajaya Line” pursuant to Section 16 of the Land Acquisition Act 1960. The size of the affected plot of land to be compulsorily acquired is 1,039m², which is part of the entire piece of land measuring 4,822m², registered in the name of Metro Envy. The company accepted the compensation offered and the Land Administrator of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur issued a Notice of Award in Form H to Metro Envy on 9 August 2017, the company awarded cash compensation amounting to RM7 million

Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) Compensation under Land Acquisition Act 1960

EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd

According to EcoFirst’s Annual Report 2018, EcoFirst gained a one-off payment from the disposal of land due to compulsory acquisition by Government authorities which amounted to RM28.4 million. The land was compulsory acquired by the Government for the upcoming Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE).

Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) Compensation under Land Acquisition Act 1960

According to MRP Corp, the land acquisition compensation event was held on 19 April 2021, featuring a compensation ceremony of RM 135 million to the seven representing landowners in accepting the lump sum payment from the government for the RTS Link Project (Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System). The seven landowners received the largest amounts of compensation out of a total of 46 private landowners with a total land area acquired for the project up to 98 hectares of land. 

What Can We Expect from the Potential Land Acquisition in MRT3

Unlike MRT1 and MRT2, MRT3 is built on the existing stations and links the rest of the stations such as LRT, MRT, KTM and Monorail, to form a circular route in the city of Kuala Lumpur, hence most of the stations and routes are built in residential areas near the centre of the city, which involved land acquisition with the residential and its complicate the process as negotiating with the residents might be time-consuming and lengthy and the Land Administration need to compensate a satisfying amount to the multiple affected individual residents.

However, the estimated land acquisition costs are budgeted at a whopping RM8.4 billion, which is higher than the cost of land acquisition for MRT2 at RM6.18 billion. Hence, we might foresee a similar company like Ajinomoto receiving a sum of compensation for the MRT3 Project since some of the stations and routes are overlapping with some existing stations.

(We will keep this article updated on the potential listed companies who received land acquisition requests for MRT3 Project in the future)

The Potential Beneficiary Companies

We can spot some certainties of the next potential land acquisition by the location of the stations and routes. For instance, we can anticipate that the new MRT3 route from Kuchai Station to Jalan Klang Lama Station is passing through the companies near the Kuchai Station such as Buildcon Concrete Sdn Bhd from YTL Corporation, Ajinomoto, UPA Corp and others. Another land we foresee being acquired is from Dutamas Station to Jalan Kuching Station, the routes were crossed by a factory owned by YTL Corporation and they might be benefitted from the acquisition compensation sum. With a whopping RM8.4 billion budget for land acquisition, the MRT3 is expected to utilize its budget to acquire all necessary lands from the landowners no matter from publicly listed companies, private companies, or residents to start and construct the MRT3 Project.

The Bottom Line

It is crucial to note that the cost budget of the entire MRT3 project is still not confirmed, as multiple factors like hinders in land acquisition or rising material costs would further inflate the final cost of the MRT3 project. On the flip side, the MRT3 project is still a solid catalyst that led the Malaysian economy for the next 10 years, as MRT3 is estimated to be complete construction and start operating at full capacity in 2030.

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