Monday, 8 May 2017

(NST) MRT Corp maintains it engaged with strata owners on Ampang Park acquisition

KUALA LUMPUR: Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) set the record straight today by maintaining that it has regularly engaged with strata owners of Ampang Park shopping centre on the matter of land acquisition for its infrastructure project.

In response to allegations by the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs Alliance of Malaysia (Ikhlas), MRT Corp’s strategic communications and stakeholder relations director, Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah, said that MRT Corp had, in fact, held several townhall sessions with all stakeholders.

"We engaged with strata title owners of Ampang Park mall at least four times in 2015. We met up on Oct 15, Oct 20, Nov 3 and Dec 16," he told reporters in a briefing here today.

Najmuddin highlighted that MRT Corp had, in accordance with the country's land laws, offered mutual agreement for co-existence. This alternative will do away with the need land acquisition, but required all strata lot owners to agree to the MRT line and the pedestrian linkway between the future MRT station and existing LRT station to be built below the Ampang Park shopping centre.

This option, however, was rejected by the owners, and they did not revert with any decision or alternative proposal by the agreed deadline of Jan 31, 2016, he said.

“This option, which required that the owners of all 253 strata lots to fully agree, is a legal requirement under our country's land laws," Najmuddin added.

He cited the Strata Titles Act 1985 and the Strata Management Act 2013, which require that all strata title owners agree to land acquisition at market price to make way for public infrastructure projects.

“Instead, 39 of the 253 strata owners filed a judicial review on Jan 8, 2016, (rather than) coming back with a proposal to us.

“Their fate now depends on their actions. If they had agreed to go ahead with the Mutual Agreement, we could have discussed further, and things could have been different,” Najmuddin said.

On Jan 18, 2017, the Court of Appeal rejected the application for a judicial review submitted by the 39 strata title owners of Ampang Park on land acquisition to pave way for the Ampang Park MRT Station.

“So now, we wait for the Federal Court, the apex of the judicial system, to decide on this matter,” he added.

The Ampang Park MRT Station is part of the 52.2km Line 2, which is expected to be completed by 2022.

The MRT lines, which are designed to integrate with the existing Light Rail Transit (LRT) network for seamless connectivity, is set to serve about two million people commuting in the Klang Valley.