Let me speculate about a possible modus operandi when it comes to clearing of hill land above 250 feet for so-called ‘development’.
Take a hypothetical case:
- Acquire a dormant RM2 company.
- Buy up acres of some hill land with a spectacular view. It should be very cheap as you are not allowed to build above 250 feet; so the land is only useful for some small-time farming perhaps.
- Now this is the tricky bit: try and somehow get the zoning converted from hill-land to ‘residential use’ or ‘special project’ or whatever, anything that allows you to build expensive housing. If you succeed, the value of your land will rocket, many times more than what you paid for it.
- Bring in the heavy machinery to start clearing the land pronto, before anyone else is aware. Better still, if you know someone involved in the land-clearing business. This way the land becomes even more valuable for future development.
- Brace yourself for a public uproar.
- Expect the authorities to take action to placate an angry public.
- Expect a penalty, maybe a puny fine or blacklisting of your company. (That’s nothing compared to the value of the land.)
- Lie low and wait for the public outcry to die down, until the storm has blown over.
- Sell the land or transfer the land to another RM2 company or big-time developer.
This is just a hypothetical example of what might be possible. What do you think? Is there another loophole I missed?