Penang Turf Club: Having cake and eating it too

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The Penang Turf Club is baulking at the idea of paying quit rent at commercial rates after its Batu Gantung land was controversially rezoned  from ‘recreational’ land to ‘mixed development’ in June 2007.

The Director of Land and Mines has issued a bill for quit rent for 2008-2010 totalling RM6.1 million (less amounts already paid), which works out to about RM2.4 million a year (or RM2.58/sq metre). The Turf Club had previously been paying RM0.5 million a year in quit rent (or RM0.54/sq metre).

The Turf Club wants the old rate to be used, arguing that the land is still being used for horse racing.

The state government, on the other hand, says the Turf Club can afford to pay the new rates – and it definitely has a point. The club has RM48.5 million in fixed deposit, and it generated a surplus before tax of RM3.9 million in 2009.

Incidentally, the Turf Club plans to develop two parcels of its land and has submitted an application to the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) and another to the Land Office. It has plans to build mansions on one end of its property and rent them out to generate even more income.

If the Turf Club still wants to pay quit rent at the old non-commercial rate, then there is a simple solution: Get the land rezoned back to recreational status and all will be fine. Such a move would also secure the area as a green lung for future generations – and there would still be hope for a public park some time down the road. A win-win solution.

The state government should use that as a carrot to get the land rezoned back to recreational status. The MPPP can also use similar considerations when it comes to billing assessment.

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Anil Netto
Penang

Penang Turf Club: Having cake and eating it too http://bit.ly/awar2J

sinyc

Pg Turf Club conspired with previous BN govt 2rezone land,now stuck with hefty quit rent bill which they refuse to pay. http://bit.ly/9Me0cx

SJ Lee

The Pg Turf Club is an exclusive membership club and not everyone can join unless you are rich or influential. Other than members the rest going there are gamblers. So why the preferential treatment for the Club

Iron

Dear Anil,

You don’t need to publish this if you don’t want to.

Please read the article at the following link:

http://ideas.org.my/2010/04/the-freedom-to-commemorate/

This is a very serious matter, as they (the Muslim fundies) are encroaching into everything, even the way we commemorate our fallen heroes !

I encourage you to link that article to your blog so that many others get to understand what is going on in our country.

vflai

….i forgot to mention….our beloved peanang once used to have a TENGKU ABDUL RAHMAN sea aquarium complex on the way to Bayan Lepas……this COULD also be revived., well planned, to attract more local visitors and tourist to earn the much needed dollar for the Penang City Council…….

wira

I wonder why the PR government should bring out the argument that PTC have the money to pay the new tax. Don’t they know that most of PTC land serve a dual purpose, ie. a golf course for its members and a race track. There is hardly any land left for mixed development as long as the 18 hole golf course stands. The burden of an increased quit rent will have to be borne by golf section members. If the state government had rezoned the land from one purpose (recreational) to another (mixed development), then the state is obliged to… Read more »

vflai

….enough is enough…..revert back the PTC to its former glorious status that is the much touted ‘green lung’ of penang in inhabited area……maintained it as a swath(a broad band)of grass, small scrub, plant ornamental trees, indegenious trees like meranti, cengal,Ipoh(poison dart), the ‘cannon ball’ tree(you can see this type of tree in ipoh peoples’ park), berlian and other tall trees that can be sourced locally in malaysia, sabah and sarawak……the island paradise of Penang is already a crowded area for more housing developement, that only enriches a few people concerned, more or less enrich the already very rich people ,… Read more »

1Malaysia

Under Gerakan, this would be easy to settle. Continue to hoodwink the rakyat, and give “special discount” to Turf Club to pay at the old rate and still give them the right of mixed development to developed bungalows. Win-Win for Turf Club, Gerakan-BN government. Losers = Rakyats. The Turf Club must be reminded, you reap what you sow. Now PAY TAX!!!

MyBlog

They should get rid of this turf club and rezone it to public parks. Forcibly take over this land and pay for the takeover instead of building a PICC.

Do you really believe that that is their real income?… What happens to the betting profits… or are they happy with collecting gate fees etc….

Iron

“They should get rid of this turf club and rezone it to public parks.” You mean Eminent Domain? Even with ED the government still need to pay Market Price for the land, you know? And with that piece of land already being rezoned, the price tag has shot up. Dunno how much that piece of land is worth now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s over RM 600 Million. Open land on Penang Island is very scarce. The PTC land is the only non-cemetery open land left belong to the private hand in the North East District, and the… Read more »

Leong Yook Kong

I converted my residential house to a commercial status.
Upon approval to a commercial status, I had to pay higher rates, such as assessment rates, quit rent, etc. I did not make any noise.

Anthony Tan

Anil,
I totally agree with you that if the Penang Turf Club (PTC) has converted the land status to commercial than they should pay the commercial rate. Is the PTC committee pretending to be stupid or they think that the Penang Government and MPPP are stupid?

The Penangites had fought hard against the development of PGCC due to the greed of some of PTC committee members to convert its land for commercial development. If many poorer Penangites still has to pay their annual rates, I do not see why PTC is not willing to pay when they have the money.

kahseng

Someone else who have had land converted from say agriculture to commercial zone, eg, should have paid a conversion premium. If PTC hadn’t needed to do this earlier or had paid a small premium, it would be a bit fishy? Else if PTC had already paid a substantial conversion premium, the state government in a future compromise would have to return that amount and reduce the quit rent – which means reduced incentive for compromise from the state’s point of view. But if the quit rent is not reduced, then there is a real pressure for PTC to go for… Read more »

Iron

The PTC does not have to honor anything regarding “horse racing”, you know?

As far as the shareholders go, getting (handsome returns) comes first, turning that green lung into a concrete jungle becomes a very tempting idea.

donplaypuks

I’m all in favour of re-zoning PTC land for horse racing and keeeping the green lung as heritage land forever.

No way should there be a loophole left for turning this land into a concrete jungle a la KLCC and Twin Towesr!

dpp
We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

O

Certainly, the Turf Club can afford to pay the RM6.1 million. It is chicken feed to them. If at all they want to pay the old rate, then the land has got to be regazetted, new land values evaluated and pay accordingly. There should be no compromise on the part of the state Government! Any move to negotiate is deem to be corrupt, as it is clear the turf club land had been rezoned before March 2008 for developments worth billions!

Let us see what the present administration is made of, as there are many towkays here!

rakyat@work

Anil, pls keep us all inform about Teoh’s court case. Its paramount that this case should not be treated like another Kugan’s case. Thai’s expert mat not be coming due to ….. pressure? This is INJUSTICE par none!

Sean

I remember an old article of yours on this subject. Doesn’t changing the status of the land greatly affect its value? Does the land appear as an asset on the Turf Club’s books somewhere? It doesn’t seem right that you can buy land from the public at a lower price because it has some restrictions placed on its use and then just have the restrictions lifted later at no cost. I would have thought a windfall tax – at the very least – should accompany a value-enhancing reclassification of land.

Iron

I think they already have done the re-valuation since they had a deal with that son-in-law of a previous prime minister, remember?

Iron

Lol ! Who’s the ‘partner’ to that “Patrick Lim” guy? Khairy la ! I believe — and this is from memory — that when they (and I mean, both the Turf Club and the Patrick Lim guy) inked the deal, they had someone re-valued that piece of land at Scotland Road to like 800 Million or something (can’t be sure the real figure) and the land Patrick Lim gonna secure for the Turf Club at Batu Kawan was valued around 300 Million (again can’t be sure about the real figure) + the construction fee for a new turf club +… Read more »

SpeakUp

Tell the Turf Club to get better lawyers, stupid idea that its being used as a race course so no need to pay based on its status. Idiots!