Hong Kong financial website Quamnet reported that on 6 December 2013, Kasen International Holdings Limited had agreed to acquire a second parcel of ‘land’ in Malacca from KAJ Development Sdn Bhd for RM6.6m.
Quamnet/Infocast News described the land as “a piece of sea area adjacent to the first parcel of land located at Pulau Melaka East 1, Daerah Melaka Tengah, Negeri Melaka” with an area of 16,187 square metres. The parcel would be developed into a marina with ‘land use’ rights of 99 years.
The plan to acquire the land was subject to a formal sale and purchase agreement and may or may not have proceeded.
Earlier, in July 2013, Kasen reportedly acquired its first parcel of land for RM71.2m, which was later increased to RM74.1m upon the plot ratio being raised from 4.0 to 6.0 (i.e. a lot more built-up area/higher density).
Kasen is described as an “investment holding company and its subsidiaries are principally engaged in the production of upholstered furniture, furniture leather and automotive leather. It is also engaged in property development and retail business”.
KAJ Development Sdn Bhd is behind the masterplan for the RM40bn Melaka Gateway project and it exchanged memorandums of understanding with several foreign firms including Kasen International in February 2014.
Farther south, at the Forest City land reclamation project near the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, another developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd, has obtained titles for 4888 acres near the Second Link and plans to create a landform of 4012 acres. Another strip of 877 acres of existing shoreline reportedly belongs to Johor Port, according to a CGPV executive director interviewed by The Edge (29 September 2014).
When The Edge queried the amount of the land premium levied by the state for the reclamation and whether it had been paid in full, the executive director replied that the premium had been fully paid but he could not (would not?) disclose the sum. He said this was something the Johor state government should disclose. (Sources, however, told The Edge that the land premium was around RM225m, which seems a small sum.)
The Malacca and Johor state governments must disclose to the public how much these companies paid (per square foot) for the the land (or “sea area”) and how many square feet or acres was acquired. This is important so that the public can judge whether the land/”sea area”/reclamation rights were awarded at market value.
By right, common sense tells us the sea is part of the commons, a public asset. If at all there is going to be land reclamation, it should be mainly for public interest and not mainly for private profits. (Are we privatising the sea now?)
This is quite apart from the question of whether so much high-end development, a large proproption of which would be bought by the jet-setting international elite, truly benefits the ordinary person here. And then there is the question of the destruction of the sea grass in the Forest City vicinity and how it will affect the livelihood of the fisher folk and our own food security.