Land conversion: Special circumstances?


A lot has been said about the conversion of leasehold land to freehold land. The state sometimes relies on the “special circumstances” under section 76(aa)(iii) of the National Land Code 1965 (NLC) to justify the conversion from leasehold to freehold but this section is frequently misunderstood.

The term “special circumstances” is not expressly defined in the NLC. The statutes or the rules of court do not shed much light either. So I asked a senior lawyer to clarify what constitutes “special circumstances”, and this was the reply:

It is left entirely to the opinion and discretion of the courts.

I have not been able to find any case law wherein the courts have defined special circumstances for the purpose of s. 76(aa)(iii), but the courts have in other cases unrelated to s.76(aa)(iii), held that a ‘special circumstance’ must mean ‘something out of the ordinary or something unusual’ or ‘something exceptional in character, something that exceeds or excels in some way that which is usual or common’.

In other words, although s. 76(aa)(iii) states that the State Authority must be satisfied that there are special circumstances, the State Authority does not have an unfettered discretion to arbitrarily declare “special circumstances” to convert leasehold land to freehold, unless they can prove something exceptional or out of the ordinary.

The lawyer added that if the land happens to be foreshore land, that strip of land between the high-tide mark and the low-tide mark, then it is clear that the State cannot convert it from leasehold to freehold under any circumstances, whether special or otherwise. Section 76 of the NLC expressly prohibits the State from doing so:

“Provided that nothing in paragraph (aa) shall enable the State Authority to dispose of any part of the foreshore or sea-bed for a period exceeding ninety-nine years ……”

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Woah! This blog is fast becoming an anti-LGE club. Well done Anil!

As usual, not a squeak on the extension of PLUS toll concession that will tax the poor people of Penang for longer still. All that matters is LGE is selling Penang land to private companies as though it has never ever happened before.

Where … were you guys when Gerakan was giving up land for peanuts?

And lastly, Anil… you’ve taken few thousands of ferries according to your reply last time. How can I take you seriously from now on?


Just that I would like to know if you are prone to exaggerating. Sometimes, people claim to know thousands of people when in actual fact, they just know hundreds.

Point is this, are you exaggerating about that as well as the controversies behind LGE’s administration? What we readers want is a fair analysis of his administration. Exaggeration doesn’t help one bit when you are looking to be credible as a person looking for justice. Am I right or am I wrong?


My friend shew me a piece of land at Padang Tembak. He stayed there until was force to move out. The Land believed been sold to (an Umno leader) before the 308 General Election. But since PR taken over the administration, the deal put on hold.

Anybody can confirm this?

kah seng

The self defence below by LGE is murky because it seems to confuse or re-define privately-owned leasehold land as the same as freehold land. That is of course patently untrue. “On the PHH issue, I had explained that Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad had asked whether there had been any land conversions to freehold status for government land for development purposes during the period from April 2008 to June 2009. There was no government land converted to freehold status as PHH is no longer state or government land, but owned 51% by YTL Hotel & Properties Sdn Bhd(YTL H&P)… Read more »

Alonso Fulat

i think LGE is 1000 times better than the … former CM.

i have more respect for … than the former CM from gerakan….

Alonso Fulat

hey anti LGE people,

my advice is go to MACC and lodge a report if there is any abuse of power by his administration.

i am sure MACC will be more than happy to receive any report regarding LGE …

otherwise, just shut up if you guys cant prove anything.

you guys are… bitching around about small issue but the real issues like PKFZ? sudah lupa ke?

what is 8 million compared to 4 billion? anyone? Anil? K? or Ong Eu soon? Line clear?

answer lah.


Alonso Thanks for speaking on the behalf of the LGE Fan Club. I think the DAP cheerleaders seem to have the neo-con policy that “You are either with us or against us”. FYI, we are not against LGE (I voted for him in the GE) but we are opposed to dictatorship and political shenaniganism. Is questioning LGE is a crime ? I shudder and think what will happen if one day DAP get to rule the country. They will probably have Secret Police to haul dissidents like us to some dark, dank prison and lock us for life. Welcome to… Read more »


” Lim Guan Eng can do anything in Penang.. and get away with it because he will always have Koh Tsu Koon to blame” and favourite LGE statements will be “the present government cannot do much because the previous government have principly approved it” “the present government will be exposed to lawsuit if do not proceed with the projects” This caused me to wonder ” Why did we change the government when the present government is helpless and hopeless despite having lawyers who can sue sultans!!!” It is grossly disgusting that LGE govt is trying to feed all these (statements)… Read more »


There are so many allegations going around in Penang linking LGE with the Big Business. I can’t repeat them here as I don’t intend to put Anil into trouble as these stories are yet to be proven. However I do hope someone (perhaps Anil) could investigate and reveal the truth for the sake of Penang….


I think this issue is the final nail on the credibility of LGE. I am aghast at his constant misleading… It comes to a stage where one no longer can respect him as the CM. What took KTK 18 years, LGE has done it in 18 months. Even though we kicked KTK out, I think many political nuetrals and even his opponents would concede that as a person and leader KTK was a honest, humble and corrupt-free person with simple lifestyle…. LGE thinks we Penangites are stupid by his BS statements about various issues. I m not a lawyer to… Read more »


mr ong,

who gave the land in the first place?

leasehold or freehold, its still a piece of land, aint it?

where were you when IJM and E&O and UMNO cronies were given sweetheart delas by KTK?

oh, what the heck with that fella. He cant even defend himself when his photo was shreded into pieces and stomped on. Were you there to defend him? Guess, you were hiding coz its UMNO sticking up the 3rd finger to the spineless KTK. Birds of the same feather flocked together, Mr Ong? And Gerakan K, what say you?

anthony Tan

I found the comment posted on Nutgraph and would like to share this piece with you people. I totally agree with Half Truth. Anyone else agreed/ Half Truth Posted: 25 Nov 09 : 9.47AM Nutgraph When BN makes uncountable mistakes for 50 years, it is acceptable and easily forgotten. Why? Problem of mental psycho immunisation. When will Malaysians learn how to stand up firmly for justice and fairness, and reject racist politicians or policies, and corruption, etc. When PR makes mistake or sometimes has difference of opinion [among] themselves, the issue is blown out of proportion. Malaysians express their unhappiness… Read more »


Anthony I am sorry it is the people like yourself and Half Truth are the ones who is allowing the country being PR’ed (Plundered and Raped) by dirty politicians from Pakatan. It doesn’t matter which party the person is from, a wrong is wrong. Just because they are from PR don’t think they have some sort of immunity from criticisms. One can forgive Pakatan if they make mis-steps due to their inexperience or lack of communication. But there is absolutely no excuse when they go around misleading the people, plunder and rape the nation or allow corrupt and illegal actions… Read more »


You accused the present state government of plundering and raping the state and its people. Boy, have you one shred of evidence before you let loose your mouth? I’m sure the MACC … of UMNO will be glad to obtain the evidence from you. And where were you when Gerakan went ahead and sold land to companies which build the concrete jungles that is standing tall in the island at the moment? My bet is that you were in one of the fancy concrete tree hanging by a branch waiting for some fruits to fall into your hand. You sound… Read more »

Alonso Fulat

Ong Eu Soon,

bring the PG government to MACC or court if you think they shortchanged the penangites.

otherswise, stop barking at the wrong area.

Alonso Fulat

hey, whats the big huha here compared with the PKFZ and Matrade convention center?

anyone? where are you anil? still in kg buah pala?

Plain Truth

To all the BN apologists on this blog,

Where were you lot when your political master, the eunuch KTK sold off the Kampung Buah Pala prime state land for RM10 psf?

And we are still waiting for an explaination on this!!!

Ong Eu Soon

Can somebody quote me the price of buying a 1.4 ha prime sea front land with freehold status in the Georgetown heritage enclave? RM30million?

Ong Eu Soon

The other important point that need to pay attention to is that the 51% shareholding is only application to any issue pertaining to the operation of PDC Heritage Hotel Sdn Bhd. Once the property is sold, LGE or the state government has no more say in the property. It is private property no more state property. After my exposure of the issue in the Internet media, you can see for yourself how desperately LGE’s administration try to salvage itself form the controversy by spinning the issue. Jeffrey Chew who profess to walk the talk, accused me of baseless tirade on… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

The land is a state land as long as it is in leasehold status. Once it is converted to freehold, it no more belong to the state. For a token sum of RM8.2 million, LGE sold our rights to private interest without open tender.
LGE arged that he secure equal sharehold for the project is meaningless. Without 51% shareholding, you virtually has no say and veto power once a dispute arise.

Ong Eu Soon

LGE should not be too happy thinking that he can get way with the questionable land conversion. Once this PDC Heritage Hotel case is bring to the court. His decision could be declared null and void…. I want to see which Penangites are stupid enough to invest on a piece of property with the status unclear in the court of law. Originally this PDC Heritage Hotel project suppose to build a hotel. Soon after the heritage listing controversy, it seem like the project has abandoned the idea of building a hotel as the 18 meter height limit will make the… Read more »


We call a person a Gerakan because we see Gerakan in his/her handle. Surely that is not incorrect, right? 🙂


Big Joe … you are the most ignorant person I ever seen when it comes to the law. Hahahahahaaa … You are so so funny.

Gerakan K, I do not care if it will benefit Gerakan or UMNO, a statement was made, says land was sold by KTK, it should be backed up with evidence. Anyways, KTK also screwed up BIG TIME with projects like Queensbay … let’s not forget that ya …

Gerakan K

To SpeakUp,

Current state government always blaming KTK’s when there is error/blunder on their side. It is good to ask evidence from LGE administration, otherwise they will take us for a ride. By the way, I expect other commentators will call you a gerakan just because you question LGE administration.


In principle, you are right but legally you asked the opinion of a loyar buruk. Anyone who is a good lawyer will know that if the law is a bad law such as being unclear, then the law does not apply. This is such a case and it was done on purpose. I remember as a child hearing the debate among the top politicians about freehold land and the main purpose of it was Malays feared that most land would fall into non-Malays hand and they were marginalised. In principle, UMNO were not against freehold land so long as they… Read more »

anthony Tan

Anil, I think you know there are more land scams the previous state government had committed over the years. The previous administration is trying to throw smoke bombs for the people of Penang to re-direct the attention. They are trying very hard to call the present state government the kettle black when they are tinted black all these while. They are now (worried) because they are afraid that more cans of worms will be open. Everyone in Penang knows what are the crime the previous administration had done over the years and that was one of the reasons they were… Read more »


Where is the document that shows KTK ‘sold’ the land as stated by Jeffrey Chew? I am keen to see such a document. With that we can then say if KTK messed up or LGE is only trying to spin things.



whats your beef here?

RM8.2m to the state govt and 1% extra that makes the state govt equal partner. bad deal for the govt?

go ask the previous state govt that gave the majority of the equity of the company that owns this land to the YTL group. and how sweetheart deal was given to IJM, E&O and others for the land reclamation deals. and of course the quarry scandals. hey, never get any beef from you on all these sweetheart deals.