KTMB Land Issue: The Last Train into Tanjung Pagar

June 29, 2011

KTMB Land Issue: The last Train  into Tanjung Pagar

by Din Merican

In signing the Points of Agreement (POA) on Malayan Railway (KTM) Land with Singapore on June 27, 2011 Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nor Mohamed Yakcop said, “It’s a very happy day. It’s a new beginning for us in cooperation in attracting investment. It’s excellent for both countries. We are confident this is a new beginning for good cooperation and plenty of investments. Certainly,  not only Iskandar will do well but the whole of Malaysia will do well because of confidence factor in attracting foreign investment.”

In reciprocation, Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said: ”It really takes the relationship to a different level. It’s win-win….for both countries and promises much more. In that sense, in every sense, it’s historic moment.”

As a long time friend of Singapore who had the privilege of living and working there in late 1980s, I join Malaysians and Singaporeans in supporting and welcoming this enhancement in bilateral relations between our two countries on a mutually advantageous basis, one that could be continuously strengthened in the future.

But I am of the view that to sustain this positive momentum in bilateral relations, cooperative efforts and other confidence building measures cannot be undertaken in an opaque manner. There is, therefore, a need for our government to keep Malaysians informed on vital issues like the KTMB Land issue.

Murkiness, obfuscation and mystery have unfortunately overshadowed the so-called “win-win” deal in respect of a land swap deal in Singapore involving KTMB (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd), which was agreed to between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, in Kuala Lumpur May 24 and September 20, 2010.

Six rounds of talks have been held between Heads of Foreign Ministries of both countries, even if the main negotiators have been our Khazanah National Bhd and Temasik Holdings, the respective government’s investment arm.

To-date, no details on the definitive outcome of the deal have been made public by either government even after the conclusion of the sixth and final talks, which were held in Singapore on December 31 last year.

Instead, out of the blue, The STAR newspaper ran a story on June 9, 2011 under the caption “Party plans on track for last train ride to Tanjung Pagar”. And on June 14, 2011, The New Straits Times in a front page report said “Tickets snapped up for KTMB’s final Tanjung Pagar service”.Apparently, KTMB had recently taken some of our journalists on a tour/special trip down to Tanjung Pagar (picture above right).

Historical Significane of June 30, 2011

It would appear that KTMB as well as some in our media tend to treat the pending closure of the nearly 100-year old Tanjung Pagar Station and the historic building as something merely nostalgic. Seeking out and keeping our public informed regarding details on the outcome of the six rounds of official talks by the two countries or on related issues of the railways service or its history seems unimportant to them.

Singaporeans must have been in glee over KTMB’s idea of entertaining our  history-deficient journalists, who do not seem to know that our country could have taken for a ride by Singapore over tens of billions of KTMB real estate in Singapore without adequate compensation.

A rather perceptive member of the public, a certain Karim Mahsood, on June 13, 2011 wrote to The STAR newspaper, reminding readers that June 30, 2011, the date of the last train to Tanjung Pagar “… is not a joyous affair, but a heartbreaking episode in the history of KTMB in Singapore… “

Karim Mahsood attributed this development to “… a series of unfortunate steps…” that were taken by our own leaders, which began in 1990 with a lopsided agreement between Malaysia and Singapore called the Points of Agreement (POA), and culminating in the 2010 deal for KTMB to relocate its services from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands on June 30, 2011.

The Najib-Lee Hsien Loong Deal

Under the Najib-Lee Hsien Loong deal, the Singapore Government would vest four tiny land parcels in Marina South and two parcels of land in Ophir-Rochor in MS Pte Ltd. (a joint-venture company set up by Khazanah National Bhd. and Temasik Holdings in a 60-40 % equity arrangement respectively, for the development of the said six parcels when KTMB  vacates the Tanjung Pagar Railway Station), in lieu of the three parcels of so-called POA land in Tanjung Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands and three pieces of land in Bukit Timah. The long and short of the deal is that KTMB’s Tanjung Pagar Station will be closed on or by July 1, 2011 and relocated to Woodlands temporarily.

And on June 26, 2011, there was yet another bolt out of the blue: that Nor Mohamed Yakoop (and not Foreign Minister Anifah Aman) and Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Law, K. Shanmugam, would sign “the instrument containing details of the implementation of the POA on KTMB land in Singapore” on June 27. It was couched innocuously  that Tanjung Pagar would be closed down by or on July 1, 2011. Perhaps, both governments want this momentous event to pass off unnoticed.

Nor Mohamed and Shanmugam also confirmed that Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to open a “rapid transit system (RTS) link” between the two countries by 2018 and, secondly, that yet another joint-venture company had been established – in addition to MS Pte Ltd – known as Iskandar JV Co. , held 50-50 by Khazanah Bhd and Temasek Holdings to undertake two development projects in Iskandar Malaysia involving 87 hectares of land.

Despite the above, the public in both countries, particularly in Malaysia, remain uninformed especially as to how the Najib-Hsien Loong deal would contribute to mutually advantageous relationship between our two countries in the future and, specifically, how the deal would safeguard Malaysia’s “national interest”. Indeed, there are wider political implications that our Government leaders must face.

The KTMB Land saga(and other properties in Singapore) does raise several important points:

a) The move by KTMB to Woodlands will signal the beginning of the transfer to Singapore, not only the historic railway station building in Tanjung Pagar, but also some 175.7 hectares of KTMB land, in exchange for joint development of six parcels of land in Marina South and Ophir-Rocher whose total value is also not known to the public. ASIAWEEK magazine in its March 31, 1995 issue estimated the 32 hectares of prime property of Tanjung Pagar alone to be worth USD 2 billion, making KTMB “… the republic’s second-biggest land owner after the local government”.

b) When KTMB vacates Tanjung Pagar Railway Station to “tumpang”(squat) at Singapore CIQ building in Woodlands by July 1, 2011, it would actually mean that all KTM land in the Island nation, south of Woodlands, will revert to Singapore. This Malaysian real estate in Singapore – some 175.7 hectares in all – will be gone forever without adequate compensation to Malaysia. Again based on ASIAWEEK’s estimate in 1995 of the 32 hectares of Tanjung Pagar property, KTMB’s entire 175.7 hectares of real estate in the island Republic could today easily be worth between USD 0.25 to USD 0.5 trillion.

c) The Woodlands checkpoint is not a railway station in the normal sense but a Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint belonging to Singapore. It is indeed difficult to imagine how KTMB can effectively use the Woodlands checkpoint as its new terminal in Singapore.  It does look like KTMB will be compelled to retreat further north to Johar Bahru, sooner rather than later. When that happens, a glorious chapter in the history of KTMB operations to and from Singapore would be forced into an early closure.

d) The 1990 POA was Lee Kuan Yew’s strategic move to subtly uproot the KTMB Railway line which literally divides the Island State into two halves from North to South. Therefore, the move by KTMB from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands is also the beginning of the fulfillment of Lee Kuan Yew’s dream since 1990.

e) The injection of the so-called “development charges” by the Prime Minister of Singapore at the eleventh hour into the negotiations in Kuala Lumpur  is seen as one made in bad faith.

As a matter of fact, Singapore’s insistence that Khazanah will have to pay certain “development charges” might mean that in reality Singapore would get KTMB’s entire 175.7 hectares in Singapore as well as Khazanah’s investment in joint development projects in Singapore  practically for free.

f) And, in the meantime, the dispute over the so-called “development charges” has still not been resolved. There is absolute silence over the status of the matter, which both countries agreed in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 to be brought up to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

g) No less serious are real concerns here that not only will KTMB lose 175.7 hectares of its land and even Khazanah’s investments in Singapore but, more importantly, that Malaysia, as a whole, over the longer haul, would effectively lose control of large chucks of Johor and even land as far as Malacca to Singapore through the Iskandar- Malaysia ventures and other similar plans.

How some Singaporeans look at the Najib-Hsien Loong Deal? Many Singaporeans who are friends of Malaysia are puzzled why the Malaysian negotiators agreed to such a deal in the first place? They ask what possible quid pro quo benefits Malaysia could have. Surely, they say Malaysia does not need the money.

Is maintaining KTMB’s assets in Singapore a burden to Malaysia? If this is not the case, then Malaysia has the upper hand. So, what and why the rush and why the bending-backwards? Why so eager to close the deal? Worse still, friendly Singaporeans ask why “so cheap”?Many Singaporeans believe Malaysia is “incompetent” and, as a result, gets short-changed. That Malaysia is always ill-prepared and that it is not thorough enough. They attribute this to a number of factors:

i) partly due to interference by our politicians and that our civil servants have been marginalized;

ii) structurally, Malaysia does not have and fails to attract the brightest brains into the Civil Service, people with the long-term interest of the country at heart;

and iii) politicians and civil servants with too much personal, short-term interests to fight the kiasu, no-holds-barred, win-all, no tolak ansur (no give and take) Singapore’s Team. This, Singaporeans say, is at the root of the problem, one that is most unfortunate.

Why Nor Mohamad, not Anifah Aman

Singaporeans are also generally puzzled as to why Nor Mohamed Yakoop represented Malaysia at the recent signing ceremony in Singapore? They expected Foreign Minister Anifah Aman to have accompanied Nor Mohamed and do the honours for Malaysia.

But as proud Singaporeans, they say the deal is okay – after all it is Malaysia’s loss and Singapore’s gain. As Singaporeans they feel proud of their Team, who got the best deal for Singapore. As for Lee Kuan Yew, getting such a deal from Malaysia makes the outcome even sweeter.

Need for Transparency

All told, transparency is crucial in ensuring positive, forward movement in bilateral relations as well as in winning the hearts and minds of the public. One can try to mask underlining problems of any deal by words and promises of future infrastructural development and consequent economic growth. But good intentions can produce bad results.

Foreign policy should be concerned with a country’s “national interest”. Diplomacy as an instrument of Foreign Policy is the art of negotiation, of getting deals that serve the national interest.  In other words, “national interest” should dictate Foreign Policy.

Unless “national interest “is firmly embedded in the minds of government ministers, it is not likely that the making of foreign policy will return to its proper, central place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in our case, Wisma Putra). In this regard, Singaporean diplomats and their political masters are stark realists, always serving their country’s national interest.

In conclusion, there is a need for proper national debate in Malaysia on the Najib- Hsien Loong deal– in the media, in intellectual and business circles and, indeed, ultimately in Parliament. Perhaps, a White Paper should be presented to our legislators in Parliament.

42 thoughts on “KTMB Land Issue: The Last Train into Tanjung Pagar

  1. Maybe you are right, Isa, but do we know ? That is why I suggested full disclosure to our legislators in Parliament via a White Paper. But I fully support good bilateral relations with Singapore. We can learn a lot from the way they do things. Singapore’s national interest is always first for its leaders and civil servants. They will negotiate hard for Singapore but will honour their deals. So let us move forward.–Din Merican

  2. The reason why Singapore gets to laugh all the way is because they have a copy of a photo of Najib romancing one Mongolian gal.
    Tron, how can you be so sure of that? That is hearsay until you show me proof.–Din Merican

  3. daniel, jangan lupa besok bawak mp3 lagu last train to london pergi sekolah.

    pakcik hamid kantin kata lagu tu dulu top tahun 70an macam lagu hail amir dengan uji rashid.

    masa tadika dulu kita nyanyi lagu london bridge hahaha

  4. God is hearsay too because nobody saw Him. If I repeat what somebody says to me (who claimed to have seen Him), that would be hearsay. What we see is His power. So here goes

  5. I sometimes wonder what might have happened if the British had given the management of the railway to Singapore and they operate the ” Singapore Railway” all the way from there into northern Malaya. Can Singapore then claim all the railway land in Malaya as belonging to them after the separation?
    Go figure.

  6. Economic union would help both countries to prosper.

    Imagine the great boost to trade and tourism that would occur if all the delays etc at JB/Woodlands and Geylang Patah/Tuas are eliminated.

  7. Beyetwiser, yes .It depends on the treaty with Malaya(later Malaysia) and the Separation Agreement in 1965. The Singaporeans will always negotiate and then try to get the best deal for their country. I admire them for this professionalism and commitment. Our Wisma Putra boys and girls can learn the art of negotiation (diplomacy) from them.

    This KTM deal is good for them ; Singaporeans knew what they wanted even before they sat at the negotiating table. Their objective is to remove the proverbial dagger from the heart of Singapore. LKY started it in 1990 and it has taken them that long (2010)–two decades– to finally seal it. Patience pays off.

    I am not sure whether we Malaysians knew what we wanted out of the deal which saw us give up KTM Land in exchange for reclaimed land where we have to bear part of the development charges. The deal is already done, but we as citizens are entitled to know more about it. Now we hope bilateral relations with Singapore will be less contentious and will be conducted on a Win-Win basis.

    The appointment of former ASEAN Secretary-General, Ambassador Ong Keng Yong as High Commissioner to Malaysia is a sign that Singapore takes relations with Malaysia seriously. He is an outstanding diplomat.

    Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, who I know personally, is Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is concurrently Ambassador-At-Large in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Iran. He was Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) from January 2003 to January 2008.

    He started his diplomatic career in the MFA from June 1979 and was posted to the Singapore Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the United States of America. He was Singapore’s Ambassador to India and Nepal from 1996 to 1998.

    From September 1998 to December 2002, Ambassador Ong was Press Secretary to the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong. At the same time, he held senior appointments in the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, and the People’s Association in Singapore.

    He was educated at the Anglo-Chinese School and St Andrew’s School in Singapore. He graduated from the then University of Singapore with a LLB (Hons) and the Georgetown University (Washington DC, USA) with a Masters Degree (MA) in Arab Studies. In 2008, he was Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre on Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus in the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

    Ambassador Ong was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1997, the Long Service Medal in 2002, and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2008 by the Singapore Government. He also received the Medal of Friendship of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2007, and the Medal of Sahametrei of the Kingdom of Cambodia in 2007 for his support of the Cambodian people.–Din Merican

  8. “Do we know…?” Dato. Of course we know. Because it represents a win-win deal for both countries.

    If I had my way, I would try to bring in Singapore for the ENTIRE Iskandar project.

  9. The 434 some acres of railway land was originally leased to the Federated Malay States (later to become Malaya) by the Straits Settlement Govt (later to become Singapore) in 1918 for railway use.

    The KTM land in Singapore never belonged to KTM or the Government of Malaysia(GOM). KTM had lease of the land for rail services ONLY.

    The moment KTM ceases to provide or use the said land for rail services, the lease terminates and the land reverts back to the owner, the Government of Singapore(GOS).

    The Jurong Railway land reverted back to the GOS without any fuss and fanfare in the early 1990s when KTM discontinued services to Jurong.

    The KTM land in Singapore has no development potential and zero commercial value as its lease specifies its use to rail services only.

    The GOS, I gather, would rather make a deal with the GOM and get back its land now, then to continue having a major breach in the island’s security as it has little if any control over who and what moves on the KTM railway line.

  10. who and what moves on the KTM railway line…??

    Mongkut rang me and told me that yellow dogs were chasing after a fat lady on the railway line. But that is just a hearsay. Is that true, Tok Cik.

  11. Tok Cik is busy humping the Fat Lady. How do I know? Tean told me. That’s hearsay. Four witnesses say Tok CIk did it. The four witnesses will have to come to court to say what they saw.

  12. Piqued,
    Righto! I can say this is the very few things that Lajib has done it right. Actually, Singapore government can play hardball….Forcing the KTM train to stop & “makan” all the KTM land. GOS can just pay S$1 to GOM. Instead of billion dollars deal. Hmmm…..why didn’t the singapore oppositions especially Low Thia Khiang make a big issue out of it? Come on! I pay you S$1…..You berambus…..So how….Beh song hah! Fight laa…..

  13. Beh song hah! Fight laa…..

    Eh Looes74,

    Lu ai song lu khi kia kia Kl 9 hor (9 Julai?) lo. Cin na song eh..cik bo leaw.
    Tok Cik ee ka ki song than cile pui chabor.

  14. Dear “beyetwiser” and “piqued,”

    Some basic history and facts for your education:

    In 1918, the British colonial authorities sold, in perpetuity (for ever and ever) to the Government of the Federated Malay States the properties and estates previously owned by Singapore Railway, renamed the Federated Malay States Railway, and finally the KTMB as a corporate entity.

    In a Statement made in the Malaysian Parliament on June 28, 2010, the Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pilly, said that in total, the KTM owns 434.26 acres (173.7 hectares) of land in Singapore; of which 352.52 acres (141 hectares) was to be held by the Federal Land Commissioner for a period of 999 years while 81.74 acres (32.7 hectares) in perpetuity.

    The KTMB would have no cause to close down Tanjung Pagar or relocate its terminus to another place in Singapore had it not been for a series of missteps which began in 1990 with a lopsided agreement between Malaysia and Singapore called the POA (Points of Agreement), and culminating in the 2010 deal between Najib and Lee Hsien Loong requiring KTMB to relocate from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands on 30 June, 2011.

    Karim Mahsood
    Dear Karim,

    Thanks for your clarification. Hope you did not mind my quoting you in my piece. We paid a heavy price for those 1990 POA foul ups. The corporatisation of Kereta Api Tanah Melayu and the name change to KTMB too became problematic. Dealing with Lee Kuan Yew was not easy as some people thought. That was why Mahathir tried to be difficult with the deal that was made between Daim Zainuddin and LKY.

    Now I assume Mahathir is happy with the Najib-Lee Hsien Loong deal since we have not heard from him as the last train moves out of Tanjung Pagar. Salams, Din Merican

  15. Din asked why FM Anifah was not present. Little bird whispered that Anifah was cut out of the deal ,so his presence was not required. Nor Yakoop is pretty adept at playing second fiddle to three former PM’s and an expert at wheeling and dealing ( win big or loose big, like the forex deals with Mahathir which turned out to be a disaster ).

    Rosmah decreed it to be so , so that more to grab and less to share. Ever wondered why LKY called on Rosmah for makan kueh session at her palace in Taman Duta/ Kenny Hill many moons ago???
    ken, tell me more about the Rosmah-LKY meeting.Maybe we should wait for WikiLeaks.–Din Merican

  16. Piqued, please back up your statement: “The KTM land in Singapore never belonged to KTM or the Government of Malaysia(GOM). KTM had lease of the land for rail services ONLY.”

    Looes74. Play hardball? Malaysia too can play hardball, but that won’t help either side to improve bilateral relations. I do not know the details of the KTM Land deal and that is why I, as a Malaysian citizen, raised questions and expect answers from my own government. I do not seek answers from leaders of Singapore since I am a non-Singaporean.–Din Merican

  17. Last train to Ulaanbaatur… just hearsay only Dato, just hearsay. But isn’t it all a game of perception?

  18. Sentinel,

    The last train to Tanjung Pagar is real, not a game of perception. I do not know about Ulaanbaatur’s train service. You must know, perhaps.–Din Merican

  19. Funny if to have a Malaysian Immigration Control in Tg Pagar. If the passport is stamped in Tg Pagar and if a crime is commited in KTM land, then only Malaysian Police can arrest him and charge him in Malaysian Court?

    For the channel tube, do we have the French and British Immigration at each other’s land?

  20. In my neck of the woods in west London, we had the Central, Piccadily, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan lines. Over here we call our Underground, trains and there is an N-train for Malaysians to take on July 9th.

  21. Malayan Railway land in Singapore

    The entire issue should be located in a broader historical context. Malayan Railway land, covering over 217 hectares and stretching 20–30 kilometres into Singapore territory, was acquired through a lease under a 1918 colonial ordinance specifically for use by Malayan Railway (which later became KTM) for a period of 999 years. That same ordinance limits the use of the land to railway operations, thus preventing the land from being developed despite being situated on prime land.


    For a read on the 1918 version of the ordinance itself goto:

    Shahrir: Ridiculous To Pretend KTM Land In Singapore Is Malaysian Territory
    31 May 2010 , By Bernama

    Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad, the MP for Johor Baru, said it was “hysterically ridiculous to pretend” that the KTM track, its station and other plots are Malaysian territory when they are actually land leased from Singapore purely for the purposes of the rail service run by KTM Bhd.

    Also the Deputy Minister’s statement in Parliament last year also clarifies this point and an analysis of this can be viewed here:

    Click to access RSIS0762010.pdf

    Hope the above quotes help.
    Thanks, I think Karim will respond. rsis presents the Singapore view. Our genius A-G Patail should have an opinion on the matter, but he is keeping mum over the matter. This KTM land saga is water under the bridge, but Malaysians in positions of high responsibility should learn from this and the Pulau Batu Puteh loss so that they will not repeat the same mistake for the third time.By the way Shahrir Samad is not the final authority on the KTM matter.–Din Merican

  22. Overzealous privatization by these not so smart negotiators; they overlooked the implications of corporatization of Keretapi Tanah Melayu to KTM Bhd. Now we to live with this trillion ringgit mistake to the end of time.

    Singapore would preserve the facade of the Tg. Pagar station to remind us of our blunder. Well done Mahathir, Daim. You are “heroes”;like Soros said, Mahathir is a menace to Malaysia 😦

  23. Our genius A-G Patail should have an opinion on the matter, but he is keeping mum over the matter.– Dato

    Not the AG. That would be the SG. It is his turf and not the AG’s.
    Hey, my friend,
    Who is the boss of the SG? The buck stops at the top.–Din Merican

  24. I remember “The Last Train from Gunhilll”.
    This wheeling and dealing sounds more like Bolehland’s last train to Boot Hill.

  25. Dear Pique,

    Please find and read the Railway Transfer Ordinance 1918, revised in 1955. Too long to reproduce in this column. However, the Preamble to the Ordinance read as follows:

    “Whereas an agreement has been concluded between the Government of the Colony and the Government of the Federated Malay States for the transfer to the Government of the Federated Malay States of the railway known as the Singapore Railway, whereof the terminal stations are situated at Pasir Panjang and at Woodlands respectively:

    “And Whereas the Government of the Federated Malay States through the Crown Agents for the Colonies has by way of consideration for such transfer placed to the credit of the Government of the Colony securities valued at $1,864,571.43 and paid to the credit of the Government of the Colony a sum equal to $2,271,428.57, making in all a payment by the Government of the Federated Malay States to the Government of the Colony of $4,136,000 in respect of the transfer of the said railway”.

    Karim Mashood

  26. My friend Mongkut is still negotiating to get a piece of this infidel asset. Most people must be the same as this infidel working 9-5.

  27. Hmm.., from what i’ve heard, Malaysia’s Grand Design by FLOM is ‘inject’ 1,700,000,000 (er. that’s 1.7 trillion) ringgit into the system from FDIs and other magical means by 2020. Perhaps all this Grand Funk Railroad thingy is just part of the conjuration? No wonder we have so much interest from the only foreign country that takes great interest in the health and wealth of UMNO..

    Me? I’m loafing with my friend Achmed, watching Kylie shakin’ with Grand Funk Railroad’s original hit:

  28. Malaysia lost an expensive piece of real estate when my Tok Tam jettisoned it back in ’65. The word used by the media was “expelled”. But “jettison” would be more accurate.

    Which had Harry Lee crying on national TV declaring “For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and unity of the two territories.”

    Why do men cry??

  29. Dear Karim,

    I make reference to the same Singapore Railway Transfer Ordinance, specifically sect 5, the section that pertains to the acquisition of land no longer used for rail services.

    As quoted below, if these lands were no longer used for the specific purpose of the said railway, the GOM can PURCHASE these said lands on 6 months notice from the Crown i.e the GOS.

    On expiration of such notice, the GOS takes possession of such land.

    Neither KTMB nor the GOM is in a position to PURCHASE these plots. Even if they were, they would be subject to GOS zoning laws. Hence the negotiations to resolve the matter.

    The GOS always had the upper-hand in such negotiations as the lands are not zoned as commercial nor residential, but again specifically for Rail purposes only.

    Resumption of other lands not used for railway purposes.

    5. —(1) If any land, not being land vested in the Chief Secretary, Federation of Malaya, pursuant to section 2 or 3, which has been acquired by the Government of the Federation of Malaya for the purposes of the said Singapore Railway, is not used and will not be required to be used or ceases to be used for the purposes of the said railway, such land together with any buildings thereon may be purchased by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara* on six months’ notice under the hand of the Minister being given to the Chief Secretary, Federation of Malaya, of the desire of the Yang di-Pertuan Negara* to purchase such land and buildings.


    S (NS) 78/59.

    *President see section 2 (2) (h) of the Interpretation Act (Cap. 1).

    (2) On the expiration of the term of such notice the Minister may authorize the Collector of Land Revenue to enter and take possession of such land and buildings on behalf of the Crown.

    (3) If the Government of the Colony and the Government of the Federation of Malaya do not agree as to the price of such land together with the buildings thereon, the price thereof shall be ascertained by a person to be selected by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara*, who shall be a Member or Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, or a Fellow or Associate of the Royal Institution of British Architects.

    *President see section 2 (2) (h) of the Interpretation Act (Cap. 1).

    (4) The decision of such person on a matter referred to him under this section shall be final and binding on both parties.

  30. As I understand it the land along the railway line now belongs to Singapore. If this is so why are we wasting our time bringing up Acts, Ordinances etc. of decades ago?

    Put the matter behind us and get on with current bilateral plans.

  31. Piqued,

    You are missing the point, and the point is that the 1990 POA was a lopsided agreement. For nearly twenty years, 1990-2009, Malaysia refused to implement the POA because of that. Then came the 2010 deal which made minimal improvements to the 1990 terms.

    True, the Railway Transfer Ordinance 1918 (which in effect was a Sale and Purchase Agreement) restricted the use of the properties and assets of the KTMB for railway related purposes only. BUT the 1990 POA changed all that. The 1990 agreement introduced the concept of joint development, which put new uses to the KTMB land and gave new value to all the KTMB land in Singapore.

    The current debate is about the lopsidedness of the 1990 POA and the inequities of the 2010 deal. That is what people are talking about now.

    And the fact remains, as Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pilly said in Parliament on 28 June 2010, that the first 81.74 hectares were sold in perpetuity (for ever and ever) while the remainder 141 hectares, purchased subsequently to support the expansion of the railway services, were sold on the basis of a 999-years lease.

    Agreed, nevertheless, that all of the above are now water under the bridge!
    Yes, Karim and Piqued, it is water under the bridge. Malaysia-Singapore relations can now go on to the next level–as partners in development and ASEAN regionalism.

    My piece is intended to ask: what have we learned from negotiations with Singapore on the deal and incidentally, also from the Pulau Batu Puteh saga? A properly documented account of the KTM Land matter by way of a White Paper to Parliament (to keep the Malaysian public and their representatives on the august Parliament informed) can be used as a case study for the training of our future generations of diplomats and public officials. We can ignore the lessons of our history only at our own peril. –Din Merican

  32. Mereka yang terlibat menyerahkan tanah KTM di Singapura akan dikenang sampai bila-bila. Mereka akan kekal berada dalam lipatan sejarah. Kalau Sultan Hussien of Kampong Glam dikenang sebagai orang yang menyerahkan Temasek kepada Stamford Raffles, nama mereka yang terlibat menyerahkan tanah KTM di Singapura sebaris dengan Sultan Hussien of Kampong Glam. Kalau nama Sultan Hussien of Kampong Glam dikutuk sampai bila-bila, nama mereka yang terlibat menyerahkan tanah KTM di Singapura pun akan dikutuk sampai bila-bila.

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