BACKGROUND The amendments to the NLC seek to modernise the land administration of the country. The present land acquisition procedures under the LAA are also clarified and enhanced further by the amendments. In addition, the STA is also amended to address the issues of subdivision application and the issuance of strata title.
AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL LAND CODE 1965
Acquisition of industrial land by foreign entities The previous section 433B(1)(aa) of the NLC does not require approval of the State Authority (“the State”) for the acquisition of industrial land by foreign entities. However, following the deletion of paragraph (aa) by the recent amendments, the approval of the State will now be required for the acquisition of industrial land by foreign entities.
Qualified title for underground land The previous section 92C of the NLC required the details of an alienated underground land to be specified in the final title. Now, when an underground land is being alienated, the current section 92C(1A) allows a qualified title to be issued and registered first, before the final title is released.
Extension of term of years Section 76 of the NLC provides that a land may be alienated by the State either perpetually or for a term not exceeding 99 years. The new section 90A allows the proprietor of the land or the management corporation, in the case of land with subdivided buildings, to apply to the State for an extension on the term of years of alienated land. However, the extension must be applied before the term of years specified in the land title expires.
AMENDMENTS TO THE STRATA TITLES ACT 1985
Rent collection Rent collection for land with subdivided buildings previously fell under the NLC. Following the introduction of section 96A to the NLC, coupled with the insertion of section 4C, and a new Part IVA to the STA, rent collection for subdivided buildings will now be governed by the provisions of the new Part IVA of the STA. By virtue of the amendments, the rent for the existing strata titles will be payable at the beginning of a calendar year. The rent for the strata titles will now be due from the beginning of the following year.
Forfeiture and vesting A new Part IVB has been introduced to the STA to govern the forfeiture and vesting of subdivided buildings. When a parcel owner fails to pay rent on time, the Land Administrator (“the Administrator”) may declare that that parcel is to be forfeited by the State and be vested and registered under the name of any statutory authority to hold the parcel for the benefit of the State. The new section 23P of the NLC provides that the forfeiture may be challenged on appeal to the High Court, pursuant to section 418 of the NLC. However, such appeal will be time-barred by a statutory three-month period.
Acquisition of subdivided building or land The STA was previously silent on the management of the strata register and the affairs of the management corporation in the event of a land acquisition. A new Seventh Schedule is now introduced to the STA to provide procedures on managing the strata register and the affairs of the management corporations when land acquisition takes place.
AMENDMENTS TO THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT 1960
Enquiry and award Section 19 of the LAA provides that when the State is of the opinion that a land is urgently required for public purpose or public utility which is beneficial for the economic developments of the nation or to the public, a Certificate of Urgency (“the Certificate”) may be issued by the State Director to direct the Administrator to take possession of the land. The new section 19A(1) of the LAA, however, requires the Administrator to continue with a full enquiry and to make an award despite the possession of the land which has been taken pursuant to the Certificate.
Temporary occupation and use of land The previous section 57 of the LAA provided that the State is permitted to procure the temporary occupation or use of any land under four circumstances, namely (i) public purposes, (ii) beneficial economic developments of the nation and public, (iii) the purposes of mining, residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, recreational, or any combination of such purposes, and (iv) public works. Following the amendments to section 57, a land may now also be acquired for temporary occupation or use if the land has been indicated in a development plan under the town and country planning laws. The duration for such temporary occupation or use is subject to a three-year cap from the commencement date of such occupation or use.
Compensation sum Before making an offer for the compensation, the new section 58(2A) of the LAA allows the Administrator to obtain a written opinion on the value of the land from a valuer before making an offer of compensation. Besides that, the Administrator may substitute the monetary compensation, in full or in part, by making an equitable arrangement with a person who has an interest in the land. Once an equitable arrangement is reached, the particulars of such equitable arrangement have to be recorded. The State is also permitted to temporarily occupy the land even when the landowner does not agree with the compensation sum offered. If there is no agreement to the compensation sum, the Administrator may refer to the High Court pursuant to section 60 of the LAA.
CONCLUSION A modernised and effective land administration system is crucial to the economic developments of the nation. It is hoped that the amendments will effectively transform the land regulatory regime in Malaysia and contribute to the efforts of making Malaysia a competitive nation.