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Friday, March 4, 2011

Prasarana to get part of RRIM land for development

PETALING JAYA: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd will be allocated a parcel of land in the proposed Sungai Buloh Rubber Research Institute Malaysia (RRIM) development project for commercial development as part of the “rail plus property” model being used to offset the cost of building the mass rapid transit (MRT), sources said.

“Negotiations are ongoing between Prasarana and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF),” said one source.

“The parcel of land (to be allocated) will be used to build the MRT's main depot but it will also include commercial development above and possibly around the depot, in the form of retail and office space,” another source explained.

Prasarana has been appointed the MRT project and asset owner.

It has been reported that the Government will fund the MRT, possibly through the raising of bonds, and that Prasarana will adopt Hong Kong's “rail plus property” approach in its urban public transportation system, whereby parcels of land are developed to offset the cost of construction of public transport systems.

Prasarana will be given land to develop in joint ventures with developers and the proceeds from that will be repaid to the Government.

It has also been reported that Prasarana is finalising prospective land parcels that the company would develop.

Last March, the Government announced that EPF would form a joint venture to develop 3,000 acres of land in Sungai Buloh owned by RRIM into a new hub for the Klang Valley. The new hub in Sungai Buloh will lead to over RM5bil of new investments, it was then said.

The RRIM land is also among the sites identified for re-development under Budget 2010.

The location and size of RRIM's land near the fast developing Kota Damansara area holds significant attraction for developers and is expected to command a price premium, analysts have said.

The redevelopment of the RRIM land is also part of the Greater Kuala Lumpur Strategic Development Project initiative under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

In July last year, the EPF said it had engaged several consultants to advise on the development of the land.

Subsequently, Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd was set up by the Federal Government and will act as a development manager on behalf of the EPF and the Government. Kwasa Land will be involved in conducting open tenders or negotiations with developers relating to the land parcels in the RRIM development.

It is left to be seen if Prasarana would have to pay for the parcel of land in RRIM or whether it will be given to it free. “This is something being worked out now but it is important to note that Prasarana is wholly-owned by the Government and the MRT project is also Government led,” a source said.

By The Star

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