07 January, 2010


In the year 2008, the PAS-led Kedah government had announced that the bumiputera quota for all housing developments in the state involving swapped “Malay Reserve land” would be increased from 30% for 50%.

The process of swapping Malay Reserve land involves conversion of a Malay Reserve land into a non-Malay Reserve land. Previously, this process involves swapping the land’s Malay Reserve status with a similar size non-Malay reserve land (plus 5%). Thus, every swapping process would actually lead to the increase of 5% in size of the Malay Reserve land and there is no decrease of Malay Reserve land in Kedah.

Under the previous administration of the state by Barisan Nasional, the housing development on such swapped Malay Reserve land is subject to a 30% Bumiputera Quota. The swapping normally occurs in the area of Alor Star whereby majority of the land in the city are designated as “Malay Reserve” area. It is done to promote housing development and to create more affordable houses in the city.

After continuous protest by all corners in the state, it was announced on 6th December, 2009 by the PAS-led Kedah state government that they would defer the implementation of the increase of the 50% bumiputera quota for housing development in Kedah involving swapped “Malay Reserve land”. Thus, on the following day, I have congratulated the PAS-led Kedah state government for putting a hold on the implementation of their policy to increase the bumi quota from 30% to 50%, which would have otherwise cause further damage to the housing industry and the overall development in Kedah.

Unfortunately, the PAS-led Kedah state government had immediately introduce a new set of guidelines for the swapping of the “Malay Reserve land”. Under this new guideline, a Malay Reserve land can only be swapped with an equivalent value of non-Malay Reserve land (for example, a RM100,000 land can only be swapped with a RM100,000 land).

This new guidelines is yet to be gazetted officially by the state government but almost all application and approval for housing development in Alor Star involving swapped Malay Reserve land had again been deferred (since the increase of the Bumiputera Quota to 50%).

I further understand that this new policy is not practicable as it is near to impossible to find a non-Malay reserve land of same value to qualify for the swapping process, in particular in Alor Star whereby more than 90% of the land area is under Malay reservation. On the other hand, the land located outside Alor Star would not fetch the same high value as the city.

The previous calls to cancel the increase of the bumiputera quota of 50% were meant to ensure continuous development of the housing industry in Kedah, in particular in area such as Alor Star, where non-Malay Reserve land are scarce.

Based on the introduction of this new guideline for swapping of Malay Reserve land, I would like to question the sincerity of the PAS-led Kedah state government in resolving the predicament faced by the housing industry in Kedah since the increase of the bumiputera quota to 50% over a year ago.

By replacing an old irrational policy with a new irrational policy would continue to make things worse in Kedah.

Is this how Pakatan Rakyat solves issues in Pakatan Rakyat states?

The creation of more irrational policy in Kedah would only cause the housing industry and developments in Kedah to continue to be stagnant. At the end, it is the people in Kedah that would suffer from such irrational policy.