12% of land acquired yet to be developed: Jayakumar
By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 11 April 2007 1552 hrs

SINGAPORE : Land acquisition is not done without thought, and currently only 12 percent of land acquired have yet to be redeveloped.

Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister S Jayakumar said this in Parliament on Wednesday when responding to Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong's question on measures to ensure that the government only acquires land it needs.

Professor Jayakumar assured MPs that proposals to acquire land for development are considered carefully and must be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

For a major acquisition, they must be presented to a ministerial committee.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar also wanted to know why the plot of land at 20 - 22 Geylang Road was left undeveloped for over 20 years since it was acquired.

This plot is in the immediate vicinity of the Kallang MRT Station.

Professor Jayakumar said this was acquired for the development of a commercial-cum-transportation centre.

However, after the clean up of the Kallang-Rochor River was completed, land use plans were reviewed and the land was re-zoned for part residential and part open space use.

So the area was enhanced with the Kallang Riverside Park, and the Kallang Gasworks was phased out.

Professor Jayakukar said these took time.

But he assured Mr Hri Kumar that plans for the area will continue to be for quality housing and waterfront development.

The Law Minister said in general, new factors may sometimes arise after acquisition which makes it no longer possible to put the land to the original planned use.

These include demographic changes.

It is also difficult to synchronise acquisition with the redevelopment of the land, especially for larger plots as these require a longer gestation period.

All these factors could contribute to a delay in land development. - CNA /ls