Malaysia still deciding on the fate of two plots of land at Woodlands Singapore

SINGAPORE, Feb 18: Singapore’s proposal to purchase two plots of land belonging to Malaysia that will be affected by the redevelopment of Woodlands Checkpoint (WCP) is still being deliberated by the Malaysian authorities.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Dr Azfar Mohamad Mustafar said it is logical for Singapore to buy the land but the point is whether or not Malaysia wants to sell or swap them, which both countries have done before, has yet to be decided.

“Singapore has written to Malaysia (for the purchase of the land). The relevant authority in Malaysia is deliberating and looking into it. So far we have not received any feedback from the relevant authority,” said Azfar who was met by Malaysian journalists on Saturday

According to Azfar, all government land abroad is registered under the Federal Lands Commissioner (Pesuruhjaya Tanah Persekutuan).

He said Singapore has expressed its intention last year to buy the freehold lands which were sized about 2.3 acres in total.

Azfar said he had proposed a land to swap for the said plot of land but in the end the federal government will decide on the matter.

In September 2010, Singapore and Malaysia had sealed a land swap deal to resolve the acquisition involving Malayan railway land in the republic which involved three plots of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji, and Woodlands respectively, as well as another three in Bukit Timah.

In place, Singapore offered in exchange four parcels of land in Marina South and two parcels in Ophir-Rochor.

The Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has recently said it will be redeveloping WCP for a more sustainable and long-term solution to address the chronic congestion at the land crossing which connects the republic with Malaysia.

The redeveloped WCP will be operationalised progressively from 2028.

ICA said it has conducted extensive feasibility and technical studies to determine the optimal amount of land needed to meet future demands.

The land required for the redevelopment of WCP can only be met through land acquisition and land reclamation.

When asked whether Malaysia still owns land in Singapore, Azfar said: “We (the federal) have pockets of land around the island. One of them is an acre of land at Holland Village,” said Azfar adding that this excludes land in the republic owned by Johor.