Sarawak Election: The land premium strategy

Sarawak state government boasted that its residential land renewal premium is now the cheapest in Malaysia. This was revealed at the 4th Sabah Surveyors Congress which was held in Kota Kinabalu recently.

The land premium could be as high as 25 percent of the market value of the property. The premium in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintuku is as high as 61 percent and  the premium for the rest of the areas in between 25 to 51 percent.

The Sarawak state government has dispensed with tender and auctions for state lands, preferring to deal with direct alienation.

With the increasing market values of property assessed by valuers and the value of today’s ringgit that was depreciated at the last Asian Financial crisis, many people find exorbitant to fork out such premium payments.

As a result, the opposition DAP made some inroads into Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly and in Parliament at the last polls.

It was reported recently that the Sarawakian Chinese, who make up 26 percent of the state’s population, is seen as the biggest vote bank for the DAP and other opposition parties to deny BN’s two-third majority in the state election on April 16.

As a measure to win their hearts and minds, the Sarawak state government has made its land lease renewal premium transparent that even the lay person can calculate.

This is certainly a practice that should be emulated by the other states in Malaysia.

For example, for terrace houses, the renewal premium for another 60 years leasehold, is fixed at RM1,000 per unit.

For a semi-detached house, it is fixed at RM3,000 and RM6,000 for a detached unit.

For shop houses, it is RM40,000 for Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

Sarawak’s leasehold titles are for 60 years. It is possible to renew up to 99 years with an additional 30 percent top up premium.

For example, a terrace house is RM1,000 for another 60 years. Just add another RM300 to make it RM1,300 for 99 years.

Town Leases (TL) land titles in Sabah are similar to Sarawak’s 60 years. Many have less than 30 years leasehold left.

Some banks refused to accept any leasehold property with less than thirty years remaining as loan collateral.