ISSUE OVER LAND: Khalid refuses to provide site for ‘wellness village’
HULU SELANGOR: THE Selangor government has refused to give Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK) a development order for it to continue with a mega project worth RM2.5 billion in Serendah, which had been given the approval by the Federal Government in 2009.
The man standing in the way of the project, which includes a wellness sanctuary and a RM500 million education hub, is none other than Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who had made a decision in 2010 to “confiscate” some 323.7ha of land given to YBK to develop prior to the opposition coming into power in 2008.
The state government had “confiscated” the land after demanding that the foundation settle arrears in land taxes running into millions of ringgit and had set a condition, whereby it wanted Khalid and state executive councillor Rodziah Ismail to be installed as the chairman and trustee in the non-governmental organisation. Despite offering to pay back the arrears, the land was confiscated.
In October last year, the High Court had ruled that the land should be given back to YBK.
YBK chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom had then announced that it would continue with the mega project that would generate billions of ringgit in spin-off revenue. This plan, which will also provide job opportunities for more than 30,000 people, has not materialised as Khalid has refused to give the foundation a development order.
“His intransigence in the matter is frustrating. It is as if he doesn’t care about the people in Hulu Selangor. This project can generate billions of ringgit in revenue and provide job opportunities for more than 30,000 people.”
Zainal Abidin said they had met Khalid several times to get his approval for the project to build a wellness sanctuary enclave, complete with orchard residential lots, an education hub and a “wellness village”.
Not only that, the mega project received interest from international corporations from Australia and Japan, which are keen on building a wellness themed retirement village, resort, spas and international schools.
“We have made all the preparations. The roads have been built, contracts are sealed and all we need now is the development order to start construction.
“We hope Khalid would reconsider his decision (to deny us approval) and issue us the development order.”
Zainal Abidin said property prices in Serendah would increase as the education hub alone would house seven to eight universities.
“Students, parents, locals and tourists will also visit Serendah’s wellness sanctuary. The area will also offer 5,000 units of eco-friendly properties.”
In addition, the area is strategic because the construction of a Rawang bypass will also reduce travel time from Kuala Lumput to Serendah to 20 minutes.
“It will be a perfect place for a weekend retreat and family holiday, if managed well. The housing development projects that we have planned for Serendah can cater to more than 30,000 people in Hulu Selangor.
“Inevitably, this can help the overflow of population in KL and other parts of Selangor. The project is also environment friendly as we pledge to keep 40 per cent of the project as a green lung.”
Zainal Abidin said the the university hub project would be able to accommodate 5,000 students. The hub will be built on land bought over from YBK by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).
“The state government will benefit from taxes and a project that will become a catalyst for further developments in Serendah.
“I just don’t understand why it is so hard for them to agree to help the people in Hulu Selangor with YBK,” he said.
On the “wellness village” project, Zainal Abidin said this would include cancer treatment and plastic surgery facilities, a living cell therapy, weight management and meditation centres, retail outlets and shopping centres.
“I want the people to know the opportunities that await them and demand for Khalid to approve the project. It will not just help the locals but also increase YBK’s funding, which will be used to help poverty-stricken people in Selangor. It is a win-win situation for everyone.”