The Borneo Post

Government to take back RTS land if transfer occurred, says Dr Mahathir


KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government will take back the land used for the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) project if its ownership had been transferre­d to any party.

The prime minister said anyone who wanted to acquire land need to go through the due process.

“Yes ... we will demand the land back. If there was a transfer by any party they must go through the due process,” he told a press conference a er chairing the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidenti­al Council meeting here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said this when asked to comment on claims that one of the five plots of land for the RTS project was transferre­d to the Sultan of Johor during the reign of the Barisan Nasional government.

Asked whether the land was bought by the Sultan of Johor, he said the government did not receive a full report on the matter.

“We (the government) heard the rumours from the press (media) that the land has been taken over by the Sultan of Johor. About payment we do not know,” he said.

The PH government in early April applied for a six-month extension until September from Singapore to decide on the RTS project.

The bilateral agreement on the project was signed in January 2018 during the previous administra­tion. The project was initially scheduled to commence this year and expected to be completed by December 2024.

Asked whether the government was willing to buy back the land from the Sultan of Johor, Dr Mahathir replied: “If he (Sultan of Johor) has paid, of course we have to buy it back but if he hasn’t paid then we won’t buy back…it is our land. We require that land for the purpose of building necessary building,” he said.

The prime minister also dismissed the notion that the issue would reignite tension between the government and the Johor palace.

“There’s no tension, what tension?” he said.

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