Govt eyes to amend Land Acquisition Bill

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The government has proposed to amend the Land Acquisition Bill, which could see landowners receive better compensation when their land is compulsorily acquired by authorities for development, said media reports.

Among the proposed changes is abolishing the Betterment Levy, which is the levy imposed on the compensation received by a landowner due to the perceived gain in the value of the remaining land, following the development of the acquired land.

Notably, its imposition has left some landowners receiving nominal compensation in the past.

Aside from this, the government also proposed to enable the Management Corporation Strata Title developments to act on behalf of individual unit holders when acquiring common property.

For example, current laws provide that when parking lots in a condominium are acquired, each unit owner must go through the whole acquisition process even when their units are unaffected. The Law Ministry noted this has caused some inconvenience.

The Land Acquisition Act was last amended majorly in 2007. Lawyers believe that removing the betterment levy will create feelings of fairness among landowners whose properties are acquired, as it means that the government recognises their ownership of the property.

“A lot of the land owners, when their properties are being compulsorily acquired, they will feel that ‘Look, it’s not my fault that you want to compulsory acquire my land. I don’t have a choice in this, I don’t have a say in this.’ And as such, when you impose a betterment levy on me, it’s really something that’s not my fault. And you are imposing a levy on me,” said Steven Lam, Director of Templars Law.








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