Second Reading Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah SC, on the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill
05 AUG 2014
5 Aug 2014 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
- I beg to move, ‘That the Bill be now read a second time’.
- Madam, this Bill seeks to amend the Land Acquisition Act ("LAA") to
- enhance the compensation framework for landowners who have part of their land acquired; and
- to improve the efficiency of the land acquisition process.
- I will now take the House through the main features of the Bill.
- Revised application of betterment levy
- The first concerns the application of the betterment levy.
- When the Government acquires part of a land owner’s land, the value of the remaining portion of land held by the land owner could increase due to the use that the land acquired will be put.
- At present, section 33 of the LAA requires such increase in value to be deducted from the statutory compensation the land owner is given for the acquired land.
- This is known as the betterment levy.
- Clause 12 of the Bill removes the requirement for such increase to be deducted.
- Land owners will therefore receive compensation equivalent to the full market value of the acquired land.
- This amendment continues in the spirit of the previous set of amendments to the LAA in 2007 which pegged compensation for acquired land to the market value which a bona fide purchaser would reasonably be willing to pay for the property.
- Enabling the Management Corporation of strata-titled developments to act on behalf of individual unit owners in acquisitions of common property
- The second amendment enables the Management Corporation of strata-titled developments to act on behalf of individual unit owners when common property is acquired.
- Today, when small parcels of common areas, such as carpark lots or grass verges in strata-titled developments are acquired, unit owners must go through the entire acquisition process individually even if their own units are not affected by the acquisition, and even if their share of the compensation is not significant.
- And this has resulted in inconvenience to individual unit owners.
- The Bill amends the LAA and the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) to allow the Management to represent individual unit owners when common property is acquired.
- The Management Corporation will also be able to use the Management Corporation’s fund for acquisition related expenses.
- This amendment will minimise inconvenience to individual unit owners, as well as allow for quicker progress of the acquisition proceedings and disbursement of compensation.
- Miscellaneous Technical Amendments
- Finally, the Bill makes several technical and housekeeping amendments. I will highlight two such amendments.
Remove need to paste physical notices for site possession
- The first relates to the posting of notices on acquired land.
- At present, the LAA requires the Collector of Land Revenue (“the Collector”) to post hardcopy notices on the acquired land when possession is being taken, in addition to serving the notice on interested persons.
- Clause 7 amends the LAA such that notice may be served in ways other than posting notices on the acquired land.
- The modes of service are currently set out in section 45 of the LAA and include hand delivery, fax or pre-paid registered post.
Allow Appeals Boards to Direct Costs against Non-Parties
- The second concerns the power of the Appeals Board to award costs against persons who are not parties to the appeal.
- This gives the Appeals Board similar powers as the Courts to order costs against non-parties who, for instance, unnecessarily or unreasonably prolong the proceedings or add to the legal costs incurred.
- Non-parties will be given an opportunity to be heard before the Appeals Board before an order to pay costs is made.
- Madam Speaker, I beg to move.
Last updated on 05 Aug 2014