Second Reading Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah SC, on the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2015
13 MAR 2015
13 Mar 2015 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Deputy Speaker,
- I beg to move, ‘That the Bill be now read a second time’.
- Earlier, I took the House through the State Lands (Amendment) Bill 2015, which clarifies the extent to which a landowner owns underground space below his land.
- There is also a need to amend the Land Acquisition Act to permit the acquisition of a specific stratum of space belonging to the landowner. These amendments can be found in the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2015. The Bill also contains other technical amendments, including amendments to clarify the provisions relating to the temporary occupation of lands. I will discuss these amendments in turn.
- Allowing Flexibility to Acquire Specific Stratum of Space
- First, allowing flexibility to acquire specific stratum of space. The amendments in clause 3 of the Bill allow for the acquisition of specific stratum of space. This provides the Government with the flexibility to acquire only a specific stratum of space that is needed, for example, a pocket of underground space, instead of having to acquire the entire column of land, including the surface land and airspace, when developing public projects.
- Where the Government acquires a specific stratum of space, the landowner will receive market value compensation for the acquired stratum. If the landowner’s remaining land or surface development is damaged by the acquisition, he or she can claim compensation for the damages sustained. This is similar to other forms of acquisitions under the Act.
- Clarification of Temporary Occupation Provisions
- I turn now to the amendments which clarify the provisions relating to the temporary occupation of lands. Presently, the Act provides that where any land is required for temporary occupation and use for a public purpose, the President may direct the Collector to procure the occupation of the land for up to three years. The Collector, in turn, shall pay interested persons compensation that is agreed between the parties, failing which the difference shall be referred for the decision of the Appeals Board.
- The Bill refines the framework for temporary occupation of land in a number of ways.
- First, clause 9 of the Bill introduces a Schedule setting out the items that affected landowners may claim compensation for, such as loss due to displacement from the land or structural damage caused to the building on the land. The Schedule also sets out the basis on which compensation is to be assessed, to provide parties with greater clarity as to what may or may not be claimed.
- Secondly, the Bill sets out the procedure and timelines for making a claim for compensation for the temporary occupation of land. This includes the timeframes within which such claims have to be served on the Collector, failing which the right to claim compensation is time-barred unless the timelines are extended by the Appeals Board. However, the Appeals Board may not grant an extension exceeding 6 years from the time when the right to compensate first arose.
- Thirdly, the Bill permits those who are aggrieved by the Collector’s award of compensation to appeal to the Appeals Board, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Bill. The decision of the Appeals Board is final and conclusive.
- Other Amendments
- The Bill provides that owners who suffer substantial impairment of their rights in land because of any temporary occupation, acquisition of specific stratum or severance may request the Government to acquire their entire property.
- The Bill also makes a number of consequential amendments to the following Acts:
- Rapid Transit Systems Act;
- Street Works Act;
- Land Transport Authority Act;
- Public Utilities Act; and
- Sewerage and Drainage Act.
- Among other things, these amendments align the provisions relating to compensation for temporary occupation of land and the right to elect for acquisition within each of these Acts with the provisions of this Bill.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I beg to move.
Last updated on 13 Mar 2015