After learning the completion of tunnel boring work from the Cochrane to Pasar Rakyat station of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line [source], I decided to compile information on Jalan Cochrane.
Jalan Cochrane used to be a quiet, leafy, close knit neighbourhood filled with rows and rows of quaint pre-war government quarters but sadly, the quarters were unfairly demolished at the end of 2011.
The road was named after Charles Walter Hamilton Cochrane who was the British Resident of Perak from 1929 to 1930 and later the chief secretary of the Federated Malay States from 1930 to 1932 [source].
It’s sad that the civil servants and their families were given a short 14-day notice to move when most of them have been living there their whole lives. Check out this blog post by one of the long term residents of Jalan Cochrane.
Even The Star (quoted below) was shocked to know that the civil servants were given (only) RM2,000 compensation from the Government. [Writer’s comment: the word ‘only’ inside the parenthesis/bracket has been erased from the The Star article but I swore it was there last January. I would’ve put emphasis mine beside the sentence if I added the bracketed word. Note to self: ALWAYS screen cap]
Bernama reported that the occupants had agreed to move to the People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Seri Alam in Sungai Besi and the PPR Kampung Muhibbah in Jalan Klang Lama.
The families were given given a 14-day time frame to move and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) helped the families to move by providing the transportation.
Each family received (only) RM2,000 compensation from the Government. [source]
The MRT website has already advertised the upcoming IKEA furniture store.
IEN Consultants in its website claimed that IKEA Cochrane will be completed in 2014.
Besides IKEA Cochrane, LTAT is planning to build 6 blocks of condominium comprising of 4 blocks of high rise condos (38 and 39-storey) and 2 blocks of low rise condos (7-storey). They proposed to increase the population density of the area from 60 people to 400 people per acre which is almost 7 times the current population!! As if KL is not jam packed already.
Mutiara 482 Cochrane [source]
The whole land deal is very confusing and super dodgy. The Edge wrote:
Boustead property unit, Mutiara Rini Sdn Bhd (MRSB), is acquiring three parcels of land totalling 12.84 acres from Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) for RM106.7 million, or about RM190 per sq ft. The land was owned by the government and used for quarters for civil servants. It was later disposed of to LTAT.
LTAT is the single largest shareholder of Boustead, holding a 59.7% stake in the company.
According to Patchay, 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), the land owner of the government quarters in Jalan Cochrane has awarded Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) to build apartments for government servants in the said area.
But if you go to Boustead website, it is quite clear that the freehold condominiums above are meant to be sold to the public, not for government servants.
So our government transferred RM2 billion worth of government land to 1MDB, who later awarded the land to LTAT, who later sold part of the land to Boustead (whose parent company is LTAT) on the cheap? What kind of fuckery is this?
Hwang DBS Vickers noted that LTAT sold the land to Boustead below the market price at RM191 per sq ft (psf). They added that the land should be priced at least RM300 psf, taking into account stronger pricing power once the MRT station is completed. They believed that the land will be sold to the public at RM900 per sq ft average sales price (possibly higher with MRT) and eight times plot ratio.
This is how cronies make money — buy a land under the market price (or acquire it through land swap), hike the land price by forcing the government to build/redirect an MRT station on the piece of land and finally, sell it to the public at an inflated price.
Hwang DBS Vickers also believed that there will be subsequent land sales from LTAT to Boustead for this piece of land, taking into consideration that LTAT has sold land to Swedish home furnishings retailer Ikea, which will also have a 50:50 joint venture with Boustead in the 1.2 million sq ft mall.
By the way, The Edge claimed that one particular parcel in Jalan Cochrane was privatised to a company called Cochrane Indah Sdn Bhd based on a list released by the government in 1998. The principal shareholders of the company were Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Yaacob Mohd Zain, the late Tun Ghafar Baba and Asnida Tun Daim, the daughter of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.
So yeah, more underhanded land transfer from the government to its cronies in the name of re-development.