|A real sweet heart deal|
The nasty quarrel over development charges on former Malayan Railway land parcels is traceable to Singapore and Malaysia maintaining differing interpretations of the Points of Agreement (POA) that was signed in 1990. Subject being the issue of freehold land titles for three vacated plots of land in Keppel, Kranji and Woodlands to a joint venture company, M+S, when the Tanjong Pagar station was relocated.
Anyone associated with the property business knows that Singapore's standard practice of imposing development charges, in line with municipal law stipulations, to obtain planning permission is a juicy source of income.
It was said that initially Malaysia agreed, or appeared to agree with, Singapore's view that the charges were payable. Whoever said that was dead wrong, at no time did Malaysia believe these charges were payable. So off to a third party hearing in London went the deal breaker. The three-member panel of the arbitral tribunal, comprising a former English judge, a German legal expert and a former Australian chief justice, threw out Singapore's claim on last Thursday.
Interestingly, the tribunal also noted that during the hearing in July this year, Malaysian witness Nor Mohamed Yakcop had conceded that even if the charge was payable, the agreement was "a sweet deal" for Malaysia. So the outcome can only be a double win for Malaysia. Not exactly the common interpretation of a "win-win" situation.
So why were the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs and Law Minister so "happy to accept" the international tribunal's decision? Most likely, it must be because the money lost need not be deducted from their own paychecks. Moving on is no fun, if you have to do it with your tail between your legs. All the more reason to keep harping on why our CPF must be returned, before more gets frittered away.