By Siti Hajar Zainal
PUTRAJAYA, 5 March - Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and its neighbour MARDI have signed an agreement here today to resolve their land ownership issue over some 600 acres that arose with the establishment of UPM.
The pact in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by UPM Vice Chancellor Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Fauzi Ramlan and the Director-General of MARDI, Datuk Dr. Abdul Shukor Abd. Rahman. It was witnessed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Dato’ Mohd Hashim Abdullah, and other officers of the two institutions.
Under the agreement, the ownership of the land involved would be exchanged between the two parties on an acre for acre basis, and it is to be settled in three phases. The first phase involved 273.960 acres of land for UPM and 252.7 acres for MARDI.
The second phase covered 67.034 acres for MARDI and 49.146 acres for UPM.
The last phase involves 17.888 acres where the two parties have to agree on the valuation and compensation for ownership of the land.
When UPM was established in 1971, the university was found to be occupying several plots of MARDI land, while the latter was also occupying several lots of UPM land.
Prof Datuk Dr. Mohd Fauzi in his speech said following the MoU of 1972 and 2001 between UPM dan MARDI, the two parties agreed to give each other the right to continue occupying the lands and to collect whatever revenue, rents and profits while waiting to resolve the question of land ownership.
“The MARDI Administration building is presently sited on UPM land and the Bukit Ekspo and UPM Estate Office which has now been converted into the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), MTDC and its surroundings are sitting on MARDI land,” he said.
The building of the SKVE Expressway, Hospital Serdang, the Wetland area and the track of the ERL had altered the size of the lands involved in the two earlier agreements.
“The agreement today would allow for a final resolution to the task of demarcating the boundaries of UPM and MARDI,” he said.
Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Fauzi also said that the value of the lands around them were like a gold mine. Part of the lands could be developed to generate incomes and reduce the university’s dependence on Government allocation, in line with its move for more autonomy.
“The exchange of lands between UPM and MARDI is not a simple matter because the lands have to be re-surveyed and sub-divided into separate lots so that neither would suffer any losses in the land exchange,” he added.
Datuk Dr. Abdul Shukor in his speech said although they were not able to resolve their land ownership issue at the land office, they would be able to do so in phases, based on their close ties and spirit of neighbourliness.
“The first phase had been completed in the Memorandum of Understanding of 8 August 1972 and the outstanding land demarcation in the subsequent phase in the 2001.
“The demarcation of the outstanding lands involved was resolved with the building of the road boundary known as Persiaran MARDI-UPM and the re-surveying of the lands after those taken for the building of the SKVE and ERL,” he said. – UPM
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