JCC land acquisition: Members concerned over intangible losses

Jurong Country Club (JCC) members are concerned that the Land Acquisition Act may not consider some intangible losses suffered after they have to hand over the site to the Government.

They also asked about the possibility of postponing the handover date "should the political climate in Malaysia lead to a delay or even cancellation of the high-speed rail project" for which their land is earmarked. JCC must hand over its 67ha site in November next year.

The points were raised at a members' dialogue attended by about 400 members on Aug 25. Attendees included members of the club's general committee, representatives from its appointed valuer Knight Frank, and lawyers from law firm Rajah & Tann.

"Since the acquisition is not a case of 'willing buyer, willing seller', members felt strongly that additional to compensation based on a 'tangible' valuation of JCC, the authorities should include compensation for the 'intangible' losses they would be compelled to suffer as a consequence of the compulsory acquisition," the club said in a statement yesterday.

These include losses from inconvenience and the demise of the JCC brand name, which has been developed and highly regarded here and overseas for nearly 40 years, it said.

"Our use of the club's facilities that we have paid for, the sociable environment and relationships we have built over the years are being forcibly taken from us... We hope the spirit of the people, whom the law must serve, will be considered by the authorities as well," a member was quoted as saying.

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the compensation awarded cannot consider certain factors, including the urgency of the acquisition, any disinclination of the seller to sell or an increase in the value of the land that could come from future use, the club noted.

Members at the dialogue also asked about the possibility of postponing the handover date in view of events in Malaysia. Club president Bobby Wee assured members this question will be raised with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) at their next meeting.

The club's appointed acquisition task force is working with Knight Frank to finalise its valuation of the site. The claim must be submitted to the Collector of Land Revenue by Oct 2, it said.

The SLA has also appointed its own professional valuers.

The Collector of Land Revenue will consider the claims submitted by each side before deciding on an amount.

The club will hold an extraordinary general meeting before submitting its valuation claim.

Rennie Whang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2015, with the headline 'JCC land acquisition: Members concerned over intangible losses'. Print Edition | Subscribe