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Recent land acquisition law amendments

Recent land acquisition law amendments

United Kingdom

The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom to amend the law relating to town and country planning. The amendments done to pave way for development of infrastructure were as follows:

• To extend the powers to acquire by agreement land which may be affected by carrying out public works: Here, public works is a slightly broader term includes mines, schools, hospitals, water purification and sewage treatment centres. Municipal infrastructure, urban infrastructure and rural development are often used interchangeably but imply either large cities or developing nations’ concerns respectively.
• Critical infrastructure includes public works (dams, waste water systems, bridges, etc) as well as facilities like hospitals, banks, and telecommunications systems, and views them from a national security viewpoint and the impact on the community that the loss of such facilities would entail. Furthermore, the term has been expanded to include digital public infrastructure projects.
• To amend the law relating to compulsory acquisition of land (Compulsory Purchase) and to compensation where persons are displaced from land or the value of land or its enjoyment may be affected by public works: Compulsory purchase is an action of the state to seize a citizen’s private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen’s rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner’s consent.
• The property is taken either for government use or by delegation to third parties who will devote it to public or civic use or, in some cases, economic development. The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are for public utilities, highways, and railroads, however it may also be taken for reasons of public safety, such as in the case of Centralia, Pennsylvania.
• To provide, in the case of compensation payable in respect of things done in the exercise of statutory powers, for advance payments and payments in interest.


Land is acquired in Malaysia under the Land Acquisition Act 1960, which requires the state to pay compensation adequately; however, adequate compensation is not defined in the statute. Historically, the courts have declared that the requirement may be satisfied by expressing adequate compensation in terms of money. But then the question arises of how much money is required to meet the constitutional mandate that adequate compensation be paid? As a solution, practitioners rely upon the concept of market value that is also provided under the laws of compulsory acquisition.

The Land Acquisition Act was first enacted in 1960 (Act No 34 of 1960) and then revised in 1992 (Act 486 wef 18 March 1992). Incorporating all the amendments thereafter, the Act as of 1 January 2006 for infrastructure development interprets, unless the context otherwise requires.

Payment of compensation or deposit in court

As per section 53 all interested persons the Land Administrator shall, as soon as may be, make payment of each amount awarded to the person entitled thereto unless:

(a) there shall be no person competent to receive such payment;
(b) the person entitled thereto does not consent to receive the amount awarded; or
(c) there is a dispute as to the right or title of the person to receive the compensation, or as to the apportionment thereof.

In the cases referred to in paragraphs (1)(a), (b) and (c) the land administrator shall apply ex parte to the registrar of the court in chambers, supported by affidavit, for an order to deposit the amount awarded into court and, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the law for the time being in force relating to civil procedure, the registrar shall have power to make such order.

Withholding 25 per cent of the compensation

Where the total amount of any award in respect of any scheduled land exceeds 15,000 ringgit, then, notwithstanding section 29, the land administrator shall, subject to subsection (2) make payment of only 75 per cent of the amount of the award, and shall withhold 25 per cent thereof until the amount of compensation is finally determined either by the court or, if there is an appeal or further appeal pursuant to section 49, on the appeal or further appeal, under the following circumstances:

(a) before the expiry of six weeks from the date of service of Form H on the Government, person or corporation on whose behalf such land was acquired; or
(b) if before the expiry of the said period such Government, person or corporation has made an objection under section 37 to the amount of compensation or any other objection which may affect such amount.

If within the period specified in paragraph (1)(a) no such objection as is referred to in paragraph (b) of that subsection is made, then, as soon as may be after the expiry of that period, the land administrator shall make to the person entitled thereto payment of the amount withheld under paragraph (a) of that subsection.

If such final determination results in a reduction of the amount of compensation, the amount withheld or so much thereof as equals the amount of the reduction, as the case may be, shall become free of all claims in respect of the compensation, and the remainder, if any, shall, as soon as may be, be paid to the person entitled thereto.

If such final determination does not result in a reduction of the amount of compensation, the amount withheld shall, as soon as may be, be paid to the person entitled thereto.

The Land Administrator shall pay on every amount paid late payment charges at the rate of eight per cent per annum from the time of payment of 75 per cent of the amount of the award until the time of payment of the first-mentioned amount.

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