MALAYSIA - A landowner in Johor will be slapped with a maximum fine of RM$500,000 (S$192,000) after illegally demolishing a 150-year-old heritage mansion that once belonged to philanthropist Wong Ah Fook.
The demolition was done in the middle of the night.
The summons would be issued by the Johor Baru City Council under its Planning Act to the landowner, who is living in Singapore.
Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) chief whip Yahya Jaafar said the owner might have been worried that the state government would acquire the land at a price lower than the market value and thus hastily demolished the mansion in the middle of the night last Wednesday.
The owner wanted to develop a commercial property in its place, reported Malaysia's The Star.
"The land in the Jalan Lumba Kuda area in the city centre where the mansion stood is worth a lot due to the surrounding development under Iskandar Malaysia," said Mr Yahya on Sunday.
"That could be why the landowner was in such a hurry to tear down the mansion to develop a commercial property in its place."
LONG ACQUISITION PROCESS
It is learnt the land could be worth RM$30 million in the market.
Mr Yahya said the acquisition process would usually take some time and the landowner might have been trying to take advantage of that.