In his trademark style, Dr Mahathir Mohamad issued a stinging response to a Johor Umno lawmaker who rebutted his remarks on signs advertising freehold properties in Forest City.
The former premier said perhaps Sekijang MP Anuar Manap does not understand the Malay language (Bahasa Malaysia) signs.
“In everyone’s eyes, the land is freehold. It (the sign) says that very clearly.
“But if he doesn’t understand (the Malay language), he must go back to school,” he told reporters at the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) headquarters in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.
Earlier, Anuar accused Mahathir of attempting to provoke the people who have a lesser understanding of the issue with his claims.
The Sekijang MP said the freehold status was only for strata titles and not the land.
“Yes, it is a freehold title but it’s not for the land, but for the strata. Not an inch of of Johor land is given out as freehold in this case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Johor PKR deputy chief Jimmy Puah, a lawyer who deals with property matters, claimed that Anuar was confused.
According to him, only a freehold land could issue freehold strata tittles.
“The only material difference between a normal freehold property and strata property is that for strata, you cannot pay for your individual quit rent, you have to pay collectively with the other owner.
“Other than that, their rights are the same.
“You will own the property in perpetuity unless the land office forfeits your title perhaps for using the house for commercial purposes or not paying quit rent,” he told Malaysiakini.
The Bukit Batu assemblyperson claimed that there are properties in Forest City which are landed strata as well.
“Meaning they are not just limited to high-rise units. So at the end of the day, whoever buys and owns a landed freehold strata property owns it in perpetuity.
“So how can he say not an inch of Johor land is given out as freehold?” he asked
In a blog posting, Mahathir had published photographs of himself standing next to the signs, and pointed out that it contradicted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s claim of a 99-year leasehold.
“Maybe Najib doesn’t know. Maybe Najib did not read the signs,” he added.
The former premier said while Najib promised that Malaysians would be able to reclaim the land after 99 years, the signs, however, painted a different picture.