The Star Newspaper
Wednesday May 21, 2008
Johor church gets okay to convert land
JOHOR BARU: The congregation of Holy Light Church here had reason to rejoice last Sunday – they finally received approval from the Johor government to convert its land from agricultural to religious use after a 16-year wait.
The state executive council met on April 9 and approved the application, said Bar Council member Roger Tan, who is also a congregation member of the 56-year-old English church.
Last Sunday, Tan handed the official letter of approval to senior pastor Rev Nicholas Yeo.
“We are grateful that the Mentri Besar personally intervened in this matter,” said Tan who had highlighted the church’s plight to Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.
“Within two hours, the mentri besar called back and asked me to inform the church that the government would consider favourably our application after the election. True to his word, our application has been approved.”
In 1989, the church bought the agricultural land in Mukim Plentong, next to the Ponderosa Golf Course. When they applied for the conversion of the land use, they discovered that the state government had other plans for it.
The church then filed a suit against the government in 1995, and the government subsequently withdrew from the land acquisition.
In 1999, the church applied again for the use of the land, which was sub-divided into two lots, to be converted for institutional and religious purposes. In 2000, the state government only approved one piece for institutional use.