Expropriation, also known as eminent domain or compulsory purchase, gives the government the right to acquire land in the hands of private ownership even if its owner does not want to sell. To limit potential abuses, the government’s use of such power is typically restricted only to cases in which it needs to acquire the land for a public purpose, especially for the provision of infrastructure and public services. However, there are cases when the use of such power is extended to allow land assembly to attract private investment. In this case, the public purpose is to foster local economic development and job creation. This practice was prevalent in countries such as Indonesia prior to 1998 and Tunisia and Egypt prior to 2011. In these instances, it led to a serious backlash. Mandatory land acquisition has also been used in Singapore to facilitate regeneration.

Mandatory land acquisition in Singapore