Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Charity firm recovers land in law suit

New Straits Times

JOHOR BARU, Mon. - Al-Yatama Bhd, which runs nine orphanages in Johor, won over RM64 million in a law suit on Friday, but the charity-based company
is not expecting a single sen.

Polarcity Bhd, which was ordered to pay the amount to Al-Yatama, was wound up last year.

The management of Al-Yatama was, however, glad that the court had ordered that their land be returned. The land had been tied up over the past four years due to litigation with Polarcity.

Al-Yatama chairman Abdul Rahman Abbah said the land could now be utilised for economic activities to generate more income for the orphanages.

"Even though we will not receive the money granted by the court, we are glad that we now have the land back."

Al-Yatama manages two orphanages in Johor Baru, and one each in Pontian, Batu Pahat, Muar, Segamat, Kluang, Kota Tinggi, and Mersing.

The company looks after more than 900 orphans in its orphanages and provides financial assistance of RM100 each every year to over 5,000 who live with their relatives.

"We are very grateful to lawyers Roger Tan and Easter Chik for representing us free of charge in the case," said Al-Yatama director Sulaiman Hassan.

In the case against Polarcity, Al-Yatama had applied for a joint-venture agreement dated June 16, 1992 to be rescinded, and a lease dated March 29, 1996 cancelled, on the grounds that these were obtained by fraud or misrepresentation.

Al-Yatama was given 2,700 acres of land in Mukim Ulu, Sg Sedili Besar in Kota Tinggi, Johor, on May 4, 1988.

Due to lack of experience and inability to develop the land, they signed a joint-venture agreement with Polarcity, which planned to develop the area into both a palm oil estate and a health and recreation centre.

Al-Yatama was supposed to receive 30 per cent of the income once the area had been fully developed.

Polarcity which failed to pay up a premium of RM2,381,252 for the development of the centre later decided to change its plans.

Polarcity was sued in December 1999.

High Court judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail yesterday ordered that the joint-venture be rescinded and the land lease returned to Al-Yatama Bhd.