Friday, March 16, 2007

Tighten rules to prevent land scams, govt urged

New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Businessmen, developers and landowners worried over land title fraud cases have urged the government to impose more stringent regulations.

Concerned representatives from various associations held a Press conference to urge the government to re-look legislation which they feel do not guarantee property ownership.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry deputy secretary-general Datuk David Chua said the Federal Court, in the case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsom Boonyanit in 2001, allowed the party which purchased a land title in good faith to keep the land, regardless of the fact that the title was forged.

Chairman of the Conveyancing Practice Committee of the Bar Council, Roger Tan, said the original owner, clueless about the sale, was not given any compensation.

"So, even if the purchaser bought the land in good faith from a con man, he gets to keep it," he said.

It was suggested at the Press conference that a form of compensation fund or insurance scheme be initiated to protect innocent purchasers.

The MCA Public Complaints Department have received 20 complaints of this nature since 2003.

Its legal adviser, Datuk Theng Book, said last year, the department prevented a RM350,000 landed property from being sold in the nick of time.

He said since the land registry does not carry photographs of the land owners, some use the names of the land owners to get an extract of the land grant before selling the property to unscrupulous people.

He said those targeted are those in the older age group.

Also present at the Press conference were representatives from the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association, National House Buyers Association and the Malaysian Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci).