Sunday, May 20, 2007

Instil filial piety in young ones

New Sunday Times
by Roger Tan

IT is indeed a blessing that I was able to celebrate Mothers Day with my 83-year-old mother and 89-year-old mother-in-law last Sunday.

The picture shows both the octogenarians beaming with joy as their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren went home to Yong Peng to celebrate the occasion with them.

For my mum, life was especially hard when she first came over with dad to Malaya in March 1947. Living in extreme poverty then, her pregnancies were often fraught with problems.

She suffered three miscarriages, and two boys died one week after their births. Another girl had to be given up for adoption by the Christian missionaries at the Seremban Convent High School in 1957, whose records showed had died of pneumonia three months later.

In China in 1943, her first child, a girl, was born when mum was a weak and frail 19-year-old herself. It was also in that year that our paternal grandmother died in her 40s.

Believing that the newly born girl had brought bad luck to the family, our superstitious maternal grandmother decided to let her die in the cold outside.

Despite all these tragedies, mum is no doubt a woman of great fortitude. While dad toiled as a farmer and labourer and was often away from home, my mum performed her duties as a mother looking after us at home.

My mother-in-law is also very much an indomitable character in her own right. Hailing from China in 1932, she did not stop tapping rubber trees to support the family until she was 65.

As my father-in-law (who passed away in 1980) had asthma and was unable to work, one cannot imagine how she could have brought up a family of nine girls and three boys, including a fine daughter for me to marry.

Today, she has 37 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She would often testify that she derives her strength from her strong faith in God, which she no doubt does as she still reads the Bible every day.

I am sure many others have similar if not more powerful stories to tell about their mothers. Likewise, there are many mothers out there whose children were not able to celebrate the occasion with them as depicted by the powerful Chinese New Year advertisement of Petronas in February this year.

Indeed, how we treat our parents will indirectly teach our children how they treat us later. It is often said that filial piety is becoming a thing of the past.

Surely, if our children are taught the importance of filial piety when they are young, then their children will also love them in return when they grow old.

To the Chinese community, filial piety or xiao means complete obedience to one’s parents or parents-in-law, and nothing can be more important than looking after your own parents when they are old.

So, a tale is often told that once upon a time in China, there lived a very poor family. They had a young son but the man’s mother would always give a part of her share to her grandson so that the young boy would not starve. Fearing that his mother would starve instead, the man decided to bury his son alive. But when he dug a hole, lo and behold, he discovered a pot filled with gold.

Filial piety is a universal value fundamental to the family institution.

For example, my Muslim friends are often reminded of Surah Luqman (31) verse 14 in the Quran: "And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents: In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, And in years twain was his weaning: (Hear The Command), Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents; To Me is thy final Goal."

Our Christian friends, on the other hand, are often told that it is one of the Ten Commandments to honour our father and mother so that we may live long.

Our parents cannot just wither away in loneliness or be treated like "excess baggage" when they grow old.

It follows that our young ones should be taught, trained and imbued with filial piety as early as possible. Our primary school education system must prioritise this.

In fact, the New Sunday Times reported on April 22 that Jerai Member of Parliament Datuk Paduka Badruddin Amiruldin had urged parliament to enact a law to punish errant children who abandoned their parents.

The report also quoted the president of the National Council of Senior Citizens’ Organisations Malaysia, Lum Kin Tuck, responding that the proposed law was unnecessary and, if introduced, "can be a disgrace to us".

Of course, it was not too nice either to read the New Straits Times on March 12 that one requires between RM1.4 million and RM2.8 million in order to retire comfortably.

In Singapore, the Maintenance of Parents Act 1995 allows any person who is 60 years old or above and who is unable to maintain himself to apply to the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents for an order that one or more of his children pay him a monthly allowance or any other periodical payment or a lump sum for his maintenance.

In India, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2006 was tabled to ensure that if a person responsible for the upkeep of his parents failed to take care of them, he can face up to three months’ imprisonment and a fine in addition to being disinherited from the parent’s will.

To my mind, maintaining our parents is a family responsibility and not the state’s. If the state has to come in to compel our children to maintain us like what is being done in Singapore or India, then something is very wrong with our society.

As a parent, to know that my children are maintaining me because of a court order only grieves me further to realise that this is retribution for I have failed as a parent all these years.

It is also a damning indictment of poor parenting on our part which we, as parents, must assume full responsibility.

In conclusion, let me share with you this oft-quoted inspirational lesson written by an unknown author: A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year-old grandson.

The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

"We must do something about grandfather," said the son. "I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.

Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up."

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening, the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family.

And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or the tablecloth soiled. Children are remarkably perceptive.

*The writer still grieves for his missing father:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Q & A on amended housing law

The Sun

The Housing Development (Control and Licensing) (Amendment) Act 2007 (“Amendment Act”) which amended the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (“Act 118”) came into force on April 12, 2007. Since then, the Conveyancing Practice Committee of the Bar Council (“CPC”) has received numerous queries from lawyers, developers and the public on the operation of some of the amendments.

While it is not the policy of CPC to proffer any legal opinion on questions of law posed to them, the CPC has decided that in order to assist the affected parties and subject to the disclaimer below, our views on some of the queries are as follows:

Section 22D(1)of Act 118 stipulates beyond any doubt that the consent of the developer is not required for the absolute assignment of rights or interests in a housing accommodation. In a case where the developer is not the proprietor of the land, is it necessary to obtain the proprietor’s consent to the assignment?

As the consent of the proprietor to an assignment was not required before the amendment, it is also, therefore, not required after the amendment.

The CPC is of the view that an absolute assignment is good if served by way of a notice pursuant to section 4(3) of the Civil Law Act 1956. What section 22D seeks to do is to restate the position of the law and to provide penal sanctions against a developer who requires consent to an assignment.

The CPC notes that under both the current Schedules G and H agreements, the duty to obtain the issue document of title or the strata title, as the case may be, and to deliver the same together with an instrument of transfer lies with the developer.

The CPC also notes that in a case of a sale of property for which no title has been issued at the time of sale and the developer is not the proprietor of the land, it has been the practice of solicitors for the purchaser or the purchaser’s financier to obtain the proprietor’s undertaking to deliver the issue document of title to the purchaser or the financier, when issued. It would therefore be prudent for a purchaser or financier to give notice of assignment to the proprietor as well, in which case, the undertaking from the proprietor to deliver title when issued is no longer necessary.

To reinforce this point, the amended Schedules G & H should be brought in line with section 22D by expressly stipulating that a purchaser may assign his rights and benefits under the sale and purchase agreement after the completion date without the consent of either the developer or the proprietor.

Since the developer’s consent has been dispensed with, there is no longer a need for the consent page to the deed of assignment between the assignor (vendor) and the assignee (purchaser). However, the consent page normally contains an undertaking by the developer to deliver the strata title and a valid and registrable instrument of transfer thereof in favour of the assignee. Is it necessary to request the developer to issue an undertaking by way of a separate letter to the new purchaser or to the new purchaser’s financier?

The obligation of the developer to deliver the strata title when issued together with the instrument of transfer and the right of the first purchaser to the same is already set out in clause 11 of the Schedule H agreement. In an assignment from a first purchaser to a second purchaser, all the rights and interests of the first purchaser are assigned to the second purchaser. When the second purchaser requires financing, all the rights and interests which he obtained from the first purchaser are in turn assigned to the second purchaser’s financier. Hence no further undertaking from the developer, by way of a separate letter or otherwise, is necessary.

Section 22(D)(4) states that the purchaser or his financier or their respective solicitors may request for the necessary confirmation from the developer, subject to payment of a fee not exceeding RM50 for every request for confirmation. Previously, it has been a normal practice to require the vendor to apply for the developer's consent, at the vendor's own cost and expense, and the developer's administrative fee usually includes the replies or confirmations made to the relevant solicitors. Section 22(D)(4) provides that the purchaser should pay the RM50.00 for every request made. Shouldn't the vendor be paying for this?

The law now requires the purchaser to seek the necessary confirmation from the developer, and to pay to the developer for every request made. The Vendor is not required to pay for this.

In a sub-sale transaction, the SPA was signed before April 12 and the developer has given its conditional consent before April 12. The developer's consent was conditional, inter alia, upon:

(i) the vendor paying the administrative charges of RM500.00;

(ii) the purchaser signing a fresh deed of mutual covenants with the developer; and

(iii) the developer endorsing its consent on the deed of assignment.

All these conditions have not been complied with by the vendor and purchaser at this moment.

1. Is the developer's consent or the endorsement of its consent on the deed of assignment still required in the above case? 

2. Do the vendor and the purchaser still need to comply with the developer's conditions imposed before April 12, since the developer is now not permitted to impose any conditions under the section 22D?

3. Can the developer still insist on the compliance by the vendor and the purchaser of its conditions which were imposed before the section 22D came into force?

The answer to all the above three questions is “No”.

If an application had been made for the developer’s consent before April 12, and all the conditions and payments imposed or required by the developer have been fulfilled or paid, and the developer had endorsed its consent to the deed of assignment before April 12, then the parties to the transaction should continue and complete the transaction accordingly.

If the developer’s consent, conditional or otherwise, was granted before April 12, and the conditions or payments imposed or required have not been fulfilled or paid and the developer has not endorsed its consent on the assignment, then the pursuit of the developer’s consent should be abandoned as it no longer required. Parties are, however, required to comply with section 22(D)(2) and 22(D)(4).

After April 12, no developer is permitted to require any consent, and this will include endorsement of any consent granted before April 12. It follows that as the breach can only occur after April 12, the question of whether the legislation has any retrospective effect does not arise.

In a sub-sale of property where the individual strata title has not been issued, in view of the new section 22D, please confirm the conditions precedent to such an agreement (if any) as we are of the view that the vendor should obtain the developer’s written confirmation on the status or details of the property before the completion period can commence.

Before the Amendment Act, it had been the practice to require the vendor to obtain the developer’s consent and the obtaining of such consent is usually made a condition precedent to the completion of a sale and purchase transaction. After the amendment, there should be no longer any condition precedent relating to obtaining the developer’s consent.

However this should not affect the requirement of other consents from any other relevant body or authority required under any other written law, which may continue to be made as conditions precedent.

The amendment refers to any sub-sale or re-financing. In direct purchases from a developer, is the developer’s endorsement of consent necessary for the Deed of Assignment (by way of security)?

Section 22(D) applies to all these cases:

(a) financing of the acquisition by the first purchaser from the developer;

(b) sub-sale between the first purchaser and the second purchaser and purchasers subsequent thereto; and

(c) financing of the acquisition by the second purchaser and purchasers subsequent thereto.

Is the consent of the developer still required for a Deed of Receipt and Reassignment?

A Deed of Receipt and Reassignment is essentially an instrument where the financier assigns the rights and interests back to the purchaser/borrower. As such, consent of the developer is not required.

No amendments have yet been made to the Schedule G and H agreement under the 1989 Regulations. The existing provisions in the Schedule G and H SPA state that the developer shall endorse its consent to the purchaser’s assignment to any third party and charge an administrative fee of RM500 or 0.5% of the purchase price whichever shall be lower. In the event of a sub-sale of a property where no individual document of title has been issued, the principal SPA (whether under Schedule G or H) having such exiting provisions would be inconsistent with the Amendment Act. Are the parties still bound by the existing provisions?

We understand the amended Regulations are expected to be out soon. In the meantime, where there is inconsistency, the parent Act will prevail, meaning that from April 12, no consent is required and no administrative fee is required to be paid.

Does the definition of “housing accommodation” in the amended Act include serviced suites or apartments?

If the serviced suites or serviced apartments are intended for human habitation or partly for human habitation and partly for business premises, then they will fall within the definition of housing accommodation as amended. It does not matter if the accommodation is erected on a land designated or approved for commercial development as the Amendment Act has removed these words from the definition of housing accommodation inserted by the 2002 Amendment Act.

Does Section 22(D) apply to a housing development undertaken by DBKL, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) or the Perbadanan Kemajuan of other States?

Unless exempted by the Minister under section 2(2), all housing developers have to comply with Act 118 since 2002. Prior to December 1, 2002, Act 118 did not apply to any society registered or incorporated under any written law relating to co-operative societies and any body or agency established and incorporated by statute and under the control of the Federal Government or the Government of any State.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Love is all around for matriarch

The Sunday Star
By Meera Vijayan

Joyous reunion: Teo surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at her Yong Peng house.
YONG PENG: Matriarch Teo Guat Kwee has reason to be smiling this Mother’s Day as she finds herself surrounded by many of her loving children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

The celebration is extra special because a wedding reception in the family last night allowed 89-year-old Teo’s family to turn the weekend into a joyous reunion.
Clutching a bouquet from her children, Teo was a picture of happiness at her home in Yong Peng. 

One of Teo’s daughters, Wong Ee Teng, 46, said the family celebrated Mother’s Day annually but decided to make this a grander affair as many of her relatives were around. 

Ee Teng said that her mother, although not a strict disciplinarian, taught her family the value of determination, education and thrift. 

Reminiscing with laughter, Ee Teng said that when she and her siblings were growing up, they would often show Teo their latest purchases of clothes and shoes. 

Teo would gently admonish them saying, ‘Money won’t bite you, you can save some of it’, shared Ee Teng, with a chuckle as her sisters nodded with amusement. 

Ee Teng said before her mother became wheelchair-bound a couple of years ago, Teo was fastidious about keeping herself fit for as long as she could. 

Another daughter, Ai Ngee said that her mother continued to tap rubber trees in their plantation until the age of 65, as she preferred to keep the work within the family.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Persatuan nelayan Johor dapat injunksi

Utusan Malaysia

JOHOR BAHRU 6 Feb. – Mahkamah Tinggi di sini hari ini mengeluarkan perintah sementara bagi menghalang Syarikat Power Corporate Sdn. Bhd., daripada memasuki dan menguruskan ladang kelapa sawit milik Persatuan Nelayan Johor di Mukim Sungai Segamat, Segamat.

Perintah berkuatkuasa serta merta itu dibuat oleh Hakim Datuk Azhar Mohamed atas permohonan defendan menerusi peguamnya, Roger Tan sehingga injunksi itu didengar pada 13 Mac ini.

Ekoran perintah itu, kesemua pekerja termasuk pihak pengurusan Syarikat Power Corporate serta ejennya dihalang daripada memasuki ladang seluas 400 hektar itu.

Mereka turut dilarang dengan apa cara sekalipun memindah atau mengeluarkan buah kelapa sawit daripada ladang yang diusahakan sejak Julai 1996.

Sebelum ini, Persatuan Nelayan Johor mengemukakan satu injunksi interim (sementara) terhadap Power Corporate selepas mendakwa syarikat itu melanggar perjanjian yang dibuat ketika melantiknya memajukan tanah tersebut pada 1996.

Menurut Pengerusinya, Mohamad Dolmat, perjanjian itu termasuk membabitkan kegagalan syarikat mengagihkan keuntungan daripada hasil memajukan projek tersebut kepada persatuan berkenaan.

Beliau berkata, tanah berkenaan merupakan kurniaan kerajaan Johor bagi membantu meningkatkan ekonomi masyarakat nelayan.

Friday, May 4, 2007

LAW & REALTY: Management Corporation

The Sun

From its inception to the 1st AGM

Law & RealtyA management corporation (MC) exists by operation of law upon the opening of a book of the strata title in respect of a sub-divided building such as a condominium or land such as a gated community development.

In simple terms, when individual strata titles are issued for these individual parcel units or land parcels, the MC is deemed to have been set up. 

Duties and powers of the MC

Generally, the duties and powers of the MC are set out in section 43 of the Strata Titles Act, 1985 (“the Act”). Subject to any restrictions or directions imposed at a general meeting, the Council may conduct the MC’s business and exercise and perform any of the duties and powers or delegate the exercise and performance of any of these duties or powers to any one or more of the Council members.

The Council

However, until and unless a Council is elected, the MC is still technically being run by the original proprietor who is the developer of the building or land. The Council can only be formed and elected at the 1st annual general meeting (AGM) of the MC.

Under section 41, the 1st AGM of the MC must be convened within one month after the expiration of the initial period.

“Initial period” means the period commencing from the day the MC is formed and ending on the day on which there are proprietors of at least one-quarter of the aggregate share units, excluding the proprietor of the building lot (who is usually the original proprietor of the Master Title) who is registered as the proprietor of a parcel or a provisional block.

Restrictions and responsibilities imposed on the MC during initial period

During the initial period, the MC cannot:

(a) amend its by-laws in such a manner that a right is conferred or an obligation is imposed on one or more but not all proprietors or in respect of one or more but not all or provisional blocks;

(b) borrow moneys or give securities; or

(c) enter into any maintenance or service contracts for any periods extending beyond the expiration of the initial period.

Without prejudice to any other remedy available against the original proprietor, Management corporation if a MC contravenes any of the above, the original proprietor shall be liable for any loss suffered by the MC or any parcel proprietor as a result of the contravention, and the MC or any parcel proprietor may recover from the original proprietor as damages for breach of a statutory duty, any loss suffered by it or him in consequence of such contravention.

During the initial period, the MC is required to prepare proper accounts under its name relating to all monies of the MC with regard to its income and expenditure. Such accounts must be audited by a registered auditor appointed by the original proprietor and the audited accounts shall be presented to the Commissioner of Buildings (“the Commissioner”) appointed under the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 who may on an application made by a parcel proprietor, make available the audited accounts for inspection at all reasonable times.

Contributions payable during the initial period

The amount payable as contribution to the management fund during the initial period shall be determined by the original proprietor. Before the Strata Titles (Amendment) Act 2007 (“the Amendment Act), which came into force on April 12, 2007, the amount had to be approved by the Director of Land and Mines.

However, the Amendment Act allows any proprietor who is not satisfied with the sum determined by the original proprietor to apply to the Commissioner for a review and the Commissioner may: 

(a) determine the sum; or

(b) instruct the original proprietor to appoint a registered property manager to recommend the sum payable and submit a copy of a report to the Commissioner for his approval and the Commissioner shall determine the sum payable as he thinks just and reasonable.

Notice and agenda of the AGM

A notice of not less than 14 days before the AGM specifying the place, the date and hour of the meeting and the general nature of the business to be transacted must be given to every proprietor and every first chargee of a parcel in the building or land who has notified his interest to the MC.

If the original proprietor fails to convene the first AGM within one month after the expiration of the initial period, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding RM25,000 and to a further fine not exceeding RM2,000 for each day the offence continues to be committed.

Further in this case, the Commissioner may, on application by the purchasers, a proprietor or chargee of a parcel, appoint a person to convene the 1st AGM of the MC within such time as may be specified by him.

The agenda for the 1st AGM shall include the following matters:

(a) to decide whether to confirm, vary or extend insurances effected by the MC;

(b) to decide whether to confirm or vary any amounts determined as contributions to the management fund;

(c) to determine the portion of contribution to the management fund to be paid into the special account to be maintained under section 46;

(d) to determine the number of members of the council which shall not be less than three and not more than 14 proprietors, and to elect the council where there are more than three proprietors;

(e) to decide whether to amend the additional by-laws in force immediately before the holding of the meeting; and

(f) to present the audited accounts of the MC.


The quorum at the AGM is one half of the persons entitled to vote. However, if within half an hour after the time appointed for the meeting, the quorum is not present, the meeting shall be adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same place and time. If at the adjourned meeting, a quorum is not present within half an hour after the time appointed for the meeting, those persons entitled to vote who are present shall constitute a quorum.

Chairman of the meeting 

The meeting shall be presided by a chairman who shall be elected from among the persons present who are entitled to vote. 

Persons entitled to vote 

Section 37(2) has been repealed by the Amendment Act. With this deletion, a parcel proprietor is now entitled to vote personally even though the property is subject to a charge. Before this, only the chargee had the right to vote personally unless he had appointed the proprietor as his proxy or the charge agreement between them stated otherwise.

However, no proprietor is entitled to vote or to be elected to hold office at a general meeting unless he has duly paid all contributions to the management fund. A “proprietor” means a person who is for the time being registered as the proprietor of his parcel.

A proxy, however, need not be a proprietor but it does not include the original proprietor or his agent or servant. But a proxy is not entitled to vote except on a poll. 

Co-proprietors may vote through a jointly-appointed proxy. In the absence of a proxy, co-proprietors are not entitled to a vote on a show of hands except where a unanimous resolution is required.

Transfer of strata titles

It is common to see the original proprietor retaining control of the MC by electing its representatives to the Council at the 1st AGM primarily because not many parcel purchasers would have registered themselves as a registered proprietor. Some may not have also fully settled all the contributions to the management fund, even though a proprietor is entitled to demand proof at the AGM whether the original proprietor has done so before the latter is entitled to vote.

Pursuant to section 40A, which was inserted by the Amendment Act, both the original proprietor and the purchaser are required to execute the documents of transfer of strata titles within a specified period. The original proprietor is required to do so within 12 months from the date of issue of strata titles by the Land Administrator or any extended period approved by the Director of the Land and Mines upon the opening of the strata register. The purchaser must do so within 12 months or any extended period approved by the Director from the date of notice of transfer of strata titles issued by the original proprietor or from the date of purchase of the parcel, whichever is the later. 

If either party fails to do so, the penalty is a fine of not less than RM1,000 and not more than RM10,000 ringgit per parcel.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Property sales by forgers leave owners high and dry

The Straits Times, Singapore
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief

Lawyers seek change to law as court ruling gives land owners no recourse

KUALA LUMPUR - A SIX-YEAR-OLD land case is haunting property owners in Malaysia as dozens have suddenly found themselves with no remedy after their land was sold by forgers.

Lawyers say there are at least 17 to 20 cases where mainly elderly land owners found their lands sold to a third party by a forger.

Under the law as it stands, following a court case in 2001, they have no remedy.

The Federal Court, in the case of Adorna Properties v Boonsom Boonyanit, decided that if a property was sold through forgery to an innocent buyer, the law favours the buyer.

The decision was criticised at that time for undermining the integrity of land titles.

Lawyer Datuk Theng Book said the spate of cases suggest that there could be a syndicate at work targeting mainly elderly land owners who have left their property idle for a while.

'I won't say Adorna is wrong in law but it is not a good decision. It encourages people to steal,' he told The Straits Times.

This situation, much debated at that time, received renewed attention recently when retired judge Datuk N.H. Chan published a book lambasting this decision among several others as causing serious injustice.

He called it a case of 'most outrageous injustice' as Thai national Boonsom Boonyanit lost her two pieces of land in Penang after someone forged her signature and sold them to a third party.

The Federal Court decided that, despite the forgery, the buyer bought the land in good faith and obtained a good title.

'You do not have to be a lawyer or a judge to know that the Federal Court is plainly wrong,' he wrote.

Datuk Chan retired from the Court of Appeal in 2000.

As a result of this decision, dozens of land owners are now fighting a losing battle after discovering that their properties have been fraudulently sold.

'We have 17 cases reported to the MCA, and 80 per cent of the victims are elderly people,' said Datuk Theng Book, who is also legal adviser to the Malaysian Chinese Association's public complaints department.

The typical modus operandi is to forge the identity card of the land owner and lodge a police report claiming that the land title is lost.

A new title is obtained, and the land is then quickly sold.

The cases include the fraudulent sale of a piece of land worth RM10 million (S$4.4 million) in Cheras, Selangor.

Datuk Theng Book said the victims usually discovered the fraud when they suddenly found strangers taking possession of the property.

A few managed to find out early enough to prevent the sale from going through.

Lawyer Roger Tan, who is head of the Bar Council's conveyancing practice section, said the lawyers association was preparing a memorandum with proposed legal amendments to urge that the government rectify the law.

'The amendments will have to take into account the interests of two victims - the original land owner and the bona fide purchaser. We are looking at mechanisms in Canada and Australia where the government has set up a compensation fund for victims,' he said.


'The amendments will have to take into account the interests of two victims - the original land owner and the bona fide purchaser.'

LAWYER ROGER TAN, who says the Bar Council is preparing a memorandum with proposed legal amendments to urge the government to rectify the law in question.