Thursday, April 3, 2008

38,000 land titles unclaimed

The Star
by Chelsea L.Y. Ng

PETALING JAYA: At least 38,000 titles to land worth millions of ringgit remain uncollected in the land office vault here.

“The uncollected titles are open to risk of fraudulent transactions,” warned Land and Mines deputy director-general Abd Halim Ain, who revealed this to The Star yesterday.

He said he could not give an indication of the land area involved but stressed that the plots were spread across Petaling District, covering prime areas like Petaling Jaya and Subang.
“Some of these titles were ready for collection from before 2003 but the owners do not seem interested in collecting them despite repeated reminders,” Abd Halim said.
“We cannot do much except to keep on sending reminders. We also cannot set a time limit for them to collect (the titles).”

He feared that if the titles were left in the vault too long, there may be a possibility of them falling into the wrong hands through unscrupulous means.

“We do not know when these fraudsters will strike and how,” Abd Halim said.

“My advice to the landowners is to come and collect the titles as soon as possible, especially in the light of the Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsom Boonyanit judgment.”

Asked to comment on this, the Bar Council’s Conveyancing Practice Committee chairman Roger Tan expressed concern over the situation.

“It appears that the landowners are comfortable with the qualified titles in their possession. I hope all affected landowners will take immediate steps to collect their titles to prevent any fraudulent transactions,” he said.

“In the light of the Boonsom Boonyanit case, it is best for them to collect their land titles as soon as possible.”

Boonsom Boonyanit, a Thai woman, lost two pieces of prime land in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, to Adorna Properties after unscrupulous parties forged her signature to sell and transfer the land.

The Federal Court handed down a landmark ruling in 2001 stating that Adorna Properties could rightly claim ownership to the two pieces of land worth millions of ringgit because it was an innocent buyer with “an indefeasible title to the land.”

She lost everything in the end as the apex court ruled in favour of Adorna Properties.

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