Friday, October 30, 2009

A-G’s Chambers to amend National Land Code


PUTRAJAYA: The Attorney-General’s Chambers is considering amending the National Land Code to curb fraudulent land transfers, the Federal Court heard Thursday.

This was in the light of the controversial Federal Court ruling in the case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsoom Boonyanit @ Sun Yok Eng in 2001 that a land purchaser had bought a good title even if there was forgery involved in the transfer, as he had bought the property in good faith.

Head of the Civil Division in the A-G’s Chambers See Mee Chun said the apex court’s decision in the matter would have an impact on the approach it would take in amending the Code.

In a rare move, all parties in the appeal in a property matter involving Tan Ying Hong and Tan Sian San, Cini Timber Industries Sdn Bhd and United Malayan Banking Corporation Bhd had called on the Federal Court to revisit and overrule the Adorna Properties authority.

The section in question is Section 340 (3) of the Code which deals with the indefeasibility of land titles.

The Federal Court’s binding decision that Adorna had obtained an indefeasible title notwithstanding the forgery because it was a bona fide purchaser, have been severely criticised by lawyers and academics as wrong.

The A-G’s Chambers appeared as amicus curiae while Roger Tan held a watching brief for the Bar Council. Ying Hong was represented by counsel T. Muraju and the defendants by counsel Datuk Bastian Pius Vendargon.

Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi who headed the bench reserved decision to a date to be fixed after hearing submissions from all the parties in the appeal.

The other judges were Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria and Federal Court judges Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Datuk James Foong Cheng Yuen.

Zaki questioned why it was taking so long to amend the Code, to which See replied that there were many issues to look into, including the issue of compensation.

Vendargon submitted that the Federal Court’s interpretation of Section 340 (3) of the Code in the Adorna Properties case was unconstitutional because it gave no protection to the first party but absolute protection to a similarly placed second party. -- Bernama

Land Code changes in store to tackle fraud

New Straits Times

PUTRAJAYA: The Attorney-General's Chambers is proposing amendments to the National Land Code to stop cases of forgery and fraudulent land transfer, the Federal Court was told yesterday.

Chambers head of civil division See Mee Chun told this to a five-man bench chaired by Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi, who heard an appeal involving a land transfer dispute.

"We agree that the 2001 Federal Court ruling in Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Bunyanit, must be revisited and overruled," she said when addressing the bench as friend of the court.

The chambers was invited to participate in the proceeding as disputing parties in the appeal wanted the Federal Court to depart from the 2001 ruling as it was not in line with Section 340 of the Land Code.

See said the ruling had "created havoc" in land transactions.

Zaki asked See why the chambers took time to propose changes to the law.

She replied: "There are several issues that need to be looked into, including compensation to those who had lost their land."

See said the chambers was now looking forward to the ruling to assist them in making the necessary amendments to the law.

The history of the case could be traced to early 1970 when businessman Tan Ying Hong, in the words of the High Court, "mysteriously", became a registered proprietor of a nine-acre plot of land in Kuantan.

A conman who now could not be located, forged a power of attorney from Tan and got the land charged to United Malayan Banking Corporation (now RHB Bank Bhd) to obtain overdraft and loan facilities amounting to RM300,000 in favour of Cini Timber Industries Sdn Bhd.

Cini Timber defaulted payment and the bank started foreclosure proceedings against Tan, the registered land owner.

Tan, represented by counsel T. Mura Raju, filed an application in the High Court in 1985 to seek a declaration that the charges with the bank were of no effect as they were created by a forged power of attorney.

The High Court in 2003 dismissed Tan's application which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal last year.

In May, Tan obtained leave to appeal and the legal question posed was whether an acquirer of registered charge, title or other interest by way of forgery obtains an immediate indefeasible interest or title.

This question of law paved the way for the apex court to review the Adorna case as the issue was similar.

Lawyer Datuk Bastion Vendargon and Ong Siew Wan appeared for the bank while Roger Tan held a watching brief for the Bar Council.

Judgment was reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Itch: Always Honour Your Words

Story sent in by Yeo Yang Poh

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful Queen with large breasts. Nick the Dragon Slayer obsessed over the Queen for this reason. He knew that the penalty for his desire would be death should he try to touch them, but he had to try.

One day Nick revealed his secret desire to his colleague, Horatio the Physician, the King's chief doctor. Horatio thought about this and said that he could arrange for Nick to more than satisfy his desire, but it would cost him 1,000 gold coins to arrange it. Without pause Nick readily agreed to the scheme.

The next day, Horatio made a batch of itching powder and poured a little bit into the Queen's bra while she bathed. Soon after she dressed, the itching commenced and grew intense. Upon being summoned to the Royal Chambers to address this incident, Horatio informed the King and Queen that only special saliva, if applied for four hours, would cure this type of itch, and that tests had shown that only the saliva of Nick would work as the antidote to cure the itch.

The King, eager to help his Queen, quickly summoned Nick to their chambers. Horatio then slipped Nick the antidote for the itching powder, which he put into his mouth, and for the next four hours, Nick worked passionately on the Queen's large and magnificent breasts. The Queen's itching was eventually relieved, and Nick left satisfied and hailed as a hero. Upon returning to his chamber, Nick found Horatio demanding his payment of 1,000 gold coins. With his obsession now satisfied, Nick couldn't have cared less and, knowing that Horatio could never report this matter to the King and with a laugh told him to get lost.

The next day, Horatio slipped a massive dose of the same itching powder into the King's underwear. The King immediately summoned Nick.

The moral of the story...

Always honour your words...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Clergymen need to be rewarded on Earth too

It is of no surprise that the first principle of our national philosophy (Rukun Negara) is Belief in God. Religion does play an important part in the lives of many Malaysians. Even if one is an atheist, the issue of religion will still crop up when he dies in deciding which religious last rites should be performed.

Most of all, regardless of whatever religious beliefs we hold, all religions teach us to do good. While the British used religion as a tool to defeat the communists during the Malayan Emergency by building temples and churches in new villages, religion today can be the solution in our battles against crime, corruption, moral decadence, and a rampart against any attack on the institutions of marriage and family.

But, sadly, little is written about the role and societal contributions of the clergy – simple men of God of various religions – who join a profession which often does not bring about worldly wealth or fame. After all, they should store up whatever treasures they have in heaven and not on this earth. Yet many believe that clergymen have an easy life. They do not realise that the majority of them make huge sacrifices both in their personal and family lives and, at one stage or the other, in their ministerial service, some may have even considered calling it quits.

It is a fact that the majority of them are overworked and poorly paid. Of course, we should not compare them with those who serve in mega temples and churches such as the New Creation Church in Singapore which recently revealed in its last financial year report that the church paid its senior pastor S$500,000 (RM1.2mil)! Neither can the majority of the clergy whose work is hardly recognised be compared with the few whose work have been recognised with a Datukship or Tan Sriship.

Hence, it is always a moot point as to what extent should the clergy be remunerated and the level of recognition be accorded to them. Here, the Muslim clergy are remunerated by the State Islamic Religious Department, but the non-Muslim clergy such as Christian ministers still depend mainly on the collections received from the laity. But to say that the clergy should live in poverty and a life as poor as a church mouse is wrong.

This reminds me of a heart-wrenching story narrated by a Christian writer, Toby Awasum, whose conscience was pricked when his young pastor died suddenly from a heart attack.

It was in 1986 that this young and charismatic pastor who was a lawyer joined his church. The pastor not only owned a house, but had his own cars and a PhD. He gave all that up to move to his state to pastor Toby’s church. By the middle of his third year, he had exhausted all his savings, lost the new home he bought, and could barely support his family. Three years later, at the age of 35, he had a heart attack and died instantly.

After his death, his desperate widow and children had no choice but to move back into her parents’ home hundreds of miles away and received little or no support from “her church family”. Ironically, the pastor had left his church financially healthy, and it is pathetic to note that while his church was busy stuffing its bank account, the church had miserably failed in its responsibility to care for the welfare of its pastor and family.

On the other hand, it cannot be gainsaid that the expectation of the clergy to lead an exemplary life according to his faith is high. A clergyman who does not exhibit Godly virtues in the manner in which he speaks and conducts his life can be a huge let-down to the lay believers. But those who have become an inspiration as an encourager and role model to their lay believers and society ought to be overwhelmed with appreciation and love.

It is, therefore, apposite to record my own appreciation to my pastor, Rev Nicholas Yeo, who retired last Thursday after more than 35 years of faithful service. It must be acknowledged that the depth and breadth of Yeo’s impact on the lives of many who came to know him is testimony of the Godly life which he leads and a role model which he plays as an exemplary pastor to his colleagues as well as a religious patriarch to his congregation.

In appreciation of his services, the Church will hold a special retirement service and appreciation dinner for him and wife Lee Swee Keng at New York Hotel, Johor Baru at 5pm this evening.

To this wonderful couple who have been a great inspiration to many, we wish them happy retirement and many, many more years of good health and happiness. May God bless them.

Published in the Sunday Star, 04 October 2009