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

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