by G. Prakash
KUALA LUMPUR: Law experts say the Federal Court's landmark decision on fraudulent land transfers will prevent many people from being victimised in future.
Prof Salleh Buang, a senior adviser to a company specialising in competitive intelligence, said: "Land and property owners can now sleep peacefully. I am definitely delighted with the news. I'm glad that the ruling has finally been overturned."
Salleh, who in the past had been very vocal about the decision by then Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin in the case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsom Boonyanit, said that innocent landowners and purchasers should always be protected.
"The previous decision had caused innocent landowners and purchasers, who bought property thinking that they were doing it legitimately, ended up being on the losing side.
"These two parties are the innocent ones, and because of a third party with fraudulent intentions, the innocent people are forced to pay for it," said Salleh, who is also active in public speaking as well as a prolific author of numerous reputable legal textbooks.
When asked if victims of previous cases could take their cases to court, Salleh said: "I'm not sure whether previous cases can now be reviewed, but I'm sure this will be a major talking point."
The professor, who writes a weekly column on land matters in a local daily, added that there were a small number of lawyers who agreed with Eusoff Chin.
However, a majority of people disagreed with the decision that had caused problems to many innocent victims.
Counsel for Bar Council, Roger Tan, who is also a former Chairman of its Conveyancing Practise Committee, described the decision as a victory for all landowners in the country.
He said the Bar Council welcomed the decision despite a "gruelling" wait of more than nine years.
"The Bar hopes that judges below will from now on follow the decision made by the Federal Court, and that no judge will deviate from this decision on the grounds that there now exists two conflicting decisions of the Federal Court because yesterday's decision is equivalent to having overruled or reversed Adorna Properties decision," said Tan.
Tan and another Bar Council representative held a watching brief for the Bar Council.