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Semantan Estates-government dispute: Federal Court to hear Kenari Maluri's motion for leave to appeal on Sept 27

KUALA LUMPUR (June 24): The Federal Court has fixed Sept 27, 2021 to hear Kenari Maluri Sdn Bhd's motion for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision to disallow Kenari Maluri to intervene in Semantan Estates (1952) Sdn Bhd's land dispute with the Malaysian government.

The dispute involves a 106.7ha land along Jalan Duta here.

Kenari Maluri's lawyer Datuk Edward Ng Boon Siong told theedgemarkets.com today that Federal Court deputy registrar Rasidah Roslee yesterday (June 23) afternoon following case management fixed the Sept 27 hearing date.

The Federal Court is the highest court in Malaysia.  

Today, Ng said : "The apex court has fixed Sept 27 to hear our motion for leave to appeal."

It was reported that on May 5, 2021, a three-member appellate court bench comprising Court of Appeal Judges Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Ahmad Nasfy Yasin unanimously allowed Semantan Estates' appeal to disallow Kenari Maluri from intervening in the dispute which dates back to 1960.

The appellate court on May 5, 2021 overturned the High Court's decision on July 8, 2019 to allow Kenari Maluri to intervene in Semantan Estates' judicial review application in relation to the land dispute.

Semantan Estates' land dispute with the government dates back to 1960.

The Edge weekly's edition of July 1-7, 2013 reported then that in 1960, the government paid RM1.3 million to acquire the disputed land under the then Land Acquisition Enactment for the purpose of developing a diplomatic enclave.

It was reported that the tussle between Semantan Estates and the government dragged on for more than 50 years for a number of reasons, including issues between the two families that started Semantan Estates and mistakes and delays caused by the Collector of Land Revenue.

It was reported that Semantan Estates first went to court in 1960 to seek legal remedy for the RM1.3 million compensation that the Collector of Land Revenue had paid for the land.

According to The Edge weekly, Semantan Estates in 1989 sued the government for "trespassing" on the grounds that it had taken possession of the land unlawfully.

Although the government initially succeeded in getting the High Court to strike out the suit, Semantan Estates went all the way to the then Supreme Court, which ruled in its favour and allowed the suit to proceed, according to the report.

But it was close to 20 years before the trespassing case was finally heard and decided by the High Court.

It was reported that in the High Court ruling of March 31, 2010, the High Court declared that the government had not taken the land lawfully and "hence has remained in unlawful possession of the said land".

The High Court also ordered the government to pay "mesne profits" as damages to Semantan Estates and that the Registrar of the High Court assess the amount, according to the report.

It was reported that "mesne profits" referred to any profit accrued during a dispute over landownership.

It was reported that the attorney general, which represented the government, appealed the High Court's decision but lost in the Court of Appeal in May 2012 and finally, in the highest court of the land — the Federal Court — upheld the High Court's decision in November 2012.

Subsequent news reports indicated that on Nov 22, 2018, the Federal Court, led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, dismissed the review application filed by the Malaysian government.

Following the court's decision in 2018, it was reported that Semantan Estates filed the judicial review application, which involved several respondents including the Malaysian government.

It was reported that Semantan Estates filed the judicial review application because it wanted the ownership of the disputed 106.7ha land along Jalan Duta here to be officially transferred to the company.

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