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Attorney-General’s Chambers to amend National Land Code

PUTRAJAYA: The Attorney-General's Chambers is looking into amendments to the National Land Code to curb fraudulent land transfers, the Federal Court heard on Oct 29.

This is in 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 when there was forgery involved in the transfer, as he had bought the property in good faith.

Head of Civil Division in the Attorney-General's Chambers See Mee Chun told the court that it will take some time to amend the Code as there were many issues to look into, including the issue of compensation.

See said this during a hearing of the appeal of a property matter involving Tan Ying Hong and Tan Sian San, Cini Timber Industries Sdn Bhd and United Malayan Banking Corp Bhd.

In a rare move, all parties involved had called on the Federal Court to revisit and overrule the decision in the Adorna Properties case. The section in question is Section 340 (3) of the Code, which deals with the indefeasibility of land title.

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

The Attorney-General'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.

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.

Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi who led 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. – Bernama

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