POLICE: Arrest - False imprisonment - Deceased detained for investigation for theft of motorcar pursuant to remand warrant granted by Magistrate - Deceased beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Remand warrant abused - Whether detention unlawful resulting in false imprisonment - Whether cause of action for false imprisonment against police established - Whether s. 32(1) Police Act 1967 applicable

POLICE: Duties - Statutory duty - Breach of - Remand prisoner beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on deceased - Whether defendants liable for deceased's death

TORT: Damages - Aggravated damages - Liability against police - Remand prisoner beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on deceased - Whether aggravated damages awarded

TORT: Damages - Exemplary damages - Liability against police - Remand prisoner beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on deceased - Whether exemplary damages awarded - Rookes v. Barnard

TORT: False imprisonment - Allegation against police - Deceased detained for investigation for theft of motorcar pursuant to remand warrant granted by Magistrate - Deceased beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Remand warrant abused - Whether detention unlawful resulting in false imprisonment - Whether cause of action for false imprisonment against police established - Whether s. 32(1) Police Act 1967 applicable

TORT: Misfeasance - Misfeasance in public office - Police officer - Remand prisoner beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on deceased - Attempted cover-up - No disciplinary action taken against offending policemen - False entries made in station diary - Whether tort of misfeasance established against superior officers

TORT: Vicarious liability - Police - Remand prisoner beaten to death by policemen whilst in detention - Elements of vicarious liability - Systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on deceased - Tortfeasor named as co-defendant - Whether policemen engaged on frolic of their own - Failure to properly monitor interrogation of deceased - Whether there was breach of statutory duty and misfeasance - Whether vicarious liability established - Government Proceedings Act 1956, ss. 5 & 6

[CIVIL SUIT NO: 21NCVC-7-01-2012]
26 JUNE 2013

The plaintiff's claim arose out of the death of her son, Kugan a/l Ananthan (`the deceased') who died on 20 January 2009 at the Taipan Police Station (`the police station'). The deceased was arrested on 14 January 2009 and was detained at the police station from 15 January 2009 until his death for the investigation of the alleged offence under ss. 395 and 397 of the Penal Code. Neither the plaintiff nor the family members of the deceased were informed of the whereabout of the deceased or that he was detained at the police station. They only came to know after his death on 20 January 2009. The body of the deceased bore extensive marks of beating and other severe physical trauma. The plaintiff pleaded that on 21 January 2009, the first defendant, being the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Chief Police Officer of Selangor at the material time, had issued a false explanation to the media on the cause of the deceased's death. He alleged that "the deceased had asked for a glass of water and then collapsed and died". According to the plaintiff, the first defendant attempted to cover-up the real cause of the deceased's death and/or issued statements calculated to exonerate the police from liability with the full knowledge that the death was unlawfully caused by the members of the police force. The first autopsy conducted at the Serdang Hospital showed that there were "22 categories of external wounds" and the cause of death was stated as "pulmonary edema". The first autopsy report was inconsistent with the external marks of abuse on the body of the deceased. The pathologist who prepared the first autopsy report was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct by the Malaysian Medical Counsel in the preparation of the first autopsy report and was reprimanded. Dissatisfied with the first autopsy report, the plaintiff then procured a second autopsy which showed that there were "45 categories of external injuries" on the body of the deceased and a wide range of internal injuries. It also revealed that the cause of death of the deceased was "acute renal failure due to rhabdomyolysis due to blunt trauma to skeletal muscles'. The assault and battery was committed by the second defendant on the deceased. Hence, the second defendant was charged under ss. 330 and 331 of the Penal Code for causing grievous hurt to the deceased. The Sessions Court found the second defendant guilty of the charges, convicted and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment. In the present suit, the plaintiff claimed damages against the defendants for negligence, breach of statutory duties for unlawfully having killed the deceased, misfeasance of the public office, assault and battery and false imprisonment. The plaintiff also claimed aggravated, exemplary, vindicatory and special damages. The defendants, however, denied the plaintiff's claim.

Held (allowing the plaintiff's claim with costs):

(1) The reasonable inference to be drawn under the circumstances was that there had been a systematic series of assault and battery which had proceeded and continued over the period of the deceased's detention. The grievous injuries on the deceased could not have been caused by the second defendant only but possibly by other officers and policemen who had access and were assigned to interrogate the deceased. There had been a systematic ill-treatment, torture and grievous injuries inflicted on the deceased which had caused his death on 20 January 2009 for which the defendants must be found liable. (para 24)

(2) The deceased was detained for investigation in respect of theft of a motorcar pursuant to a lawful remand warrant granted by the Magistrate under s. 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code. However, the remand warrant was abused whereby the deceased, who was taken in police custody pursuant to the lawful remand warrant, was beaten and assaulted by police officers who had access to the deceased during the intensive interrogation and the grievous injuries must have been deliberately inflicted on the deceased as shown by the post mortem report. Consequently, the detention must be unlawful and necessarily resulted in false imprisonment as the purpose of the remand warrant had been abused. Accordingly, there was a cause of action for false imprisonment which the defendants were liable to the plaintiff. Section 32(1) of the Police Act 1967 did not assist the defendants as the acts committed was not done in obedience of the remand warrant issued by the Magistrate. (para 27)

(3) On the totality of the evidence, and considering the extent of the cover-up and the fact that there had been no formal disciplinary enquiry or disciplinary action taken against the officers or the policemen who had made and abetted the false entries in the station diary, there were compelling reasons on the balance of probabilities that the false entries in the station diary had been authorised or condoned by the superior officers. The first and third defendants had committed the tort of misfeasance and must be prepared to accept responsibility for the intended tortious act of misfeasance in the public office. (para 40)

(4) The evidence given on the defendants' behalf, indicating the circumstances leading to the death of the deceased was not truthful, an exaggeration and unreliable and was a case of not disclosing the true events of what had occurred during the deceased's detention. (para 50)

(5) In order to hold an employer vicariously liable for the tort committed by the employee, the plaintiff must establish three elements: (i) that the employee (tortfeasor) was under the employment of the defendant; (ii) that the employee had committed a tort; and (iii) the employee had committed the tort during the course of employment. (para 57)

(6) In obtaining the confession from the deceased, the second defendant had used an improper method or means of obtaining the confessions for his superior which was for the first, third and fourth defendant. There was closeness of the connection between the duties which the second defendant was instructed to perform and which resulted in the deceased's death. The fourth and fifth defendant were vicariously liable. The second defendant was not engaged "on frolic of his own" or not acting as an employee or had departed from the course of his duty. By exercise of reasonable care, proper steps taken to supervise, monitor and obtain report or the outcome on a regular basis of the progress of the intensive interrogation of the deceased, would have avoided the fatal harm caused to the deceased for which the defendant must be found liable. Accordingly, there was breach of duty for which the defendants must be found liable. (para 58)

(7) In so far as ss. 5 and 6 of the Government Proceedings Act 1956 (`1956 Act'), the officers responsible for the custodial death of the deceased had been named and one of the officers named had committed the tortious act on 16 January 2009 as witnessed by DW6. Therefore, liability had been established against the second defendant to trigger the provisions of ss. 5 and 6 of the 1956 Act. (para 64)

(8) While exemplary damages is seen to be an exceptional remedy and reserved for the most reprehensible circumstances of civil wrongdoings and limited to the three categories test as in Rookes v. Barnard, later cases have opened up the categories for further evolution, where there are compelling authorities including circumstances on the wrongdoing by police officers. In any event, Lord Devlin's first category as recognised in Rookes v. Barnard fitted the present case as justifying the award for exemplary damages and therefore was within the scope of the first category. (para 85)

(9) As to the award for aggravated damages, it would act as a sufficient deterrence to the defendants, and other officers who seem to have the "cultural habit" of being oppressive and inflicting physical assault on suspects and detainees and it would cause the officer in charge of arrest, interrogation and investigation and the superiors to take adequate steps necessary to ensure that such oppressive and unconstitutional misconduct offences would be unacceptable and objectionable against those who act irresponsibly or contrary to the public interest so as to send a reminder that they must treat suspects and detainees with the sense of decency and professionally. (para 86)

Case(s) referred to:

Abd Malek Hussin v. Borhan Hj Daud & Ors [2008] 1 CLJ 264 HC (foll)

Ahmad Jefri Mohd Jahri v. Pengarah Kebudayaan & Kesenian Johor & Ors [2010] 5 CLJ 865 FC (refd)

Ajab Singh v. The State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 2000 SC 3421 (refd)

Alfred Templeton & Ors v. Mount Pleasure Corp Sdn Bhd [1989] 1 CLJ 693; [1989] 1 CLJ (Rep) 219 HC (refd)

Ali Tan & Ors v. Mazlan Bidin & Anor [2012] 4 CLJ 736 CA (refd)

Amiable Nancy 3 Wheat [1818] 546 (refd)

Anderson v. Calvert [1908] 24 TLR 399 (refd)

Asghar v. Ahmed [1984] 17 HLR 25 (refd)

Ashley v. Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2007] 1 WLR 398 (refd)

Ashley v. Chief Constable of Sussex Police (Sherwood Intervening) [2008] 2 WLR 975 (refd)

Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v. Ramanoop [2005] 2 WLR 1324 (refd)

Bala Krishnan Appala Naidu v. Ketua Inspektor Prabakaran Shanmugam & Ors (No 2) [2011] 2 CLJ 890 HC (refd)

Barwick v. English Joint Stock Bank [1867] LR 2 Ex 259 (refd)

Bell v. Midland Railway Company [1861] 10 CB (NS), 287 (refd)

Benson v. Frederick [1766] 3 Burr 1845 (refd)

Billion Origin Sdn Bhd v. Newbridge Networks Sdn Bhd & Anor; Yap Burgess Rawson International Sdn Bhd (Third Party) [2006] 4 CLJ 113 HC (refd)

Borhan Hj Daud & Ors v. Abd Malek Hussin [2010] 8 CLJ 656 CA (refd)

Caswell v. Powell Duffryn Associates Collieries Ltd [1940] AC 152 (refd)

Chan Chin Min & Anor v. Lim Yok Eng (Lawful Mother Of Gan Swee Hock, Deceased) [1994] 3 CLJ 687 SC (refd)

Common Cause, A Registered Society v. Union of India & Ors [1999] 4 LRI 12 (refd)

DK Basu v. State of West Bengal AIR [1997] SC 610 (refd)

Drane v. Evangelou [1978] 1 WLR 455 (refd)

Dreyfus v. Peruvian Guano Co [1889] 42 Ch D, 66 (refd)

Dunlea v. Attorney-General [2000] 3 NZLR 136 (refd)

Emblen v. Myers [1860] 6 H & N 54 (refd)

Esah Ishak & Anor v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Anor [2006] 7 CLJ 353 HC (refd)

Fertilizer Corporation Kamgar Union v. Union of India AIR 1981 SC 344 (refd)

Cheng Hang Guan & Ors v. Perumahan Farlim (Penang) Sdn Bhd & Ors [1994] 1 CLJ 19 HC (refd)

Ghotovi Sema v. State of Nagaland and Ors [1996] ACJ 996 (refd)

Goh Choon Seng v. Lee Kim Soo [1925] AC 550 (refd)

Goh Joon v. Kerajaan Negeri Johor & Ors [1999] 5 CLJ 335 HC (refd)

Green v. DB Group Services (UK) Ltd [2006] EWHC 1898 QB (refd)

Harris v. Digital Pulse Pty Ltd [2003] 44 ALSR 370 (refd)

Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto [1995] 2 SCR 1130 (refd)

Huckle v. Money [1763] 2 Wils KB 206 (refd)

Ilkiw v. Samuels [1963] 1 WLR 991 (refd)

Janata Dal v. HS Chowdhary AIR 1993 SC 892 (refd)

Jones v. Great Western Railway Company [1930] AC 152 (refd)

Keppel Bus Co Ltd v. Sa'ad Ahmad [1974] 1 LNS 62 PC (dist)

Kerajaan Malaysia & Ors v. Lay Kee Tee & Ors [2009] 1 CLJ 663 FC (refd)

Kuddus v. Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary [2001] 3 All ER 193 (refd)

Lai Hie Hua v. Lim Teong Yu & Anor [2009] 1 CLJ 98 HC (refd)

Lai Kim Hon & Ors v. PP [1980] 1 LNS 197 FC (refd)

Lamb v. Contugno [1987] 164 CLR 1 (refd)

Lavery v. Ministry of Defence [1984] NI 99 (refd)

Limpus v. London General Omnibus Company [1862] 1 H&C (refd)

Lloyd v. Grace Smith & Co [1912] AC 716 (refd)

Lo Foi v. Lee Ah Hong & Ors [1998] 1 CLJ Supp 244 HC (refd)

Madjai Sanusi v. Pengarah Imigresen Negeri Johor & Ors [1999] 7 CLJ 569 HC (refd)

Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education v. Gandhi & Ors [1991] 2 SCC 716 (refd)

Maslinda Ishak v. Mohd Tahir Osman & Ors [2009] 6 CLJ 653 CA (refd)

Mc Loughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410 (refd)

Mc Millan v. Singh [1984] 17 HLR 120 (refd)

Menteri Hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri, Malaysia & Ors v. Karpal Singh [1991] 1 LNS 38 SC (refd)

Merest v. Harvey [1814] 5 Taunt 442 (refd)

Millington v. Duffy [1985] 17 HLR 232 (refd)

Neo Chan Eng v. Koh Yong Hoe [1960] 1 LNS 77 HC (refd)

New South Wales v. Lepore [2003] 195 ALR 412 (refd)

Nilabati Behera Alias Lalita Behera v. State of Orissa and Another 1993 AIR 1960 (refd)

Nilabaty Beraha v. States of Orissa [1995] 2 East Cri C 281 (refd)

Osman v. United Kingdom [1998] 28 EHRW 245 (refd)

Pettigrew v. Northern Ireland Office [1990] NI 179 (refd)

Plumb v. Cobden Flour Mills Ltd [1914] AC 62 (refd)

Polland v. John Parr & Sons [1926] 1 KB 236 (refd)

P-V Kapoor v. Union of India [1992] Cri LJ 128 (refd)

R (Middleton) v. West Somerset Coroners [2004] 2 AC 182 (refd)

R v. Inner West London Coroner Ex-p Dallaglio [1994] 4 All ER 139 (refd)

Ragbir Singh v. State of Haryana AIR 1980 SC 1087 (refd)

Rajeshkanna Marimuthu v. Tuan Hj Abd Wahab Hj Kassim [2004] 5 CLJ 328 HC (refd)

Riga Sdn Bhd v. Awang Sepian Haji Awang Joini & Ors [2005] 1 LNS 251 HC (refd)

Rookes v. Barnard [1964] AC 1129 (foll)

Roshairee Abd Wahab v. Mejar Mustafa Omar & Ors [1997] 1 CLJ Supp 39 HC (refd)

S Anand v. State of Tamil Nadu rep by its Secretary to Government, Department of Home, Chennai and Others [2012] 5 MLJ 772 (refd)

Saheli, A Women's Resources v. Commissioner of Police, Delhi 1990 AIR 513 (refd)

Sambu Pernas Construction & Anor v. Pitchakkaran Krishnan [1982] CLJ 151; [1982] CLJ (Rep) 299 FC (refd)

Sangaiyya v. State of Tamil Nadu rep by its Chief Secretary, Chennai and Others [2011] 1 MLJ 280 (refd)

Shri DK Basu, Ashok K Johri v. State of West Bengal, State of UP LNIND [1996] SC 2177 (refd)

Siddhu v. State of UP [2002] Cri LJ 4546 (refd)

Smith v. Streatfield [1913] 3 KB 764 (refd)

Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration [1978] Cri LJ 1741 (refd)

Suzana Md Aris v. DSP Ishak Hussain & Ors [2011] 1 CLJ 226 HC (refd)

Suzana Md Aris (claiming as administratrix of the estate and a dependant of Mohd Anuar Sharip, deceased) v. DSP Ishak Hussin & Ors (Civil Appeal No. W-01-402-2009) (Unreported) (refd)

Takong Tabari v. Government of Sarawak & Ors & Other Cases [1996] 2 CLJ 1068 HC (refd)

Templeton & Ors v. Low Yat Holdings Sdn Bhd & Anor [1992] 1 LNS 7 HC (refd)

Thangavelu v. Chia Kok Bin [1981] CLJ 132; [1981] CLJ (Rep) 281 HC (refd)

The Mediana [1900] AC 113 (refd)

Thomson v. Commissioner of Police for the Metropolice [1999] 2 All ER 762 (refd)

Three Rivers District Council and Others v. Bank of England (No. 3) [2001] 2 All ER 513 (refd)

Whitfield v. De Lauret [1920] 29 CLR 71 (refd)

Wilkes v. Wood [1763], Lofft 1, 98 ER 489 (KB) (refd)

XL Petroleum (NSW) Ptd Ltd v. Caltex Oil (Australia) Ptd Ltd [1985] 155 CLR 1 (refd)

Yap Ami & Anor v. Tan Hui Pang [1982] CLJ 410; [1982] CLJ (Rep) 367 FC (refd)

Yew You & Anor v. Mah Poay Koh & Anor [1969] 1 LNS 209 FC (refd)

Legislation referred to:

Civil Law Act 1956, ss. 7(3)(ii), (iv)(d), 8

Criminal Procedure Code, s. 117

Federal Constitution, art. 5

Government Proceedings Act 1956, ss. 5, 6

Lockup Rules 1953, r. 3

Penal Code, ss. 302, 304, 330, 331, 395, 397

Police Act 1967, ss. 20, 32(1), 74, 78

Other source(s) referred to:

Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, 17th edn, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1995, paras 2-24

McGregor on Damages, 16th edn, Sweet & Maxwell, p 430


For the plaintiff - Sivarasa Rasiah (Latheefa Koya & Bani Prakash with him); M/s Edwin Lim Suren & Soh

For the 1st, 3rd, 4th & 5th defendants - Azizan Md Arshad (Nur Aqilah Ishak with him); AG's Chambers

For the 2nd defendant - Ramesh Sivakumar R Ramaveloo (Mohd Nor Md Deros with him); M/s Ramesh & Loo

Reported by Amutha Suppayah

UNDANG-UNDANG TANAH: Pembelian tanah - Catatan carian persendirian - Maklumat tidak tepat - Kewajipan untuk berhati-hati - Sama ada defendan cuai dan abai dalam tanggungjawabnya - Sama ada defendan bertanggungjawab atas kerugian yang dialami oleh plaintif - Sama ada plaintif layak menuntut pampasan - Kanun Tanah Negara, ss. 384 & 386

[GUAMAN NO: S-21-210-2008]
2 JANUARI 2013

Tuntutan plaintif terhadap defendan (`PTG') adalah bahawa PTG, dalam menjalankan tanggungjawabnya memberi keputusan catatan carian persendirian, telah memberi maklumat yang tidak tepat dan palsu dan dengan itu, telah memungkiri atau mengabaikan kewajipannya untuk berhati-hati. Plaintif menuntut untuk mendapatkan pampasan di bawah s. 386 Kanun Tanah Negara (`KTN') serta ganti rugi am dan ganti rugi teladan daripada PTG. Fakta ringkas menunjukkan bahawa plaintif telah melihat pengiklanan oleh Kunjung Raya Development Sdn Bhd (`KR') mengenai sebidang hartanah untuk dijual. KR telah membuat representasi kepada plaintif bahawa mereka adalah pemilik berdaftar tanah tersebut (`tanah berkenaan') dan berhasrat untuk menjual tanah berkenaan. Plaintif telah mengarahkan peguamcaranya untuk membuat carian di PTG mengenai tanah berkenaan dengan tujuan untuk membelinya. Bagi carian yang dibuat dan setelah fee dijelaskan, PTG telah membekalkan satu catatan carian persendirian berdasarkan s. 384 KTN yang mengandungi maklumat-maklumat bahawa KR adalah pemilik berdaftar bagi tanah pegangan bebas tersebut dan bahawa tanah itu juga bebas dari sebarang bebanan dan sekatan. Plaintif mengesahkan pembelian tanah berkenaan daripada KP dengan harga sebanyak RM5,555,418.75. Sehubungan dengan itu, satu perjanjian jual beli telah ditandatangani dan melalui satu permohonan, plaintif telah cuba untuk memasukkan kaveat persendirian ke atas hartanah tersebut di PTG sementara menanti untuk diberi hak milik. Walau bagaimanapun, permohonan plaintif telah gagal atas alasan bahawa mengikut rekod PTG, KR bukanlah pemilik hartanah tersebut. Plaintif bertindak untuk menamatkan perjanjiannya dengan KR dan berusaha untuk mendapatkan balik wang pendahuluan yang telah dibayar kepada KR. Isu-isu yang dibangkitkan adalah: (i) sama ada PTG berkewajipan untuk berhati-hati dengan memastikan bahawa maklumat yang dibekalkan dalam catatan carian persendirian kepada plaintif adalah tepat, benar dan boleh dipercayai; (ii) sama ada PTG memungkiri kewajipannya untuk berhati-hati dan telah cuai atau abai dalam tanggungjawabnya; dan (iii) sama ada PTG bertanggungjawab atas kerugian yang dialami oleh plaintif.

Diputuskan (menolak tuntutan plaintif):

(1) Di bawah s. 384 KTN berhubungan dengan catatan carian persendirian, kewajipan untuk berhati-hati terletak pada plaintif. PTG tidak dipikulkan dengan tanggungjawab atas kerugian yang dialami oleh plaintif. Memandangkan s. 384 tersebut menyatakan `Any person or body ... access is open to all,' kecederaan yang dialami oleh plaintif tidak boleh dikatakan sebagai secara munasabahnya dapat diramalkan; plaintif tidak boleh dikatakan sebagai mempunyai kedekatan pertalian dengan defendan dan dalam keadaan ini, adalah tidak adil dan berpatutan untuk defendan dipikulkan dengan kewajipan berhati-hati terhadap plaintif. Untuk memutuskan sebaliknya akan mendedahkan PTG kepada "liability in an indeterminate amount, for an indeterminate time, to an indeterminate class" (Ultramares Corporation v. Touche; dirujuk). (perenggan 20 & 22)

(2) Urusan plaintif telah berjalan dalam keadaan tidak berhati-hati walaupun ianya melibatkan hartanah yang bernilai berjuta-juta ringgit. Keterangan tidak dikemukakan mengapa urusan perlu dilakukan dalam keadaan yang begitu terburu-buru. Tambahan pula, plaintif yang telah mengetahui masalah yang dihadapi semasa gagal mendaftar kaveat di tanah berkenaan sepatutnya bertindak pantas untuk menghalang cek drafnya daripada ditunaikan. Tiada keterangan yang dikemukakan oleh saksi-saksi plaintif tentang usahanya atas kadar segera untuk mendapatkan balik wangnya dari KR. (perenggan 24 & 25)

(3) KR bukanlah orang perseorangan tetapi satu syarikat yang wujud dan menguruskan perjanjian jual beli dengan plaintif secara rasmi. Tiada keterangan dikemukakan bahawa syarikat KR telah lesap pada hari kaveat cuba dimasukkan iaitu hanya beberapa hari selepas perjanjian jual beli ditandatangani dengan KR. (perenggan 26 & 27)

(4) Cek-cek plaintif semuanya dikeluarkan pada bulan Jun 2007. Tiada bukti dikemukakan untuk menunjukkan cek-cek itu yang merupakan bayaran dalam urusan ini telah ditunaikan. Laporan polis hanya dibuat lebih daripada tiga bulan selepas itu. Plaintif didapati tidak bertindak secara yang sepatutnya dalam situasi ini. Oleh itu, plaintif telah gagal membuktikan kesnya. (perenggan 28)

Kes-kes yang dirujuk:

Caparo Industries Plc v. Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 (diikuti)

Ministry of Housing and Local Government v. Sharp and Another [1970] 2 QB 223 (dirujuk)

Ultramares Corporation v. Touche [1931] 174 NE 411 (dirujuk)

Perundangan yang dirujuk:

Evidence Act 1950, s. 101

National Land Code, ss. 384, 385, 386

Sumber-sumber yang dirujuk:

Judith Sihombing, National Land Code A Commentary, edisi kedua, ms 893


Bagi pihak plaintif - Winston PC Ng (TC Foo bersamanya); T/n Winston Ng & Teoh

Bagi pihak defendan - Narkunavathy Sundareson (Cindy Jasmine bersamanya); Jabatan Peguam Negara

Dilaporkan oleh Suhainah Wahiduddin

HARTANAH: Badan pengurusan bersama - Caj perkhidmatan penyelenggaraan - Tunggakan bayaran caj perkhidmatan - Kuasa mengutip caj penyelenggaraan - Sama ada badan pengurusan telah mengambil alih pengurusan harta bersama daripada pemaju - Sama ada tunggakan terakru sebelum badan pengurusan mengambil alih - Sama ada penyelenggaraan dijalankan dengan sempurna - Penyampaian notis tuntutan - Sama ada sempurna

[SAMAN NO: 72-103-09-2011]
26 NOVEMBER 2012

Plaintif, sebuah badan pengurusan bersama Kondominium Amber Court (`kondominium tersebut), telah menuntut terhadap defendan, pemilik sebuah unit di kondominium tersebut, bagi tunggakan bayaran caj perkhidmatan penyelenggaraan berjumlah RM12,517.63 yang terhutang oleh defendan setakat 8 Mac 2011. Plaintif telah mengambil alih pengurusan harta bersama kondominium tersebut daripada pemaju melalui pendaftaran dengan Pesuruhjaya Bangunan (`COB') dan pengeluaran sijil bertarikh 18 Ogos 2007 dan 23 Februari 2011 yang mengesahkan penubuhan plaintif. Dalam menafikan tuntutan plaintif, defendan menghujahkan bahawa plaintif tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk mengutip caj penyelenggaraan dan pengurusan daripada pembeli kerana (i) plaintif hanya boleh menuntut bayaran penyelenggaraan selepas plaintif mengambil alih penyelenggaraan dan pengurusan harta bersama daripada pemaju dan terdapat lima item dalam penyata akaun plaintif bertarikh 31 Disember 2007 yang terakru sebelum plaintif mengambil alih pengurusan kondominium tersebut; (ii) caj-caj penyelenggaraan dan kadar bunga tidak ditentukan dalam mesyuarat am Badan Pengurusan Bersama; (iii) notis tuntutan tidak disampaikan dengan sempurna dan defendan tidak pernah menerimanya; dan (iv) kondominium tersebut tidak diselenggarakan dengan sempurna. Isu yang dibangkitkan untuk pertimbangan adalah sama ada plaintif berhak ke atas tuntutan berjumlah RM12,517.63 tersebut.

Diputuskan (membenarkan tuntutan dengan kos):

(1) Keterangan oleh pengerusi kondominium tersebut (`SP1') menunjukkan bahawa segala caj penyelenggaraan telah diluluskan di Annual General Meeting (`AGM'). Namun begitu, pengesahan tidak dapat dibuat sama ada caj lewat telah ditentukan pada AGM pertama atau tidak kerana SP1 baru menyertai plaintif pada Julai 2011. (perenggan 11)

(2) Defendan tidak mempunyai pengetahuan mengenai apa-apa pindaan terhadap caj penyelenggaraan kerana menurut keterangannya, beliau hanya menghadiri satu AGM sahaja. (perenggan 11)

(3) Walaupun pada asalnya defendan tidak mengakui mengenai penyampaian notis tuntutan, melalui keterangan bersumpahnya, defendan mengaku bahawa beliau telah menerima, menandatangani dan sedar akan notis tuntutan dan tunggakan bayaran yang dituntut oleh plaintif. (perenggan 11)

(4) Menurut ss. 101 dan 103 Akta Keterangan 1950, defendan harus membuktikan kecuaian plaintif sekiranya beliau membangkitkan isu bahawa kondominium tersebut tidak diselenggarakan dengan sempurna. (perenggan 11)

(5) Penyata akaun menunjukkan tunggakan caj-caj penyelenggaraan sehingga 31 Disember 2007. Oleh kerana plaintif telah membuktikan penubuhannya sehingga 18 Ogos 2007, maka jumlah lima item terawal di dalam penyata akaun tersebut adalah termasuk dalam senarai caj penyelenggaraan yang perlu dibayar kepada plaintif dan bukannya tuntutan yang telah luput. Walaupun lima item tersebut adalah opening balance, tempoh sah bayarannya adalah sehingga 31 Disember 2007, iaitu selepas diambil alih oleh plaintif. (perenggan 11)

Kes-kes yang dirujuk:

Badan Pengurusan Wisma 2020 lwn. Property Base Development Sdn Bhd [2012] 1 LNS 500 HC (dirujuk)

Perundangan yang dirujuk:

Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007, ss. 4(1), 8(1), (2), 32

Evidence Act 1950, ss. 101, 103


Bagi pihak plaintiff - T/n Onn & Partners

Bagi pihak defendan - T/n CM Yeo & Assocs

Dilaporkan oleh Najib Tamby