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CASES OF THE WEEK

COMPANY LAW: Liquidators - Provisional liquidator - Claim for valuer's fees/costs - Valuer appointed by provisional liquidator - Reasonableness of costs - Whether question of fact to be determined by trial court - Whether trial court had meticulously embarked on careful judicial appreciation and assessment of evidence - Whether s. 232(2) Companies Act 1965 applicable - Whether appeal should be allowed

CIVIL PROCEDURE: Appeal - Appeal to Federal Court - Provisional liquidator's claim for valuer's fees/costs - Valuer appointed by provisional liquidator - Reasonableness of costs - Whether question of fact to be determined by trial court - Whether trial court had meticulously embarked on careful judicial appreciation and assessment of evidence


DATO' ROBERT TEO KENG TUAN v. METROPLEX BHD
FEDERAL COURT, PUTRAJAYA
ARIFIN ZAKARIA CJ; ZULKEFLI MAKINUDIN CJ (MALAYA); HASHIM YUSOFF FCJ; ABDULL HAMID EMBONG FCJ; AHMAD MAAROP FCJ
[CIVIL APPEAL NO: 02(i)-70-10-2012(W)]
21 OCTOBER 2013

The appellant, a provisional liquidator (`PL') of the respondent company, was appointed by the High Court with a specific mandate to ascertain the disposal alternatives and to submit a report on the current market value of Putra Place. After completing her task, the PL filed an application for, inter alia, her appointed valuer's fees amounting to RM333,919.50 and HKD16,000 respectively. However, the High Court Judge dismissed the PL's claim in relation to the valuer's fees/costs in procuring the valuation report from Knight Frank, a valuation firm from Hong Kong. On appeal, the Court of Appeal dismissed the PL's appeal. Hence, this appeal. The central issue that arose was whether the costs sought by a PL was reasonable or otherwise in relation to the performance of the court's mandate to the PL.

Held (dismissing appeal with costs)

Per Hashim Yusoff FCJ delivering the judgment of the court:

(1) Section 232(2) of the Companies Act 1965 only refers to the PL's salary or remuneration. It does not apply to fees or costs of the valuer appointed by the PL. The question of reasonableness of the costs of the valuer is essentially a question of fact to be determined by the trial judge (Terengganu Forest Products Sdn Bhd v. Cosco Container Lines Co Ltd & Anor & Other Applications; refd). (paras 21 & 28)

(2) In relation to the appointment of Knight Frank, there was no evidence to show that the views of the respondent were sought before the appointment was made. Nor was there any evidence to show any compelling reason for the appointment of a valuation firm from Hong Kong to do the valuation. It was also not shown that a local Malaysian valuation firm could not have done the job. Further, it was observed that there was a marginal difference of 0.98% only between the valuation done by Knight Frank and that done by CH Williams Talhar, a local firm. (para 23)

(3) The issue of reasonableness of the costs incurred was well within the discretion and prerogative power of the learned High Court Judge on whether to allow or dismiss the PL's claim based on the evidence before the court. The High Court Judge had meticulously embarked on a careful judicial appreciation and assessment of the evidence adduced before the court. Likewise, the Court of Appeal had not erred in affirming the decision of the High Court. Thus, there was no reason for this court to interfere and it was also unnecessary to answer the question posed in this appeal as the appeal had no chance of success, being a decision based on the discretion of the High Court on a factual issue. (para 26, 27 & 29)

Bahasa Malaysia Translation Of Headnotes

Perayu, penyelesai sementara (`PS') syarikat responden, telah dilantik oleh Mahkamah Tinggi untuk suatu mandat spesifik bagi menentukan pelupusan alternatif dan mengemukakan satu laporan berkenaan nilai pasaran terkini bagi Putra Place. Setelah menyelesaikan tugasnya, PS memfailkan permohonan untuk, antara lain, fi penilai yang dilantik masing-masing berjumlah RM333,919.50 dan HKD16,000. Walau bagaimanapun, Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi menolak tuntutan PS berkenaan fi/kos penilai dalam memperolehi laporan penilaian daripada Knight Frank, suatu firma penilaian di Hong Kong. Atas rayuan, Mahkamah Rayuan menolak rayuan PS. Oleh itu, rayuan ini. Isu yang dibangkitkan adalah sama ada kos yang dituntut oleh PS adalah munasabah atau sebaliknya berkaitan dengan pelaksanaan mandat mahkamah terhadap PS.

Diputuskan (menolak rayuan dengan kos)

Oleh Hashim Yusoff HMP menyampaikan penghakiman mahkamah:

(1) Seksyen 232(2) Akta Syarikat 1965 hanya merujuk kepada gaji PS. Ia tidak terpakai kepada fi atau kos penilai yang dilantik oleh PS. Persoalan berkenaan kemunasabahan kos penilai merupakan persoalan fakta yang perlu diputuskan oleh hakim bicara (Terengganu Forest Products Sdn Bhd v. Cosco Container Lines Co Ltd & Anor & Other Applications; dirujuk).

(2) Berkenaan pelantikan Knight Frank, Mahkamah Tinggi memutuskan bahawa tiada keterangan yang menunjukkan bahawa pendapat responden telah diminta sebelum pelantikan dibuat. Tiada keterangan yang menunjukkan sebarang alasan bagi pelantikan firma penilaian dari Hong Kong untuk membuat penilaian. Juga tidak ditunjukkan bahawa firma penilaian tempatan di Malaysia tidak mampu membuat kerja tersebut. Selanjutnya, terdapat perbezaan marginal hanya sebanyak 0.98% antara penilaian yang dibuat oleh Knight Frank dan yang dibuat oleh CH Williams Talhar, sebuah firma tempatan.

(3) Isu kemunasabahan kos yang ditanggung adalah dalam budi bicara dan hak prerogatif Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi sama ada hendak membenarkan atau menolak tuntutan PS berdasarkan keterangan yang dikemukakan di mahkamah. Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi telah, secara teliti, menjurus kepada pertimbangan kehakiman dan penilaian keterangan yang dikemukakan di mahkamah. Sama seperti itu, Mahkamah Rayuan tidak khilaf dalam mengesahkan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi. Oleh itu, tiada sebab untuk mahkamah ini campur tangan dan soalan yang dikemukakan dalam rayuan ini tidak perlu dijawab disebabkan rayuan ini tidak mempunyai peluang untuk berjaya, memandangkan ia adalah suatu keputusan berdasarkan budi bicara Mahkamah Tinggi atas isu fakta.

Case(s) referred to:

Australian Securities And Investments Commission v. Rowena Nominees Pty Ltd (In Liq) [2006] 225 ALR 147 (refd)

Gan Yook Chin & Anor v. Lee Ing Chin & Ors [2004] 4 CLJ 309 FC (refd)

Terengganu Forest Products Sdn Bhd v. Cosco Container Lines Co Ltd & Anor & Other Applications [2011] 1 CLJ 51 FC (refd)

Venetian Nominees Pty Ltd v. Conlan [1998] 16 ACLC 1653 (refd)

Wong Sin Fan & Ors v. Ng Peak Yam & Anor [2013] 3 CLJ 17 FC (refd)

Legislation referred to:

Companies Act 1965, ss. 232(2), 236(1), (2)

Companies (Winding-up) Rules 1972, r. 173

Counsel:

For the appellant - Ng Sai Yeang (Mark Yu Kee La Brooy & Hew Sheau Ying with him); M/s Raja, Darryl & Loh

For the respondent - Wong Rhen Yen (Goik Kenwayne with her); M/s Dennis, Nik & Wong

[Appeal from Court of Appeal; Civil Appeal No: W-02(IM)-2375-2009]

Reported by Kumitha Abd Majid




KONTRAK: Kemungkiran - Maklumat sulit - Maklumat sulit didedahkan kepada pihak ketiga - Sama ada pendedahan menyebabkan kemungkiran kontrak - Sama ada berlakunya ketidakjujuran dan frod - Konspirasi untuk menafikan hak dan kepentingan plaintif di bawah kontrak - Sama ada terbukti

TORT: Konspirasi - Pakatan berkonspirasi - Maklumat sulit didedahkan kepada pihak ketiga menyebabkan kehilangan projek - Ketidakjujuran dan frod - Sama ada terdapat konspirasi untuk menafikan hak dan kepentingan plaintif di bawah kontrak - Perniagaan plaintif terganggu sehingga menyebabkan kerugian - Sama ada konspirasi untuk menipu plaintif dibuktikan


DCX TECHNOLOGIES SDN BHD lwn. CHINA ROAD & BRIDGE CORPORATION & YANG LAIN
MAHKAMAH TINGGI MALAYA, KUALA LUMPUR
ROSILAH YOP PK
[GUAMAN NO: S4-22-22-2008]
19 OKTOBER 2012

Defendan pertama dan plaintif telah memasuki satu perjanjian (`perjanjian tersebut') di mana defendan pertama dan plaintif telah bersetuju, antara lain, bahawa: (i) defendan pertama, dengan sokongan dan bantuan plaintif, akan mengemukakan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia satu cadangan (`cadangan tersebut') untuk melaksanakan pembinaan dan implementasi Projek Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang (`projek tersebut'); (ii) defendan pertama, sama ada secara sendiri atau melalui pihak-pihak lain, tidak akan mengemukakan atau menggunakan cadangan tersebut atau apa-apa hak yang diwujudkan untuk berunding dengan atau mengemukakan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia mengenai cadangan lain berkenaan projek tersebut; dan (iii) setiap pihak bersetuju bahawa maklumat yang diperolehi daripada pihak lain yang timbul daripada perjanjian tersebut adalah sulit dan pihak-pihak tidak akan mendedahkan, memberitahu atau memberikan maklumat tersebut kepada mana-mana pihak ketiga. Plaintif telah memperkenalkan HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd (`HSSI') kepada defendan pertama. Kajian kebolehlaksanaan yang dibuat oleh HSSI telah menjadi asas pada Concept Paper dan kemudiannya, telah dimasukkan ke dalam cadangan tersebut. Dengan sokongan dan bantuan plaintif, defendan pertama telah mengemukakan cadangan tersebut kepada Kerajaan Malaysia bagi projek tersebut. Menurut plaintif, defendan pertama telah melanggar syarat-syarat dan terma-terma perjanjian tersebut apabila defendan pertama telah, tanpa pengetahuan dan kebenaran plaintif, memberikan salinan cadangan tersebut kepada defendan kedua dan juga kepada China Harbour Engineering Corp, yang merupakan "sister company" kepada defendan pertama. Ini membawa kepada cadangan yang sama diusulkan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia yang menyebabkan projek tersebut diberikan kepada defendan kedua dan defendan ketiga. Pembelaan defendan pertama adalah bahawa cadangan tersebut tidak termasuk dalam ruang lingkup perjanjian tersebut dan bahawa plaintif tidak mempunyai apa-apa kepentingan kerana plaintif tidak membekalkan apa-apa "input" atau data-data teknikal kepada cadangan tersebut. Sebaliknya, plaintif menghujahkan bahawa defendan-defendan pertama dan kedua, bersama-sama dengan syarikat-syarikat lain tersebut secara tidak jujur dan secara frod, telah berpakat melakukan konspirasi untuk menafikan hak dan kepentingan plaintif di bawah perjanjian tersebut.

Diputuskan (membenarkan tuntutan plaintif dengan kos):

(1) Adalah atas usaha-usaha dan sumbangan plaintif yang membawa kepada penyediaan Concept Paper dan cadangan tersebut. Tanpa usaha plaintif, Concept Paper dan cadangan tersebut tidak akan dapat disediakan oleh defendan pertama. Plaintif, dengan itu, tidak boleh dinafikan hak mereka dalam penyediaan Concept Paper dan cadangan tersebut. Walaupun nama plaintif tidak dinyatakan dalam Concept Paper dan cadangan tersebut, namun hak mereka tidak boleh dinafikan dalam penyediaan Concept Paper dan cadangan berkenaan kerana hak plaintif telah pun dilindungi dan termaktub dalam perjanjian tersebut. (perenggan 72 & 73)

(2) Maklumat-maklumat yang terdapat dalam cadangan termasuk Concept Paper adalah dilindungi dan sulit. Defendan pertama mempunyai tanggungjawab di bawah perjanjian tersebut untuk memastikan bahawa maklumat-maklumat sulit dalam cadangan tersebut dilindungi dan tidak boleh didedahkan kepada mana-mana pihak, kecuali dengan kebenaran bertulis daripada plaintif. Dengan pendedahan cadangan tersebut oleh defendan pertama kepada defendan-defendan kedua dan ketiga tanpa kebenaran bertulis daripada plaintif, defendan pertama telah melanggar syarat-syarat perjanjian tersebut. (perenggan 75 & 76)

(3) Defendan kedua telah menggunakan cadangan plaintif dan defendan pertama tersebut untuk kepentingan mereka sendiri dengan menafikan hak-hak plaintif. Defendan kedua telah, secara salah di sisi undang-undang, mengganggu perniagaan plaintif sehingga menyebabkan kerugian kepada pihak plaintif. (perenggan 117 & 118)

(4) Defendan-defendan mempunyai pengetahuan sepenuhnya berkenaan perjanjian antara plaintif dan defendan pertama serta kepentingan dan usaha-usaha plaintif terhadap projek tersebut. Defendan-defendan telah, secara berpakat antara mereka, berkonspirasi untuk menafikan hak-hak dan kepentingan plaintif. Akibatnya, plaintif telah dinafikan haknya daripada mendapat manfaat atau kepentingan daripada projek tersebut. (perenggan 123)

(5) Defendan pertama yang merupakan sebahagian daripada kumpulan pihak defendan kedua, ketiga dan keempat telah mendapat keuntungan hasil daripada usaha-usaha plaintif manakala plaintif telah dinafikan hak yang patut didapatnya melalui cadangan kepunyaannya itu disebabkan oleh konspirasi menipu plaintif oleh defendan pertama hingga defendan keempat. Dalam tindakan ini, terdapat keterangan yang mencukupi bahawa konspirasi telah dilakukan. (perenggan 132)

Kes-kes yang dirujuk:

Barretts & Baird (Wholesale) Ltd v. Institution of Professional Civil Servants [1987] IRLR 3 (dirujuk)

Central Bank of India v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co Ltd AIR 1965 SC 1288 (dirujuk)

Electro Cad Australia Pty Ltd & Ors v. Mejati RCS Sdn Bhd & Ors [1998] 3 CLJ Supp 196 HC (dirujuk)

Ex parte Island Records Ltd and Others [1978] 1 Ch 122 (dirujuk)

National Coal Board v. Wm Neill & Son (St Helens) Ltd [1984] 1 All ER 555 (dirujuk)

Royal Selangor Golf Club v. Anglo-Oriental (M) Sdn Bhd [1990] 1 CLJ 995; [1990] 3 CLJ (Rep) 37 HC (dirujuk)

Perundangan yang dirujuk:

Evidence Act 1950, s. 58

Kaunsel:

Bagi pihak plaintif - Prem Kumar (Tan Kai Sin bersamanya); T/n Kumar Partnership

Bagi pihak defendan pertama - Patricia Ng; T/n Skrine

Bagi pihak defendan kedua - A Vishnu Kumar; T/n Rajpal Fira & Vishnu

Dilaporkan oleh Amutha Suppayah




CRIMINAL LAW: Penal Code - Sections 395 & 397 - Gang robbery - Admission of guilt - Whether plea of guilty was unequivocal, unreserved and unqualified - Principles of sentencing - Guidelines - Public interest - Whether notorious crime - Emotional impact on victims - Mitigating factors - Whether considered

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: Sentence - Plea of guilty - Penal Code, ss. 395 & 397 - Whether plea of guilty was unequivocal, unreserved and unqualified - Principles of sentencing - Guidelines - Public interest - Whether notorious crime - Emotional impact on victims - Mitigating factors - Whether considered - Whether s. 305 Criminal Procedure Code disables accused from appealing against conviction


PP v. MOHD SAFARI MANSOR [2013] 2 SMC 102
SESSIONS COURT, KUALA LUMPUR
NITHIYANANTHAM MURUGESU SJ
[CRIMINAL CASE NO: 62-433-2011]
5 APRIL 2012


The accused was charged with two offences of gang robbery and of causing grievous hurt while being armed with a pistol under ss. 395 and 397 of the Penal Code (`Code'). The facts of the case was that the accused and three others, who were still at large, entered into the complainant's father's car and at gun point, drove away the car with the complainant's aged mother. The complainant's father, who held on to the handle of the car, sustained contusions and bruises on both his hands, when he lost control and was dragged some distance until he released his hand from the handle. In the interim, the accused used a pistol to threaten the complainant and robbed him of his belongings. The accused pleaded guilty to both charges. It was clear that he had understood the nature and consequences of his plea and that he intended to admit the offences alleged against him without any qualification. In his plea of mitigation, the accused prayed for a lesser sentence as he had realised that what he had done was wrong and that he has a child and also no steady income. He stated that he had regretted committing the offences. He also informed the court that he had assisted the police in locating the offenders in other crimes which led to the arrest of a number of armed robbery offenders.

Held (convicting and sentencing accused):

(1) The proper safeguards and protection to society and removing criminal proclivity must be the object of the law which must be achieved by imposing appropriate sentence. Therefore, the law should adopt corrective machinery or deterrence mechanism based on the factual matrix. One of the most important features in assessment of sentence is public interest. The doctrine of public interest requires severe punishment is imposed so as to prevent the perpetrator from repeating the same offence in the future and as a reminder to others. (paras 11-13 & 20)

(2) In order to serve public interest more effectively, the court was entitled to take cognizance of what is notorious and the emotional impact of criminal victimisation. In the instant case, the accused committed gang robbery and at the time of the commission of the offence, the accused was armed with a pistol and caused grievous hurt pursuant to s. 397 of the Code. Hence, the victims were put through a great deal of fear and as a result suffered social and psychological effects which may be long lasting. (paras 21 & 23)

(3) There are a number of general sentencing principles and guidelines applicable in cases where the accused had pleaded guilty, inter alia: (i) discount or credit for plea of guilty; (ii) comparison of sentences in other cases of a similar offence; (iii) disparity of sentence amongst the accused persons; and (iv) mitigating factors relevant to the present case; PP v. Ravindran & Ors (refd). (para 24)

(4) In the instant case, the court had ensured that the basic requirements had been complied with, ie, the charges were read and explained to the accused in Bahasa Malaysia and the accused had understood the charges and pleaded guilty. The court subsequently informed the accused of the nature and consequences of his plea and the accused maintained his plea, which led the court to call upon the prosecution to tender the facts of the case. There were no disputes to the facts of the case and the exhibits tendered by the prosecution. The accused admitted to the facts and the exhibits as correct. Thereafter, the accused was invited to mitigate his case. (para 47)

(5) The court was satisfied that the accused's plea of guilty was unequivocal, unreserved and unqualified. Hence, s. 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code would disable him from appealing on the conviction. (para 48)

[Accused sentenced to five years' imprisonment with one stroke of whipping for the first charge; five years' imprisonment with one stroke of whipping for the second charge and both charges to run concurrently.]

Case(s) referred to:

Farouk Abu Haniffa Saryani lwn. PP [2011] 1 LNS 509 HC (refd)

Jamalludin Khadiron v. PP [2004] 8 CLJ 308 HC (refd)

Lee Weng Tuck & Anor v. PP [1989] 2 CLJ 120; [1989] 1 CLJ (Rep) 75 SC (refd)

Lim Kim Poh v. PP [2000] 8 CLJ 328 HC (refd)

Mohd Abdullah Ang Swee Kang v. PP [1987] 2 CLJ 405; [1987] CLJ (Rep) 209 SC (refd)

Mohd Alif Marzuq Mohd Noor lwn. PP [2010] 1 LNS 572 HC (refd)

Mohd Azmi Abas lwn. PP [2010] 1 LNS 682 HC (refd)

PP lwn. Ahmad Dimah Lamaik [2011] 1 LNS 714 HC (refd)

PP v. Govindnan Chinden Nair [1998] 2 CLJ 370 HC (refd)

PP v. Lee Tak Keong [1988] 1 LNS 217 HC (refd)

PP v. Leo Say & Ors [1985] 2 CLJ 155; [1985] CLJ (Rep) 683 HC (refd)

PP v. Loo Choon Fatt [1976] 1 LNS 102 HC (refd)

PP v. Low Kok Wai [1988] 2 CLJ 105; [1988] 2 CLJ (Rep) 268 HC (refd)

PP v. Ooi Wang San [1998] 3 CLJ 270 CA (refd)

PP v. Ravindran & Ors [1992] 1 LNS 47 HC (refd)

PP v. Teh Ah Cheng [1976] 1 LNS 116 HC (refd)

R v. de Haan [1967] 3 All ER 618 (refd)

R v. William Henry Boyd [1980] 2 Cr App R (s) 234 (refd)

Reg v. Blake [1962] 2 QB 377 (refd)

Reg v. Davies [1978] 67 Cr App R 207 (refd)

Reg v. JH Sargeant [1975] 60 Cr App R 74 (refd)

Reg v. Sargeant [1974] 60 Cr App R 74 (refd)

Rex v. Grondkowski [1946] 1 All ER 560 (refd)

Rex v. Kenneth John Ball [1951] 35 Cr App R 164 (refd)

Zaidon Shariff v. PP [1996] 4 CLJ 441 HC (refd)

Legislation referred to:

Criminal Procedure Code, ss. 173(b), 305

Penal Code, ss. 395, 397

Other source(s) referred to:

Julie Anne Gale, The Behavioural, Emotional and Psychological Effects of Street Robbery on Victims, vol 12, pp 1-22

Reported by S Barathi

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