AU MENG NAM & ANOR V UNG YAK CHEW & ORS [2007] 5 MLJ 136

AU MENG NAM & ANOR V UNG YAK CHEW & ORS

[2007] 5 MLJ 136

CIVIL APPEAL NO J–01–82 OF 2005

COURT OF APPEAL (PUTRAJAYA)

DECIDED-DATE-1: 12 JULY 2007

GOPAL SRI RAM, RAUS SHARIF AND HASAN LAH JJCA

Facts of the Case
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The plaintiffs were (previously) the (registered proprietors) of the land. On 17 September 1997, they came to know that the land had been (transferred) to the first defendant (vide the registration of the memorandum of transfer) in Form 14A on 9 October 1996. The plaintiffs (contended that) they had never entered into any agreement or signed any document to transfer the land to the first defendant. (Two cheats) (claiming to be the proprietors of the land entered into a sale and purchase agreement) of the land with the first defendant. This took place on 9 May 1996. Hence, on 18 September 1997 the plaintiffs (lodged a police report) stating that the transfer of the land to the first defendant was (fraudulent). They subsequently brought this action against the first defendant. The first defendant in his defence contended that he was (a bona fide purchaser of the land for valuable consideration) within the proviso to s 340(3) of the National Land Code 1965 (‘Code’) and thus (had obtained) an indefeasible title to the land. (The first defendant, as a fall back position), filed a third party notice against the second and third defendants for (compensation or indemnity). He (alleged) that the second and third defendants were (negligent). The second and third defendants were at the material time (the partners in the firm of solicitors acting for the first defendant for the purchase) and subsequent transfer (of the land.) The second and third defendants (denied) any negligence on their part. They too, as a fall back position, brought in the Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Johor Bahru (‘the fourth defendant’) as the fourth party to this action, claiming for contribution or indemnity. They in turn alleged that the fourth defendant was negligent. On 26 August 2005, the learned trial judge after a full trial, dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim. He found it as a fact that the instrument of transfer of the land to the first defendant was (a forged document). Nevertheless, applying the Federal Court case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit [2001] 1 MLJ 241 (‘Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd’) he held that the first defendant was a bona fide purchaser for value within the proviso to s 340(3) of the Code and thus (had acquired an indefeasible title to the land). One of the main issues raised by the plaintiffs in this appeal was that the learned trial judge (was wrong to rely on) the case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd. Learned counsel for the plaintiffs submitted that Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd was decided (per incuriam) and should not be followed. Thus, what had to be decided was whether the learned trial judge was right in holding that the first defendant was a bona fide purchaser of the land for valuable consideration so as to (fall within the exception) to (defeasibility) under s 340(3) of the Code. Learned counsel for the first defendant, submitted that the findings of the learned trial judge were findings of fact and this court, as an appellate court, should be (slow in interfering) with such findings.

Meanings of the bracketed words.
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Previously = sebelum ini
registered proprietors = pemilik/tuan punya berdaftar
Transferred = Dipindahmilik
vide the registration of = melalui pendaftaran
Vide = Melalui
Registration = Pendaftaran
memorandum of transfer = memorandum pindahan
contended that = telah menegaskan/berkeras menyatakan bahawa
had never entered into any agreement = tidak pernah memeterai dan menandatangani/tidak memasuki apa-apa perjanjian
Agreement = perjanjian
Two cheats = Dua penipu/penyangak
claiming to be the proprietors of the land = berlagak sebagai/ berpura-pura menjadi/mendakwa adalah para pemilik/tuan punya tanah tersebut
proprietors of the land = pemilik/tuan punya tanah tersebut
entered into a sale and purchase agreement = memeterai dan menandatangani satu perjanjian jual beli
lodged a police report = membuat laporan polis
police report = laporan polis
Fraudulent = palsu
a bona fide purchaser of the land for valuable consideration = pembeli bona fide tanah tersebut untuk balasan bernilai
bona fide =  jujur
Purchaser = pembeli
valuable consideration = balasan bernilai
had obtained = telah mendapat
The first defendant, as a fall back position = Defendan pertama, sebagai satu tindakan untuk melindungi kedudukan mereka
a fall back position = satu tindakan untuk melindungi kedudukan
compensation = ganti rugi/pampasan
indemnity = ganti rugi/ indemnity
alleged = mendakwa/menuduh
negligent =  cuai
the partners in the firm of solicitors acting for the first defendant for the purchase of the land. = rakan kongsi dalam firma guaman yang melakukan pembelian tanah tersebut bagi pihak defendan pertama
partners = rakan-rakan kongsi
acting for the first defendant for the purchase of the land = melakukan pembelian tanah tersebut bagi pihak defendan pertama
denied = telah menafikan
They in turn = Mereka juga
claiming for contribution = menuntut sumbangan
dismissed = menolak tuntutan
a forged document = satu dokumen palsu
applying = dengan menggunapakai
had acquired = telah memperoleh
an indefeasible title to the land = hak milik yang tidak boleh disangkal ke atas tanah tersebut.
was wrong = telah terkhilaf/salah
to rely on = bergantung kepada
per incuriam = diputuskan dengan tidak berhati-hati menjadikan keputusan yang diambil menjadi khilaf dan silap
to fall within the exception = terangkum di bawah pengecualian
Defeasibility = yang boleh disangkal
should be slow in interfering = tidak sepatutnya campur tangan/adalah keberatan untuk campur tangan/mengambil masa yang lama untuk campur tangan (kerana enggan campur tangan).

Summary of the Court’s Decision
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(1) (per Raus JCA; Hasan JCA concurring)
The (Federal Court) should (review its decision) in Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd. (By virtue of) section 340(2)(b) of the Code, the title of Adorna Properties was not indefeasible as the registration was obtained by forgery. Section 340(3) (does not apply) to section 340(2). The proviso states ‘Provided that in this subsection’ and this subsection refers to section 340(3) and not section 340(2). Section 340(3)(a) refers to ‘to whom it may subsequently transferred’ which means that (the intended purchaser) is (the subsequent purchaser) and not (the immediate purchaser). Similarly, (in the instant case), the title of the first defendant was defeasible as the registration was obtained by forgery. The first respondent was the immediate purchaser and not a subsequent purchaser. Section 340(3) (has no application) as it (refers to) subsequent purchaser and not the immediate purchaser. Thus, the plaintiffs would (have succeeded)_ in this (appeal) if not for the Federal Court (interpretation) of section 340 of the Code in Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd. But this court is (not ready to ignore or disregard) the Federal Court’s decision in Adorna Properties SdnBhd (see paragraphs 34–35 of the Judgment in MLJ); Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit [2001] 1 MLJ 241 followed.

Meanings of the bracketed words.
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Federal Court = Mahkamah Persekutuan
review its decision = mengkaji semula keputusannya
By virtue of section 340(2)(b) of the Code = Menurut seksyen 340(2)(b) Kanun tersebut,
does not apply tidak terpakai/tidak diaplikasikan/tidak berhubung kait/tidak berkenaan
the intended purchaser = pembeli yang berhasrat
the subsequent purchaser = pembeli seterusnya
the immediate purchaser = pembeli secara langsung
in the instant case = dalam kes ini
has no application = tidak digunapakai/diaplikasikan/dikaitkan
refers to = merujuk kepada
would have succeeded = mungkin telah Berjaya
appeal = rayuan
interpretation = tafsiran
not ready = belum bersedia
ignore = tidak mengendahkan
disregard = tidak mengambilkira

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