Review the National Land Code and prevent land fraud.
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government review the National Land Code so as to amend it to prevent land fraud.
Dr Tan comments on the decision of the Court of Appeal 0n 13 July, 2007, that a controversial Federal Court ruling on the land forgery case in 2001 was wrongly decided.
In 2001, the Federal Court ruled on the Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd versus Boonsom Boonyanit in favour of a bona fide purchaser of land whose ownership had been forged and against Boonsom who owned the land. Now, two brothers, Au Meng Nam and Ming Kong, also lost their land to forgers. The Court of Appeal ordered that the title to the property be registered in their names.
Eleven years ago, two forgers whon claimed to be proprietors to the land, sold the property to Ung Yak Chew. The Au brothers filed an action at the High Court in Johor Baru. The court dismissed the suit on the grounds that Ung was a bona fide purchaser. It followed the doctrine of stare decisis (binding precedent). The Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd versus Boonsom Boonyanit case was the precedent.
Sri Ram said:"No court in this country need to follow it if it can be demonstrated that it was wrongly decided."
We hope that the Government review the National Land Code such as Section 340(3) with a view to amend the relevant section. There should not be recurrence of such cases.
Owing to various factors, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry does not have a complete record of similar cases. It indicates that up to April, 2007, the Federal Land and Mine Department collects 105 such cases. The ministry believes that most cases are due to conventional fraud with forged documents, not because of weakness in the National Land Code or the computer system, but other factors especially human greed.
Two months ago, two brothers from Jinjang North found that their ancestral land had been taken over by forgers. Apparently, four suspects have been apprehended and they will be charged in court.
We have brought up the issue in parliament. However, the land and mine departments and the ministry must keep a more complete record of fraud cases. After 50 years of Merdeka, we must have better data on land matters.
All land and mine departments need better cooperation with the police, the skills to identify false documents, the use of chips and the training for clean, efficient and trustworthy personnel.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw