Gov't seeks review of leave to appeal against ruling on Jalan Duta land enclave

KHAIRAH N. KARIM


PUTRAJAYA: A legal battle arising from a land acquisition since the pre-Merdeka era has not ended as the government today sought for a review of a leave dismissal by the Federal Court.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, who represented the government, is asking the Federal Court to review its earlier decision which rejected their leave to appeal against a ruling that declared it a trespasser of a prime land occupied by various government agencies in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.

Submitting on the 1956 case, Mohamed Apandi said the court has the inherent power to remedy an injustice as provided under Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995.

“Let us have our day in court to argue and ventilate the matter as there are no other avenues except by way of review to correct a miscarriage of justice as significant injustice had resulted,” he said.

However, a five-member panel chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop has reserved its judgement on a date that has yet to be fixed.

Meanwhile, counsel Datuk Dr Cyrus Das who represented private land firm Semantan Estates Sdn Bhd argued that it was not a fit and proper case to be reviewed.

“There should be finality in any case or else it will open a flood gate to any parties who is unhappy with the court’s decision to file a review application,” he said.

The other panels who presided were Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham.

In 2010, the High Court ruled that the acquisition of 263.272 acres of land owned Semantan Estates was not lawfully executed and that the government has been a trespasser of the land enclave of Jalan Duta, on which stands the National Hockey Stadium, the National Tennis Complex, the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, the Federal Territory Mosque, the National Archives, the Inland Revenue Office Complex and several other government buildings.

The decision was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal on May 18, 2012 and on Nov 21, in the same year, the Federal Court refused the government leave to appeal against the decision effectively making the High Court ruling final and binding.

In 1956, the Selangor Government declared that the land belonging to Semantan Estates was required for a public purpose.

In 1989, Semantan Estates filed an action against the Government of Malaysia for trespass, claiming that the taking of possession of the land was unlawful and wrongful.