KUALA LUMPUR, Mon: Wan Zalizan Wan Jusoh, the senior vice- president of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (“IRDA”) explained that the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (“IRDA”) was formed responsible for realising the vision and objectives of IDR, i.e. to be a metropolis of international standing.
IRDA was established by a Federal Act of Parliament – IRDA Act 2007 (Act 664) and it is a single authority or single reference point for promotions, approvals, implementations and regulations, aspires to carry best practices benchmarked against world standards and IRDA is the single authority empowered to plan, promote, process, stimulate, facilitate and undertake development in the Iskandar region. It is involved, among others Planning , Promotion and Process.
He went on to elaborate that the gazetted area of IDR is approximately 2,217 km2 which is equivalent to 3 times of the land area of Singapore which consists of 5 flagship centers ie. Zone A to Zone E. he also mentioned that the development of IDR will be guided by 5 strategic pillars ie
(i) International rim positioning ;
(ii) Creation of catalyst projects;
(iii) Establish hard and soft infrastructure enablers
(iv) A stong regulatory authority;
(v) Balance socio-economic equity
The more interesting sub topic was when he touched on the special incentives available for companies, approved developers, approved development managers and/or foreign knowledge workers. His power point presentation ends with providing the list of the existing players in IDR and the latest figure in total amount invested in IDR.
The next speaker Professor Teo Keang Sood then took the stage and presented his paper on the property rights under the Malaysian Constitution. His paper mainly drew a distinction between the immediate indefeasibility and deferred indefeasibility and he analysed the case of Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit.
He criticized the decision delivered by the Federal Court and he thinks the decision is a dangerous one as all purchasers can rely on the proviso stipulated in S.340(3) National Land Code 1965 notwithstanding that the purchaser only comes under the purview of S. 340(2).
He hopes that the Federal Court will have the opportunity to make a correct pronouncement on the law relation to indefeasibility for the sake of certainty in land transactions, which the assistance of Parliament may have to be relied upon as a last resort. And with so many fraudulent transactions reported, he advised landowners, in appropriate cases, request for a Registrar’s caveat to be entered over the land for the prevention of fraud or improper dealings.
With the increasing of fraudulent and improper dealings with the lands ACP Tan Kok Liang being a very senior officer in the Royal Malaysian Police Force hence opined that finger printing be introduced in property and land dealings. He provided the statistics of cases of cheating involving sale and the purchase of the property and land of which there is an increasing trend throughout the years but they have only managed to make 4 arrests in year 2006. He went on to explain the difficulties in nabbing the culprits as they often used fictitious names, fictitious Sale and Purchase Agreements, and even fictitious lawyers.
ACP Tan also tried his best to teach the audience various ways to distinguish the fingerprints but to no avail as majority of the attendees were never trained to distinguish them. All we could do is to imagine watching CSI on tv where the AFIS computer works that out.
Stare Decisis = obey the boss?
A very senior practitioner and a fiery speaker, Lim Kean Chye then presented his paper entitled “Green Light for Forgers”
He continued to criticise the Boonsom’s decision delivered by the Federal Court and he further thinks the doctrine of Strare Decisis in Malaysia is only a gimmick.
Stare Decisis essentially in Malaysian context means “to obey your boss” and don’t rule against the majority and follow the presiding judge’s views or the more senior fellow judges.
He went on to criticise the recent statement given by the Minister of the Prime Minister Department Dato’ Nazri when he spoke frankly being the chief justice’s minister.
In short, he strongly believes that the decision by the Federal Court has to be reviewed and Boonsom should not be recognised as a precedent.
Can we own, use and deal property freely?
The last speaker Dato’ Jeffery Ng Tiong Lip started his paper with Article 13(1) of the Federal Constitution which provides that no person shall be deprived of property. In other words, every Malaysian has the right to enjoy property without unlawful interference and we have the right to own, use and deal with the property.
He submitted that on a whole, Malaysian Constitution adequately protects property rights but the administration of the evolving nature of government policies and its implementation by some government agencies is, in some instance of great concern.
He went on to give examples where certain State Governments and local authorities have exercised their discretionary power arbitrarily and changed the guidelines drastically at the expense of housing developers:
(a) bumiputra housing quota imposed by all states have ranged from 30% to 70%;
(b) the discount imposed exceeds 5% of purchase price (some even up to 15%);
(c) the reserved period of 6 months is extended to without any definite period of release;
(d) introduction of heavy monetary penalties and compensations to some State governments before release of unsold units is granted;
(e) the endorsement on land titles as an expressed condition of bumiputra reserved units.
He strongly believes that there is a need to de-racailise things by looking at the quality of a person’s personality rather than the skin colour. And if that is the case, he thinks that the property rights under such an ideal scenario will make our housing industry fly through the roof.