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Appeals court reinstates SPSB’s suit against Felda, its subsidiary FIC over vacant possession of Felda land

Publish date: Tue, 03 Oct 2023, 07:29 PM

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 3 — The Court of Appeal here today allowed an appeal by Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd (SPSB) to reinstate its lawsuit against Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC) over vacant possession of Felda land along Jalan Semarak in Kuala Lumpur.

The suit was struck out by the High Court on November 23, 2021 following Felda and FIC’s application.

In the court’s unanimous decision delivered online, Justice Datuk Azizah Nawawi said the matter must go for trial as there is a triable issue of fact as to whether there was a minister’s approval obtained under Section 3 (3) (c) of the Land Development Act 1956.

“Added to that the issues of dishonesty, fraud and conspiracy against SPSB,” she said, adding that the matter must go for trial.

She said under Section 3 (3) (c), Felda and FIC were required to obtain approval from the minister before they could enter into a joint-venture agreement. She added that from court documents in a lawsuit filed by Felda and FIC against 21 defendants, it was pleaded (by the defendants) that approval was obtained from the minister in charge of the authority.

Justice Azizah, who presided with Justices Datuk See Mee Chun and Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, also ordered that the SPSB suit be heard together with the suit filed by Felda and FIC.

Meanwhile, the panel dismissed SPSB’s appeal with regard to its application to obtain a summary judgment against Felda and FIC. The High Court, on July 23, 2020, dismissed SPSB’s application for a summary judgment and the company filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

A summary judgment is where a court decides a case through arguments without hearing the testimony of witnesses in a trial.

SPSB commenced legal action on July 9, 2019 against Felda and FIC for specific performance relating to a development agreement signed on June 2, 2014, involving a mixed development on 24 parcels of land, measuring 8.36 hectares in total, along Jalan Semarak.

Under the agreement, FIC was required to deliver vacant possession of the land within 30 days of signing the agreement, and also ensure the vacant possession would not be revoked by Felda prior to the completion of the project.

However, SPSB claimed that in January 2016, Felda and FIC merely delivered vacant possession of one parcel of the land to the company. SPSB is also seeking a consequential order directing the defendants to forthwith deliver vacant possession of the aforesaid lands to the company.

Meanwhile, Felda and FIC filed the lawsuit in November 2019 against the 21 defendants including its former chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad and Tan Sri Shahril Samad and other former directors-general of Felda, Synergy Promenade KLVC Sdn Bhd (SPKLVC).

They sought an order to direct the Federal Territory Land and Mine director to cancel all instruments of Semarak Felda land ownership transfer from the agency to SPSB and SPKLVC.

They also sought compensation of RM1.5 billion for the overall rental liability under the Rental Agreement if it was not set aside, compensation of RM2.062 billion other than seeking compensation for the commercial value of 17 land lots which were purportedly sold under the four lease-purchase agreements and costs.

Lawyer Amrit Pal Singh represented SPSB while counsel Kumar Kanagasingam acted for Felda and FIC. — Bernama

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