LEE GUAT CHEOW & CO SDN BHD v. WONG SOO HA


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LEE GUAT CHEOW & CO SDN BHD v. WONG SOO HA
HIGH COURT MALAYA, TAIPING
MOHAMED ZAINI MAZLAN JC
[CIVIL SUIT NO: S-22NCVC-12-04-2013]
13 JULY 2015


LAND LAW: Ownership – Dispute – Discovery of occupier on plot of land during land survey – Allegation that there was agreement between land owner and occupier – Agreement allowed occupier to build house on plot of land – Land owner commenced action for vacant possession – Occupier claimed for specific performance to compel land owner to transfer plot of land – Whether ownership of plot of land vested on land owner or occupier – Civil Law Act 1956, s. 28(2)

The plaintiff carried on the business of planting and harvesting oil palm trees for palm oil on 78.3 acres of land (‘the land’). The defendant, an unwanted occupier, resided in a property located on a small plot of the land. According to the defendant, there was an agreement between him and the plaintiff
allowing the former to build a dwelling house on the land. The plaintiff claimed that it did not have any records of the defendant’s occupation and had only discovered the defendant’s occupation of its land when it conducted a survey of the land. This prompted the plaintiff to commence the present suit, seeking for, inter alia, vacant possession or in the alternative for the defendant to pay rental and damages. The defendant counterclaimed and sought for an order of specific performance against the plaintiff to compel the plaintiff to transfer to him the plot where his house sat on and for damages for breach of contract or in equity. The primary issue that arose for the court’s determination was the right of ownership over the land where the defendant’s house was built on.

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