Court rules ex-Kg Gatco settlers have no right over land

PUTRAJAYA: A group of 140 former Kampung Gatco settlers have lost their final battle at the Federal Court to seek possession of their land in Bahau, Negri Sembilan.

Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, who sat with Justices Balia Yusof Wahi and Aziah Ali, dismissed their leave application against the Court of Appeal’s decision delivered two years ago.

In a unanimous decision, the Federal Court ruled that the legal questions posed by the settlers did not meet the threshold requirement under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

Justice Md Raus said the issue had been dealt with before and should not be raised, adding that a case could be dismissed after a full trial or without. He said the High Court judge was entitled to make a summary ruling without hearing the parties.

He added that the issue had been decided and the ex-settlers had no right over the land, and ordered them to pay RM10,000 as costs to Gatco’s liquidators K. Jayapalasingam and Yong Yoon Shing, and RM10,000 to private developers Thamarai Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Earlier, counsel for the ex-settlers, R. Kengadharan and senior lawyer Gopal Sri Ram, applied for leave to appeal on the grounds that there should be a full hearing and that the matter should not be disposed via a summary trial.

Kengadharan said later that he had been instructed to file a fresh suit. The ex-settlers had been involved in a drawn-out tussle with the authorities and Thamarai Holdings over ownership of the Gatco estate.

On Oct 10, 2016, Court of Appeal judge Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that the High Court did not violate the principal of stare decisis (a legal principle where a court adheres to points of law established by decisions in earlier cases).

Kampung Gatco settlers , land , court