Win-win for MPKj and MCA
Published: Fri, 12 Apr 2013
KUALA LUMPUR: Despite a court ordering the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) to pay RM175,000 to MCA in a community hall dispute, the council retains authority over it.
Shah Alam High Court Judge Datuk Yaacob Md Sam on April 5 ruled that the council trespassed on the hall but also threw out injunctions filed by the party to prevent MPKj from exerting its authority.
The lawyer representing MPKj, Lim Lip Eng, called the decision a “win-win judgement” and hoped it will resolve the dispute as both parties have agreed in court that the community hall is illegal.
(From left) Lai, Ng, Lee and Lim showing documents relevant to the ruling on April 6.
“Both sides have agreed in court that the hall is built on state land, and is therefore illegal,” said Lim, who is also Segambut parliamentary incumbent, on April 6.
MPKj wanted to reclaim the hall for community use in 2008 but MCA claimed ownership of it, prompting the former to try and seize it by force on three separate occasions.
MCA had also filed a judicial review of the council’s decision to seize the hall in 2009; Friday’s judgement is a civil suit filed by
MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha in 2011 for trespassing.
However, the building does not have a title, certificate of fitness, council approval nor any records to contradict its illegal status.
Lim advised MPKj to pay up the RM175,000 in damages, aggravated damages and legal fees and issue another notice for MCA to vacate the premises.
“I have advised MPKj to pay the RM175,000 to show that the council is a law-abiding government.
“MPKj will also issue new notices to MCA under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 to vacate the premises either in seven or 30 days,” said Lim.
Lim said if MCA failed to leave the premises and surrender the land voluntarily to the council they will not hesitate to take “necessary action”.
When asked if the council can still be considered as trespassers when they have the ultimate authority over both the hall and the land, Lim said it is a valid concern but they will not question the judgement.
Accompanying Lim were MPKj councillors Lee Kee Hiong, Eddie Ng and Bryan Lai.
Lee said the seizure was part of an MPKj initiative to reclaim illegal community halls for public use; three other MCA halls were reclaimed in Balakong and the party surrendered them without incident.
The halls are now under the management of local residents’ associations (RAs) or Residents’ Committee (JKP).
Ng commented that the judgement delivered redress to both parties and hoped MCA will not file a third suit against the council as it will be a waste of time for the courts.
“I hope they won’t do it for a third time so the court’s time will not be wasted when it can be better used for criminal cases,” said Ng.
He also said it is unfair to residents that the local MCA branch is now using it as a general election operations centre. Lai agreed that a third suit would just be a waste of taxpayers’ money and MCA should willingly surrender the hall.