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Ang Ming Lee Distinguished by the Court of Appeal in Obata-Ambak Holdings Sdn Bhd v Prema Bonanza Sdn Bhd

Housing Development and Financing Facilities Series

(Civil Appeal No. W-02(IM)(NCvC)-1204-06/2021 and Civil Appeal No. W-02(IM) NCvC)-1205-06/2021)

Introduction

These 2 appeals lodged in the Court of Appeal stemmed from from an action filed by purchasers in a stratified development area originated in the High Court. The core issue is to claim LAD as a result of the Ang Ming Lee’s case decided in the Federal Court.

These appeal arose from an Order 14A application ruled in favour of the Developer granted by the Learned High Court Judge Mohd Firuz Bin Jaffril on 18.5.2021.

Facts:

The Plaintiff, a purchaser of a stratified development signed a SPA dated 11.7.2012 and 18.7.2012 for a completion period of 54 months (and not 36 months). Vacant possession was delivered on 8.2.2017.

Post Ang Ming Lee, the Plaintiff filed a suit against the Developer and claimed that the extension of time (“EOT”) given by the Controller is invalid and parties are required to adopt the prescribed SPA set out in Schedule H which provides for a completion period of 36 months only.

Decision of the High Court

The Defendant (a Developer) argued that the purchaser had knowledge and consented to the 54 months time period based on 3 core issues below:

(a) cause of action accrues from the date of SPA (and not on the date of vacant possession) and therefore limitation period has set in;

(b) wrong mode (the Plaintiff should commence the action via a judicial review and not a writ);

(c) The purchaser is estopped from claiming LAD for the gap between 36 to 54 months after entering into a settlement agreement.

The High Court ruled in favour of the Developer and struck out the claim of the purchaser. Dissatisfied with the decision, the purchaser filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal. A copy of the High Court grounds can be downloaded below:


Decision of the Court of Appeal (Broad Grounds)

The Court of Appeal has on 10.2.2022 decided in favour of the Developer and dismissed the 2 appeals of the purchaser.

The broad grounds of the Court of Appeal were given. It primarily focuses on the point of limitation period and ruled that the 54 months’ time period was already reflected in the Sale and Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) and the purchcaser has consented to and signed off.

The Plaintiff since it relied on and challenged the validity of Clause 25 and Clause 27 of the SPA, cause of action should run from the inception at the point of execution of the SPA.

Given that, the Plaintiff’s claim is barred by limitation period and was correctly struck out by the High Court.

Author
Founder and Litigation Partner at Chee Hoe & Associates.
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