Safeguarding property ownership rights
Penang property owners beware! According to the recently released Auditor-General’s Report 2007 on activities and special studies of Penang State’s government agencies and reports prepared by Penang State Department of Land and Mines, the auditor findings disclosed that there are several land forgery cases recorded in Penang State. Apart from the one landmark case Boonsom Bunyanit vs Adorna Properties Sdn.Bhd, there are also a number of fraudulent cases involving lands in the State.
According to the report, there are 7 cases of signature forgery on transfer form (Borang 14A) and fraudulent land transfers detected and the properties identified are located in both Penang Island and mainland Seberang Perai whilst another 4 cases involving forgery of documents relating to court order, more at Auditor-General’s Report 2007 (page 129 -132, Table 50 & 51). And the shocking revelation is the opinion of the auditor :-
“Pada pendapat Audit, Pejabat Tanah Dan Galian tidak dapat mengesan kesahihan dan ketulenan dokumen yang dikemukakan bagi urusan tanah kerana kakitangan Pejabat tidak ada kemahiran dalam bidang tersebut. Hak pemilik tanah tidak terjamin apabila berlaku pemalsuan dalam urusan tanah.”
(In the opinion of the auditor, The Department of Land and Mines could not detect the validity and authenticity of the documents presented for land dealings because the department staff does not have the expertise in this field. The rights of the land owners can not be guaranteed when forgery in land dealing occurs).
In light of the above, Penang land and property owners are advised not to take things for granted and to exercise caution on the safekeeping of their property title deeds and conduct regular title searches and seek reputable solicitor advice.
Amendment to Section 340 National Land Code
According to Ministry of Internal Security’s reply in Parliament house on 9 July 2007, the number of case of fraudulent signature for land title transfer recorded during the period 2001 till May 2007 are 16 cases in 2001, 19 cases in 2002, 22 cases in 2003, 32 cases in 2004, 35 cases in 2005 and 40 cases in 2006 and 16 cases up to May 2007. The statistics disclosed that forgery of land titles and land scams are on the rise. In a move to safeguard and protecting the landowners, Malaysia’s Bar Council has taken a lead and submitted a memorandum to the then Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid on July 24 last year. It is understood that in the memorandum, the Bar Council proposed several amendments to be made to the relevant sections of the National Land Code (NLC), especially Sections 340(3) and (4) and 187B. Bar Council welcomes move by government to amend s 340 NLC and is expected to be amended by year end.
For advisory on individual property purchases and rentals of Penang properties, email to us at Izrin & Tan Properties Sdn. Bhd. or call us at +604 6588333 (Penang Office) or +603 92839782 (Kuala Lumpur Office) and we would be pleased to assist.