Advice Style

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The Great Developer Sdn. Bhd.is able to raise objection towards the land acquisition as the company is the land proprietor, which within the meaning of person interested in accordance with interpretation section of Land Acquisition Act 1960 (LAA 1960).[1] However, the grounds that could be raised to challenge had not expressly stated within the provisions of the Act. Such rights are implied in the words of constitution, statute and case law.

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The acquisition may be objected by the Great Developer Sdn. Bhd. if the Gombak Land Administrator had made a procedural error. A procedural error may be made through delay in any procedural step and non-compliance with S 9(1) of LAA 1960. S 9(1)(b) of LAA 1960 provided that Land Administrator must make a note of the intended acquisition on the registered document of title of the said land upon the publication of the declaration specified under S8 of the Act. It is preliminary step before entering the procedure of land acquisition.The issue of failure to comply with section 9 had been raised in the case of S Kulasingam and Anor v Commissioner of Land, Federal Territory,[2] where the note is only made 2 months the publication of the declaration. Although it was held non-compliance with S9, Federal Court still deemed the late notation as valid because it is not mandatory but mere directory. The Great Developer Sdn. Bhd. may raise this ground if the notation is late more than 2 years as the effect of declaration will lapse at that time. Such delay amounts to breach of natural justice, which is also a ground that will be discussed later. The original proprietor will be granted right to object if there is delay in any stages of the land acquisition, for example, holding enquiry, making an award, making actual payment of compensation.[3] Prior to the amendment of the Act, duration of time which a delay may affects the acquisition, is questionable before the court. In Wan Munah bte Wan Embong dan Lain-lain v Pemungut Hasil Tanah, Kuala Terengganu,[4] an acquisition order was quashed after 4 years the non-payment of compensation. A clear rule that 2 years is given for the whole proceeding to be completed or else the declaration will expires[5], in pursuant to the amendment of S8(4) of LAA 1960 in 1982.[6] The first step of the acquisition proceeding is that the Land Administrator shall make full enquiry into the value of land in accordance with S 12 of LAA 1960. A delay in holding enquiry may affect the payment of compensation to be delayed respectively. It was consistently held by the court that the delay in enquiry for undue reason will renders the acquisition to be void even in cases before the amendment took place.

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