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Couple win landmark case
23/10/2009 The Star By Elan Perumal

A COUPLE has won a landmark case against their neighbour in Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam, who carried out renovations on his house without complying with the plan approved by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).

The Shah Alam High Court on Wednesday decided in favour of R. Kanagasingam and K. Shamala, the first and second plaintiffs in the suit, when it found Wong Chong Fatt and his wife Swee Geok Eng guilty of tearing down their corner lot double-storey linkhouse at No. 29, Jalan 32/55D, Bukit Rimau, in Section 32, Shah Alam, and of carrying out renovations not in accordance with the approved plan.

High Court Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof also ordered Wong and Swee to pay general damages, which is to be assessed by the Court Registrar, in relation to the loss of rental to the plaintiffs’ property due to their inability to move into their property since Oct 1, 2003; damages due to the stress caused to the second plaintiff arising out of her sinus condition, the purchase value of the plaintiffs’ property at the current market value in the event that there is no renovation on the defendants’ property.

In limbo: The renovation work at house No. 29 was stopped in 2005 after the plaintiffs obtained a court injunction.

She also ordered that the costs of the legal action be borne by the couple and the MBSA.

The plaintiffs had named Wong and Swee as the first and fourth defendants respectively, Bukit Rimau Development Sdn Bhd as the second defendant and the MBSA, the third.

The first and the fourth defendants were also ordered to tear down the building and reinstate it to the original condition or to rebuild it according to the approval given by the MBSA.

She also held the MBSA liable for the offence committed by the first and fourth defendants as it had not taken action on the non-compliance with the local government by-laws.

“Therefore, the local authority should ensure that the structure is torn down and rebuilt according to the approved plan or the original condition,” she said.

The court, however, dismissed the plaintiffs’ action against the second defendant, the developer, with costs.

The plaintiffs were represented by N. Sivanesan and Rajesh Kumar Sharma.

Sharma, when met outside the court following the judgment, said he was happy for his clients, who had suffered emotional and mental stress as the case went on over the last seven years.

The case was first filed on Nov 28, 2003 after Kanagasingam and Shamala, the owners of house No. 27, realised that the ongoing renovation works had caused structural damage to their house, which they had bought on July 26, 2000.

Sharma said Wong and his wife, had obtained approval from the city council for the renovation of their house in April 2003 but had failed to carry out the work according to the approved plan.

He said the renovation involved the demolition of substantial portions of the defendants’ house that affected several common structures linking the two properties, resulting in damage to the plaintiffs’ house.

“The plaintiffs had also written to both the developer and the city council on the indiscriminate renovation but their complaints went unheard,” he said.

In 2005, the plaintiffs had obtained a court injunction to stop the renovation work.


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