Penang taking action to recover RM14m from property deal
KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — The Penang government gave its assurance today that it has begun action to reclaim the RM14.09 million it had earlier paid businessman Tang Hak Ju over a failed land deal.
Penang State Secretary Datuk Farizan Darus said the government, through its state legal adviser (SLA) is currently handling the matter “in a professional manner, using existing laws”.
“It is inappropriate to reveal the legal strategies we are taking to recover the money because it would only give the defendants the opportunity to oppose.
“Action by the SLA has commenced and will proceed to ensure the money is returned. The office of the SLA gives its guarantee that it will act professionally and immediately to recover the public monies,” he said in a statement today.
On May 7, the Federal Court ruled in favour of the Penang government when it upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had on January 11 this year, set aside the RM28.6 million in damages awarded to Tang for loss of profits and goodwill over the land deal.
According to a Bernama report, a five-member panel led by Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin had unanimously dismissed Tang’s application for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision.
On October 4, 2005, Tang was awarded damages for loss of profits, wasted expenditure and loss of goodwill by the Penang High Court, the quantum of which was to be assessed by the court’s deputy registrar.
Tang had earlier sued three respondents — Penang Land and Mines director, Penang Land titles registrar and the Seberang Prai Tengah district land administrator — for their cancellation of the title to a 4.3 hectare plot of land that had initially been approved to him to alienate for quarrying.
Bernama also reported that the damages eventually awarded to Tang was RM28.24 million with eight per cent interest, but the amount was later set aside by the Court of Appeal.
The appellate court had also ordered Tang to refund about RM14.09 million from the RM14.67 that the respondents had already paid following a High Court order.