Berkeley Corner owner fails in suit over right to land

Berkeley-Corner-1PUTRAJAYA: It is the end of the road for the proprietor of Berkeley Corner, a popular Indian food outlet in Klang, which has been in operation since 2000.

The Federal Court today dismissed a leave to appeal application by Kayangan Mentari Sdn Bhd, under which the proprietor Muthusamy Thirumeni registered his business.

A three-man bench, chaired by Chief Justice Raus Shariff, said the company did not cross the threshold of Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 in posing legal questions of law.

Leave to appeal is allowed only if the legal questions framed are novel and of public importance.

Kayangan Mentari sued the Selangor Land and Mines Department and Klang Land Administrator but the High Court dismissed the action in 2014.

The company contended the state should convert its temporary occupation licence (TOL) to a longer tenure since it had been in business on the site for 17 years.

Last year, the Court of Appeal also affirmed the findings of the High Court.

State legal adviser Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman, who represented the respondents, argued the leave application lacked merit as Kayangan Mentari did not have a right over the land.

He said the company’s TOL under the National Land Code expired after two renewals in 2004.

“They are now squatters,” said Nik Suhaimi, adding that the Selangor government had suggested an alternative site which the proprietor rejected.

Nik Suhaimi, who was assisted by Nik Haizie Azlin Abidin, said following today’s decision, the authorities could move in to occupy the land.

He said the land had also been gazetted as a public space by the state government.

Nik Suhaimi said Kayangan Mentari had filed another suit against the state authorities in the Shah Alam High Court but that action would be academic following today’s ruling.

Last August, authorities tried to seize furniture from the Berkeley Corner premises located on Persiaran Rajawali, in Taman Berkeley, Klang, sparking a commotion there.

The Court of Appeal on Aug 29 had allowed the company a stay order pending its appeal to the Federal Court and this prevented the authorities from demolishing any structure on the land.

The popular neighbourhood restaurant had faced problems renewing its TOL licence with the Selangor land office since 2004.