Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘adorna properties’

Beware the law of immediate indefeasibility

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

One question that was often asked of me from my Ghanaian colleagues during the time I spent in Ghana was “How do we get rich?” We have to appreciate that the unemployment rate in Ghana then was very high, judging from the number of responses we got to our positions available ads. Apparently it was around 11%. And with a per capita GDP of USD1,500, wages and salaries were not high either.      

At that time my standard answer was “Buy land. Buy a piece of land that is cheap and outside city limits. Just leave it there. At least you would be trying to make sure that your children get a chance to get out of the vicious poverty cycle.” 

I was shocked at the reply that my colleagues gave me. Apparently the land title system in Ghana (then at least) was not very dependable. You could get 2 or even more people with seemingly valid titles in their respective names for the same piece of land. 

Secondly land encroachment was fairly rife. Land left idle for some time might see someone coming in and building a house on it. And the risks were higher the further out the lands were. 

I was shocked because Malaysia had an excellent land title system. Once you had a valid title in your name your proof of ownership was unshakeable. 

So I thought. Looks like I have to rethink my faith in the Malaysian land title system.  

There is a “Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit” case where it seems that someone forged a land transfer and got a title registered in their name. Then they sold the land. And the original owner found out and sued. It seems that the buyer of the land got to retain the land because of this law of immediate indefeasibility. 

I have to take note of this. Though I feel something is not right with the logic of this judgement, this is now the legal precedent in Malaysia, I think.  

At present only my wife and me know about the titles to the land that we own. None of our children, including the two elder girls know the details. If someone quietly forges my wife’s and my signature and somehow gets the land transferred, it looks like the land is gone for good. 

Maybe I should pledge the titles to some bank for some loans. With the pledges registered, the forgers and, I am sure, their accomplices in the land registration offices may not be so successful. 

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