They claim the sale of the 4,700-acre land in 2004 was illegal.
JAYA: Settlers on an expanse of land in Negeri Sembilan are seeking a
court declaration that the current claimant to the property, Thamarai
Holdings Sdn Bhd, and liquidator K Jayapalasingam are, like them, mere
trustees of it.
Jayapalasingam represents Great Alonioners Trading Corporation Bhd
(Gatco) and the settlers are commonly referred to as Gatco settlers.
The issue has been raging since 1977, when 400 former plantation workers
paid deposits for their plots on the 4,700 acres then owned by Gatco,
which subsequently went bankrupt.
The 140 settlers in the suit are also seeking a declaration that Gatco’s
sale of the land sale to Thamarai for RM16 million in 2004 is null and
R Kengadharan, who filed a writ on their behalf at the Kuala Lumpur
High Court last Wednesday. John Cantious who is one of the plaintiff
said the sale was illegal because Gatco was a dormant company without
The settlers are also seeking a permanent injunction from that would
restrain both defendants from dealing with the land and an order for the
Registrar of Titles to place a caveat on the land.
They are also seeking monetary compensation for breach of trust and 2%
interest in the event of default on payments and other forms of relief.
The suit alleges that Thamarai and Gatco, as their trustees, had failed to protect the settlers’ rights and interests.
The Gatco settlement, currently known as Kampung Serampang Indah, is about 25 km from Bahau.
The suit is now fixed for case management on Jan 14.
In 1977, the Negeri Sembilan Economic Development Corporation leased the
land in question to the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) for
a period of 66 years. In the same year, NUPW incorporated Gatco as a
vehicle to undertake the planting of sugar on the land, but it decided
later to plant rubber instead.
Gatco was wound up in 1996, having failed to settle debts amounting to RM135,000.
Gatco offered to sell the land in 2004 for RM16 million. A total of 214
settlers took up the offer, but Gatco rejected it and sold the land to
Those settlers filed a suit against Gatco, but their originating summons
was dismissed. None of the 214 is involved in the current case.